Monthly Archives: January 2014

Indie Wonderland: Broken Age (Act 1)

Okay, okay, no joke this time: The Banner Saga‘s impact notwithstanding, the real major Kickstarter impact I was alluding to last week is obviously the long-awaited release of Double Fine’s Broken Age, to those who backed the Kickstarter that launched a thousand ships. Or, rather, its partial release: Broken Age as-is is considered ‘Act 1’, with the concluding ‘Act 2’ finding its way to computers near you “later this year“.

While Broken Age’s release was obviously a Big Thing, capitalization non-optional, I opted to give precedence to The Banner Saga for a couple of reasons. First, there was that business with the reviewing embargo that accompanied Broken Age’s initial launch. While I know it was lifted fairly soon after, the whole thing left a rather sour taste in my mouth… plus, by the time it was officially lifted, I’d already started doing the preliminaries for The Banner Saga anyway.

Second, notice that I said Broken Age was released to Kickstarter backers. At time of writing, the game is still off-limits to regular prospective customers: stores don’t open for those lacking Double Fine faith until January 28th. And while I understand the value of advance reviews, postponing a column on a game that people could actually buy immediately for one they’d have to wait another week for felt a little weird to me. Not to mention that this way, this column and Broken Age’s unlock date sync up rather well. I can even start pretending I timed it like that on purpose!

And third… well, third is that Broken Age is an adventure game. That classic genre of games that I can’t really review the way I like to review games, because giving a brief overview of the first half hour of gameplay effectively ruins the first half hour of gameplay. Which, in a game as relatively short as Broken Age — I clocked about five hours for the whole thing — is a fairly significant spoiling ratio.

I’m still writing about it, obviously. But as before, expect a shorter, more mood-and-experience-focused Indie Wonderland after the break.

After the break: a shorter, more mood-and-experience-focused Indie Wonderland.

Indie Wonderland: The Banner Saga

Pop quiz, hot shot: if I tell you that this week’s Indie Wonderland is about a fairly high-profile Kickstarter game that’s finally come home to roost — and assuming you haven’t already seen the title or the featured image, both of which kind of give the answer away immediately — which game would you guess I’m talking about? Yeah, that’s right: clearly, the single most influential name in Kickstarter gaming as of right now is Stoic Studio‘s The Banner Saga, their purportedly epic turn-based tale of giants and Vikings and pretty, pretty artwork.

We’re all on the same page here, right? I mean, I wouldn’t even know how to break an age. Do you just… tear a calendar in half, or something? Is that how it goes?

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, fairly high.)

After the break: Vikings and giants and robots, oh my! Also, satisfying combat meets unsatisfying caravaneering.