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Critics Corner: Broken Age – Act One

broken-age-headerThe old Building (Critical) Consensus posts were never exceptionally popular and I was getting tired of doing them so I’ve decided to reboot the concept. I like the sort of meta-review summary of BCC but I’d like to try something a bit different. Rather than overall conclusions or summary statements, we’re going to look at detailed critical assessments on the game with specific opinions about gameplay elements, story, graphics and so on. So welcome to the Critics Corner.

I don’t think that Double Fine Games were planning to revolutionize indie gaming when they launched their Kickstarter campaign for Broken Age but that’s exactly what happened. What was just a project to make a Tim Schafer point-and-click adventure game ended up turning the industry on its head by showing that crowdfunding was a viable means to fund game production and that small devs weren’t always beholden to the whims of big publishers.

Still, Double Fine showed some of the issues with crowdfunding. Almost two years after the campaign launched, Broken Age is finally here but is being released in two parts to help fund the completion of the second half of the game. Scope creep and delays weren’t really considered a major risk to crowdfunders at the time but people think about it now.

So what do the critics think of Tim Schafer and Double Fine’s return to point-and-click?
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Broken Age Coming to Steam Early Access Tomorrow (UPDATE: Changed Release Date and Plan)

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UPDATE: Double Fine has announced on their Broken Age Kickstarter page that Broken Age would not be coming to Steam on January 14 as a Steam Early Access release. Plans changed just hours before launch and now Broken Age will be released in two acts as a Season Pass bundle. The release date will be announced later on January 28th.

In explaining the change, Double Fine said, “For various logistical reasons, and because we believe Act 1 is a polished and satisfying piece of content in its own right, Broken Age will be a standard Steam release that includes a ‘Season Pass’ granting access to Act 2 once it is complete.”

The original story follows and is included for information purposes only.

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The Cave Review: A Domain of Evil It Is. In You Must Go.

the-cave-wallpaper-01The second-to-last week of January had a game I was very excited about. Strike Suit Zero was a gorgeous looking space sim. Having grown up on space sims, I was looking forward to a great space flight combat game. Then I actually started flying the titular Strike Suit ship and found myself quickly underwhelmed by twitchy controls and combat mechanics that didn’t work as advertised in the tutorial which resulted in a massive and frustrating difficulty spike.

Fortunately, there was a second big indie game release that week. Double Fine Productions released their much-anticipated The Cave. The developer is best known for their work on Psychonauts and they got a hand from popular games director Ron Gilbert whose resume includes the cult-hit Monkey Island series. Better than the team behind it was trailers promising puzzles, stories and dark humour. In other words, it ticked off most of the items on my checklist of things I like in games.

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