Broken Age: Act 1
No need to fret over the impossible hype or those mountains of Kick-starter money running dry before the game was finished. Broken Age is every bit as good as the work that skyrocketed writer and designer Tim Schafer to rockstar status within the industry. It's Grim Fandango good. It's Monkey Island good. It might even be Day of the Tentacle good. The puzzles are smartly designed, the humor is consistent, and the story--centered around a young boy and girl struggling to find themselves in very different worlds--is wildly imaginative and heartfelt in a way so few modern games seem capable of achieving. In fact, the only real flaw here is that we have to wait some indeterminate number of months for the second half. Still, until that agonizing wait is over, it's comforting to see a master of the genre back doing what he does best.
Broken Age: Act I starts off somewhat slow, but by the end of my playthrough, I cursed the fact that it's broken into two parts--it ends on a brilliantly concocted cliffhanger. I also found the puzzles a bit lacking in depth and difficulty, and I breezed through the game--but all that quickly became secondary as I got sucked more and more into the individual plights of the dual protagonists. Meanwhile, the game's art style is gorgeous to behold, complemented perfectly by standout voice acting and a wonderful soundtrack.
I've long had a weird relationship with PC-style adventure games--the often-abstract puzzles typically aren't my thing--but I ended up becoming totally engrossed in the world of Broken Age and the lives of its protagonists, Vella and Shay. Their stories are funny yet touching, told through fantastic voice acting and visual stylings that are at once both sweetly endearing and technologically stunning. Oddly enough, the puzzles were my one complaint, but for a different reason--they felt a little too underdeveloped.