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Amaterasu

Vella's part is a little unclear (spoilers)

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Spoilers from Vella's part of the game.

After finishing the game, I must say I have enjoyed Shay's part a lot more. It felt tight and fun, while Vella's part felt a little tedious, long and confusing. While on Shay I knew every minute what I should do, but on Vella I was pretty much confused most of the time. Her "mission" wasn't as clear as Shay's. When I reached the clouds, I just started wandering around, not feeling that I should return. Vella should mention again that her family will be dead if she won't go back fast.

After leaving the clouds, it is possible to go back there, probably because of the Riddle of Yorn, but so many screens and options left me confused. The Riddle of Yorn is unrelated to the clouds, even though you have to go back all the way there to find the answer. I am lucky that I had it with me already.

The most confusing part about Vella was helping the mayor. I virtually gave him the sap just because I had a hunch. I did not understand at all that he wanted a way to make the sand stick.

Maybe a small map should be added to the Vella part, to make travelling to the clouds and the sea a lot faster.

Vella should mention from the moment she get to the clouds that she must go back now before Mog destroys her village.

And making the mayor part a little more understandable: He should mention more clearly that the sand won't stick together.

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I found Vella's part rather easy to go with and most of the time found it clear what I were to do:

Kill Moby Di.....Mog C'thu.....Mr. Choth.

It seemed rather clear that I wanted to get off the clouds because he'd already been there (could maybe have gone with another hint about him having already left for Shellbyville.

And the would be mayor's swearing at how his sandcastle kept getting ruined clued me in that he'd need a hand building that place if they were ever going to have the maiden feast with your special guest.

Then again, I've been trying to play Night of the Rabbit right up to the point Broken Age was released, and have found myself feeling utterly at a loss as to what to do most of the time, so maybe I'm just adjusting.

I guess that's the thing about adventure games. Make them too easy to figure out, and those who enjoy a challenge will be upset it's too easy. Make it too obtuse, and it'll turn away novices. I like how Monkey Island 2 and 3 gave you the option for an easier challenge...yet I never took it even if I never completed either of them, getting stuck on what to do. Some day, maybe.

In that way I found Telltale's way of hinting in the Sam & Max episodes rather well done. The setting would vary how long before Max started dropping hints, and how obvious those were. Alas it only works when you have a small homocidal sidekick.

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The good thing about Max's hints were that he didn't actually tell you what to do, he only told you where you should go.

He helped you avoid useless screens once you were done with them.

There aren't that many screens in Broken Age Act 1, but on Vella's part I felt that the option to go back to the clouds once you got down was confusing a little.

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Sure, going back to the clouds could be a bit confusing. And the fact that only the exit area had something new (rather entertaining with H'rmony calling out) could maybe potentially have been shined up. But as you said, it's likely to do with the gathering of fruit.

Options to have avoided it would have been

a) go the sierra route. You didn't get the fruit before leaving? Tough luck, hope you have a savegame back then. (Hello reason I never got anywhere in space quest before I skimmed a walkthrough for hints)

b) force in you getting the fruit as a chain in the clouds (throw the fruit to Gus, have him throw it back to you but shift him a bit which would make it possible to fall on him..but that'd make his puzzle harder?)

c) When you land on the ground, have the fruit from the tree (and maybe Gus) fall down with you if you hadn't picked it up up there, basically letting you complete the puzzle without it.

Actually while walking to work this morning I was pondering tricks how adventure games could ensure you had an item in your inventory before you moved on. And most often it's using an item multiple times to ensure you have it before moving on. Having an event happen once you have all the needed items (Oh I hate those, at some arbitrary point when you enter a screen you'll get something to allow you to move on, no logic, just have to know when to go back there), or perhaps have you pick up one thing conceiling another or otherwise make you pick up something while getting something else (blanket over a box with stuff you need or similar)

But yes, the cloud area felt a bit bare and pointless revisiting. And it was too soon to have major change happen for you to laugh at when they've been cut off from H'rmony for a long time and society has degenerated into despair and sulking halfway through clouds or whatnot.

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