After the huge whomp of cash we handed Double Fine to bring the point 'n' click adventure back from the dead, it's safe to say that Act 1 of Broken Age came with a hefty set of expectations - not least because it wasn't that long ago that the studio reached out for another dose of cash after spending the original $3.45 million.
Thankfully, they haven't been pissing it down the drain. Broken Age openly oozes money: everything appears to have been painted by hand, the soundtrack is absolutely ruddy-bloody gorgeous, the characters and voice acting are consistently superb.
From the perspective of a reviewer it's a total nightmare - an impossible gauntlet of cliched and forbidden words like twee, lovely, and worst of all 'charming'. But the difficult truth about Broken Age is that there really isn't much else to it. You walk about, click on stuff, and solve incredibly basic puzzles.
Point 'n' click is back, but not as we remember. Simplification boils things down to a game that's controlled by a single button - a choice seemingly made to best fit iOS. This universal 'do stuff' button means there's no opportunity to examine objects, or trigger dialogue about subtle detailed elements of the world around you. Painted backdrops have never looked so good, but the lack of interaction makes the game's locations feel a bit flat.
Only being able to interact with elements key to story progression also makes puzzles feel remarkably easy, dulling the single aspect of agency that players are offered during the game. Memories of tougher puzzles from the Lucasarts era are undoubtedly rose-tinted, but it feels like they've stripped things back a step too far.
This would be a major problem if it wasn't so consistently lovely. It feels more like an interactive cartoon than a classic Lucasarts game, but providing you're aware of that Broken Age delivers a jolly nice time. It's just lovely. That shouldn't be enough, but in this case - it really is.
Version Tested: PC. Completed in 3.5 hours.