Since the response to the game on these forums and elsewhere seems to be overwhelmingly positive, I feel the need to temper that with some well-intentioned criticism. As this post is probably going to come across as pretty negative, I'll say in advance that I thought the game did many things right, mainly the 'arty' aspects. The background art and the animations were both beautiful and very well done. The soundtrack and voice acting were both excellent. The story reveal at the end leaves me looking forward to the conclusion.
However, there are also things that I felt the game did wrong, and sadly a lot of those things are aspects of adventure games that I care about quite a bit. As background, I've been playing adventure games for over twenty years, have played basically every one of note, and think Grim Fandango is the pinnacle of the genre. i.e. I really, really like adventure games.
My issues with BA revolve entirely around its game-play and design. Firstly, the interface itself is clunky and unpleasant to use, mainly due to the one-button only interaction system. Accessing the inventory and using items is clumsy, particularly if using a touchpad. There's really no reason for it to be like this, other than making concessions to design for tablets. Would it be that hard (on computers, at least) to switch right click to examine on inventory items, and make left click simply pick up, so there's no need for the drag-and-drop? Secondly, the one-button interface also makes movement a bit irritating, particularly in parts of the cloud colony area where clicking a hotspot by mistake means dropping through the clouds. Basically I wish there was a verb-coin, but I realize that probably won't happen because of tablets (grumblegrumble), so I hope DF can at least make a few concessions to usability on PC/mac.
Secondly, and this is more of a personal critique leading into a general one, I don't really get the sense that this game was made for someone like me, a long-time lover of classic adventure games. This is a bit disappointing, given the initial pitch of the project was to create a classic point-n-click adventure game. By this I mean that the focus of the game does not appear to be on puzzles, or exploration, or even really gameplay as such, but on pure storytelling. I mean, the puzzles in this game are preposterously easy; I more often felt a feeling of shock at how simple it was to accomplish certain goals (like getting the cloud shoes, for example) than I did a feeling of accomplishment for solving a difficult puzzle. Basically, it felt more like The Walking Dead than Day of the Tentacle, and while that is not an *inherently* bad thing (well, it is to me, but I'm trying to be objective here), if the goal was to make a classic point-n-click adventure game, then it is a problem. I really hope that DF will make an effort in act 2 to make this more of a game than an interactive storybook, at least if that is their goal. To be fair, they will probably be more financially and critically successful following the course they are currently on, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
One thing that I do think is objectively an issue from any perspective though is that the game world, while very pleasant and atmospheric, feels empty compared to most games in the genre. I found myself constantly looking for more things to do, and surprised by how little content was contained on each screen. Something I feel is illustrative of this **warning, very minor spoilers ahead**, after Shay 'breaks' the missions and can eventually go back to the mission rooms, all my adventure-game instincts told me that there would be more puzzles to solve back in there, at least in the train room. But no, all you could do was grab a couple items and repeat the previous content. **no more spoilers** This made me feel like portions of gameplay were excised in favor of something else (possibly just getting the game out the door) which is always a sad feeling to have playing an adventure game. I strongly hope that DF will make an effort to add more depth to the game world in act II, hell, maybe even going back to act I and touching up the world a bit and making it more involved. I think Shay's section especially could use some more content.
Anyway, this has gone on a bit so I will wrap it up. I hope I don't come across as horribly negative or embittered, and that DF can at least glean a few insights into aspects of their game that can be improved (this is technically a beta after all). Right now, BA strikes me as a Young-Adult Novel sort of adventure game. One that will probably be quite popular and enjoyed by many, but which will also leave many craving more depth and challenge. How it winds up moving forward remains to be seen.