Bro­ken Age

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Videogames/ miscellaneous -

A uni­verse of dif­fer­ence

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Re­viewed on: PS4 Also on: PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, An­droid, PS Vita Pub­lisher: Dou­ble Fine

Shay ( voiced

bril­liantly by Eli­jah Wood) and Vella ( a husky and as­tute Masasa Moyo) live in sep­a­rate uni­verses, linked only by a re­cur­ring theme of over- pro­tec­tion and a call to adventure that leads them to ques­tion ev­ery­thing they thought they knew about the world around them. Sep­a­rate, or so it seems – un­til Bro­ken Age re­veals that you’re very much in the same sit­u­a­tion with its dual pro­tag­o­nists.

Both long for dan­ger, and when that dan­ger in­evitably ar­rives – given that this is res­o­lutely a point- and­click – it’s pro­pelled more by nar­ra­tive than real- time in­ter­ac­tion. The puz­zling is re­fresh­ingly mod­ern; there are some head- scratch­ers in here – in­clud­ing a chal­leng­ing, ac­tual knot- based puz­zle – but they’re rare. The em­pha­sis in Bro­ken Age is much more on let­ting the story, the spell­bind­ing vi­su­als, the movi­etrump­ing voice act­ing, and the sense of place do their thing, with hyp­notic re­sults.

Bro­ken Age is ca­pa­ble of elic­it­ing emo­tional re­sponses way be­yond the laugh­ter that Tim Schafer’s good- na­tured com­edy writ­ing is sure to pro­duce. It forces you to re- eval­u­ate, then re- eval­u­ate that re- eval­u­a­tion. Then make a talk­ing tree throw up over a sand sculp­ture… Just know that you will re­mem­ber how it felt to be a child for a fleet­ing sec­ond. You will stop and ask, “Hey, is that Wil Wheaton’s voice?” ( It is.) You’ll get stuck at least once, but the sooth­ing voices of Shay and Vella will melt away your ex­as­per­a­tion. You like beau­ti­ful things, and Bro­ken Age is truly beau­ti­ful. And that’s all you re­ally need to know. Phil Iwaniuk The stel­lar voice cast also in­cludes Dou­ble Fine’s Jen­nifer Hale and Jack Black, along with Adventure Time’s Pendle­ton Ward.

Doesn’t look that messy.

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