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KuroShiro

Some Constructive (I hope) Criticism

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[iNSERT SPOILER ALERT HERE]

I felt that jumping directly from Vella's house to the Maiden's Feast itself was glaring omission. This made the entire "Part I" of Vella's story consist of a whopping three screens. The start with the tree & view, the house, the feast. Puzzle count 0, 1, 2 for those screens respectively. That's it. Three screens and three puzzles, none of them hard, onwards to the cloud colony within 12 minutes of starting the game.

I guess we might still return to Sugar Bunting in Act II (at least we have to find out whether Mog Chothra actually eats the place or not), so maybe the explore-my-hometown part gets postponed to last, but if those art assets are there for that anyway, why not use them to flesh out the first part a bit more? It all just went by too fast.

Shay's act made a better impression, having the first and easiest puzzle in the game required for breaking out of your routine was the right way to approach the design, and the whole spaceship opens up very naturally as you progress through the act. Marek was great, his tone of voice and appearance alone sold him as a possibly nebulous character, but not so much as to convince me that he's actually a bad guy. Basically, the fine line between tension and trust was done perfectly with Marek. I wish I'd seen more of the "Dad" computer, maybe playing the Mom and Dad computers off one another a little bit. This is only hinted at in a little bit of the dialogue, where it could have been an entire story point including a couple of puzzles. Hope this happens in Act II.

Anyway, I'll abstain from being too judgmental about the game until I've played the whole thing. I definitely see how Act II would be able to "knock it up a notch" over Act I. But I'm definitely left with the impression that Act II needs to do just that, or the whole experience would fall just a little too flat due to content cutting and streamlining.

I'd still say that this very much is shaping up to be a game that leaves a lasting impression on me though, like those great games of yore. Maybe that's what "old-school adventure" is really all about?

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Although I love the game up to where I am, I agree with the comments about the depth of the puzzles.

It is a bit too easy to solve them by trial and error. In order to deal with this, I play the game in short runs, accomplishing very little and moving on very slowly, but when I'm not playing, I still think about what to do next. This way I enjoy the game more and I am actually solving puzzles while thinking and not playing.

(This is a thing only Tim Schafers games accomplish!)

I think the game itself could stimulate thinking instead of trial and error by bringing in more "noise". Especially the inventory could be more noisy, if the sceneries need to remain nice and clear and the dialog trees are indeed crowded enough. It could be a bit more of a frustrating, uninviting place, with more useless stuff, and also more stuff that changes into something else when you do things with them.

More generally, it seems to me like DF worries too much about small screen sizes of mobile devices. I have played all the Broken Sword, Steel Sky and Monkey Island titles on my iPhone 4 and they were fantastic, including their interfaces. Their screens were not too complicated. It seems to me that in general software developers moving to mobile for the first time tend to overestimate the required simplicity of the design. As long as you can zoom and scroll, a lot of possible problems will be covered. The way zooming in and out of scenes is executed in BA is a *very* good solution for small screens. It looks and works wonderfully and sucks you into the game. I think it is hard to overestimate the importance of this.

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Hi, i would like to share a few think that i felt missing.

- About the interface, i felt like Kuroshiro about the left and right clic and the drag and drop. but at the end i get used to it.

The thing that i missed with the self clic orientation of the game is that, i liked to use the "look at" verb on every thing all around the game and this function gives the opportunity to have more "environment" informations. More jokes about how to live with a pancake roof or why granpa is grumpy from Vela's point of view. With the "action-clic" every time i'm interest by something i took it or i figure what i can do with it. This surely participate on the "game's too short / puzzles to easy" feeling. (and i wanted to click on the little diamond-guys to know more about them all the time !)

- i really appreciated the skip-the-sceen function (space bar) specially during the Shay's beginning. but i missed the skip-the-sentence button, usually "."

to be more specific on micro events :

- at the very first puzzle of Vela, when you pick up the cupcakes on the plate, i think it helps to have an animation just to see her arm. Maybe i'm the only one here, but it's the first time you pick an object in this game so you don't know what will happens, i don't know if i was distract but i didn't hear or see that i took it.

- the background of Vela's adventure, when you walk up to the dead eye guy cave, is weird. I was delighted all the time by every piece of art that was made and this one seems less inspired to me.

The game is good and can only be better. i really love the work you've accomplished.

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Hi All,

played a bit of the game, but must admit it is lite on actual gameplay.

when you are in Shays world trying to brake the routine there is a room with fake controls and free huggs

i kept trying to use the controls or do something with them, but the level was completely empty.. jsut a screenshot to walk in and do 1 thing.

so i would urge Tim to step up for act 2 and make it more difficult, if he is afraid people can not complete the game, just add an "auto complete puzzle" button. people who want to use it can do that.

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After playing the game I had a very similar feeling and came the forum to see if more people felt alike only to find this thread that pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about the game.

My main concern during my play through was that I never got stuck, ever... Everything had a logical solution that came to me in a matter of seconds. So even through the game was pleasant to play, I never felt this rewarding feeling for solving a puzzle and gave me the feeling my play through evolved more around the story than the puzzles, which was not a feeling I was hoping for.

