I finished the first act last night. Had to let things sink in a bit (spoilers below, so stop reading if you haven't played this to the end yet). After a good night's sleep I can arrange my thoughts on Broken Age - Act 1, so below is my review of the game.
I'll tackle this one first, because it seems to be something of a divider/discussion amongst backers. I did the first playthrough of Act 1 in a little over 4,5 hours. Length-wise I don't have a lot to complain about thusfar. But I'm a very thorough gamer and try to hear and see all there is to experience in the game. Assuming the second act is about the same length (which might be a misconception, because maybe Act 2 is way harder), the game will be about 8 to 9 hours total for me. Which I think is fine, considering the price. But expect the puzzles in Act 2 might be a little more devious, so who knows. Overall, I wasn't disappointed with the games length.
There are things I absolutely love about the graphics. The painterly style is awesome and the lighting effects (rim lighting, etc.) really add something. I also liked the small head joke with Shay and the fluidity of the animation. I'm not the biggest fan of cut-out animation and it showed some of the limitations of this style here and there, but hey... I totally understand the choice to not go for hand-drawn sprites. I was disappointed with some of the pixelated backgrounds during close-ups early in Vella's story (Vella's house and the main hub in Cloud Colony as the biggest culprits) but thankfully the rest of the game didn't have these cringe-worthy moments. I hope there's still time to fix some of these issues. I liked the animation overall and the characters all had a nice distinct way of moving. In summary, I think the graphics are mixed, but overall look really good, especially on my 2560 x 1440 iMac screen. The lumberjack forest especially looked like a dream.
Sound and Music
Wow! I love the soundtrack and sound design in this game. The maiden's feast at the beginning had some hard to make out voices if I recall correctly, but overall there were very few balance issues. And Peter's music is really something else. I loved the use of real instruments and it really grounds the game. Nice!
As I said earlier I had to let this one sink in for a moment. I think the story is the best part of the game. There are some parts where it feels a little rushed, but overall I really enjoy it. I expected something dark and sinister was up with the rescue scenes from Shay's side, but I still didn't put 2 and 2 together. I was genuinely surprised when Shay came stumbling out of the beast's mouth. I'm really excited to play the first act through a second time, knowing the big reveal now. How's that for replayability?!? Tim has crafted his best twisted tale yet I think. Who'd have thought that I couldn't wait to play an adventure game again right after finishing it, because I usually put these games away for at least a few years before I play them again. So kudos Tim, kudos!
Broken Age is not perfect. But I got that old vibe again that I got from the LucasArts games. And on top of that I got graphics and sound that were way better than those old games. I really hope the second act will be even better/longer (and maybe a little more challenging? ) and this could be the best adventure game of the modern era. For me, Day of the Tentacle still reigns supreme, but I doubt that game will ever be topped by anyone, even Tim himself. That said, Broken Age is amazing, money well spent (I already had more than my money's worth with the awesome documentaries by 2 Player) and I can't wait for the conclusion. Oh, and I hope that Double Fine doesn't let this engine go to waste and this is the first in a line of amazing adventure games from a group of amazingly imaginative and talented people.