My second concern was that the game felt incredibly linear. You hop from environment to environment and only need a few puzzles to advance to the next one. And even through I like having a vast amount of different locations that you visit, I could not help but getting this linear feeling. Great example of a game that felt completely opposite was "The Curse of Monkey Island (Monkey Island 3)" where you have a complete island to wander about, and unlike earlier monkey island games, you keep this great overview of the whole town, without feeling lost.

I truly hope act 2 will indeed contain allot more complex puzzles.

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I personally agree with the most of you: a very well wrapped game (story, art, animation, sound, voices) with the lack of depth.

...So the problem isn't that the Broken Age part 1 puzzles are easy, it's that they aren't obfuscated. In what we think of as classic adventure games, the required interactable items made up a surprising small proportion of all the interactable items in the game. Not only did this make the world seem fuller and more alive (another problem Broken Age suffers from, in how streamlined it is) by hiding the linear path, it meant that you had many more possible solutions to consider.

[...] It's the double edged sword of classic adventure games, that what we like about them the most is what most infuriates us. Double Fine have avoided that problem by streamlining (there are no toolkits, no wrong wrenches, only monkeys with tails), but have lost the allure of classic adventure games in the process.

The quote above reflects my opinions about it.

Now let's just wait for act two and see if anything changes!

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I think old LucasArts games only felt long because they spread out solutions to puzzles between many different areas. LeChuck's Revenge, DOTT, Sam & Max, they all felt long because items tended to be spread out between all the locations. With at least Act 1 of Broken Age, none of that was necessary. The good effect of this is that it reduces frustration. The not so good effect is that it can't control your pace. I remember bouncing around between all the islands in MI2 for not much of a reason more than I was stuck on puzzles, which I suppose allowed me to enjoy the fantastic art and music in that game more. So the cost of making it easier was that there was no restraint on your pace. I even caught myself during the Maiden's Feast rushing the solution, I had to say to myself "Wait, I'm not actually pressed for time here, there is not imminent death actually threatening me." From that point on, every new screen I visited I'd just stop and enjoy the sights and sounds. I still haven't finished it actually, kind of forcing myself to savor it. "Enjoying the view" is a pretty difficult thing to get players to do in a video game. Take Skyrim, there was >100 hours of stuff to do in that game which gave you a ton of natural opportunities to take in the fantastic vistas of that game. The old LucasArts adventures made you visit areas over and over again for solutions so you again had all these opportunities to just enjoy where you are. Those old games weren't long, they just gave you the runaround a bunch so they felt long. Full Throttle didn't feel long because you'd move from area to area in a linear fashion. Broken Age alas doesn't have the budget to have a ton of things to do and in an effort to make the gameplay more accessible it couldn't control your pace through the game. Perhaps for Act 2 Shay and Vella will be able to trade items and then it'll feel longer.

I think this trade-off is really interesting and perhaps the balance was skewed towards too easy such that it couldn't do their environments and music as much justice. I think though that it makes sense to draw players in with easy stuff first and then hit em with more challenges later. So I've had no disappointment with my experience in part because I was conscious of my own play and intentionally slowed myself down to enjoy it.

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I've just beaten the game. My very brief impressions:

+

old-school adventure, a couple of nice puzzles, "don't-know-whatta-do" moments, unique art style, perfect rhythm, very good story, very good dialogues, other games refferences, some acid critic to nowadays gaming industry, well thought interface, correction of the characteristic "slowness" in adventure games

-

I'd say there are more dialogue than puzzle-solving, few puzzles, some puzzles are really obvious, generally an easy game

Basically, regarding it's just the first chapter of a whole new game, it leaves me with an "I WANT MORE" sensation. I imagine and hope that summer release will be not only longer, but difficult as well. And less focused on dialogue but in the puzzles. But, hey, I have to say that if Tim Schafer meets all expectations, Broken Age would be at the Olympus of gaming.

I think this, too.

I'm also an old gamer.

But I had no problem whatsoever with the UI. I think games' language evolves in time, so you can't expect the same old interface from the first adventure games here (as you wouldn't expect a pixelated 640x480 game either).

I loved at the art style too. Bagel (and the rest of the art department) are geniuses. Technically, it's just a gorgeous game.

It too leaved me an "I WANT MORE!" sensation. I had to remind myself that this was just the first act of the game. It'll be a loooong wait for the second part. :P

Edit: just wanted to add that this is the first game in a long time that makes me want to keep playing it, no matter what. I've been playing mostly mobile games lately, and I usually have no problem putting games aside to do other things I need to do. But this game was addictive. I just wanted more, more! MORE! :D

That was impressive.

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After actually finishing the game and playing Shay's section, I still agree that some of the game lacks depth, but I think it's more lumpy rather than a systemic problem. A couple sections in the game are weak - Shay's opening could have some more non-essential gameplay, and Cloud Colony is a bit too flavorful with characters that are a bit too flat.

Some things I would want to see in cloud colony (or would want to have seen), the weakest section of the game for me (spoilers obv.):

* Some movement in the cult storyline. We drop in in the middle of it, some people have recently joined, but it's very static. No one knows the ladder to lightbeard has been messed with.

* Shouldn't be able to accidentally solve the tree/egg puzzle before meeting the guy stuck on the tree. Also where does he go afterward?

* Why do three heavy eggs weight the cloud enough to make the ladder go down, but I can carry them all around in my inventory just fine? Felt weird.

The interface seemed fine to me honestly.

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I hope they improve the controls on PC, otherwise I'll be very disappointed. We, PC gamers, are used to AAA games with bad control schemes. But this is because of the evil publishers!, we've been told. They care about consoles more than PC market. Now, there is no evil publisher, but we've been treated as a second class citizens yet again, this time because all the money is in mobile. Makes me sad.

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I did definitely enjoy the game, but, like seeming a few other here, felt that there just wasn't enough exploring to be done. In each of the towns you only meet a handful of people and there's very little exploration to be done. I was also intrigued what happened to Gus and Lightbeard after you complete their puzzles but you just don't find out.

The dialogue is good, but in terms of story you don't really get to see the effect your actions have on the people. As a comparison in Grim Fandango you see so much change in Rubacava and you see what happens to each character you interact with. That's not to say I don't like the core story, but I would like to see more of the world and get more flavour from it. It was pretty jarring, incidentally, how none of the family in Meriloft reacted at all to when you bring down Lightbeard.

That said I don't know how fair a comparison with Grim Fandango is given the difference in manpower and budget (presumably).

Either way, I was pretty sad with how few characters you meet in both Meriloft and Shellmound. Particularly with how there were literally only two areas to look at in Shellmound.

On the positive side I personally didn't mind the easier puzzles, I've seen somewhere a comparison to Portal, where it's easy enough that you're pretty much never frustrated, but hard enough that often you feel pretty decent when you get it.

The dialogue was really good. I chuckled pretty often.

The ending was pretty surprising and I can't wait for act 2 so that it can all start to make real sense.

All in all, good job, I really enjoyed it.

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Nah, I would have said "Dave Gilbert's games" if I wasn't referring to their entire catalog (published & developed). [Though much credit is due to Wormword Studios, Vince Twelve, Joshua Nuernberger.]

dude. gilbert IS wadget eye...if you wanted anyone to understand what games you meant you should have been more specific. "much credit" going to the designers of the game is something of an understatement?

for the record I dont agree with shivah and gemini rue (still great games to go through, at least gemini), the puzzles in them were kinda weak. but resonance and primordia are super well paced with good, pretty hard, puzzles and getting to know each area / being rewarded with new areas.

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I really enjoyed this game, but all my problems were suitably outlined by the initial post. Fix those problems and this game would be nirvana for me.

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I was initially disappointed with the simple puzzles and seemingly random world and caracters. But after the act 1 end the story got so interesting that it overcome my feelings of shortcomings. Maybe I had set my expectations too high and the beginnig was decidedly too vague, but now I am interested!

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This is a cool thread, and there are things in Broken Age that need examination because I can't imagine the hippie "woo adventure games woo" guy in the original pitch going ga ga over Broken Age.

I feel the number one problem is that you can't examine anything. The world is great but every screen has such a limited amount of interactionables. The ship especially has so little; the sound effects replacing any reflection by Shay is disappointing. The interface is very streamlined but at the cost of being simplistic. It's baby's first adventure game.

It's like that too because the difficult is far too low. This is nowhere near the level of the classic adventure games and I don't agree that this is good for new players. Unless players became stupid since Manic Mansion, that game was difficult and plenty popular. This game didn't feel like an adventure game, it was a visual novel or "on-rails story game" in the same genre as The Walking Dead. It's not bad, but I can imagine if you loved the genre you may end up disappointed.

A more personal gripe for me is that I felt both main characters were lame, and the characters who were interesting tended to have limited dialog. It doesn't have that feel of an epic adventure. The NPCs tend to be signposts, pointing you in the direction of the plot or a puzzle or simple existing to spout exposition. I loved the different areas in Vella's part, but the cloud colony was the only place that felt truly alive. The game is obviously rushed.

It's hard not to think of when Tim said that he'd disappoint if you wanted a "giant green space alien" or something, instead of the two human children main characters. Well I don't know, there is some validity to that. All the other Tim Schafer classics did have way better main characters, the ones in this feel very watered down. And sadly there are many parts of the game that feel watered down, perhaps to appeal to a wider audience, which to me is a shame.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the game and felt I got my money's worth, it simply has its problems, and it's no big surprise. I am incredibly cynical about the games industry and this game at least managed to do some things correctly, like the world and fun side characters.

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This is a cool thread, and there are things in Broken Age that need examination because I can't imagine the hippie "woo adventure games woo" guy in the original pitch going ga ga over Broken Age.

He's on the development team. He also cut his hair.

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This is a cool thread, and there are things in Broken Age that need examination because I can't imagine the hippie "woo adventure games woo" guy in the original pitch going ga ga over Broken Age.

He's on the development team. He also cut his hair.

I know that, I just enjoy poking fun.

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