Double Fine's Broken Age arrives on the iPad

Broken Age is one of the latest efforts from Double Fine and Tim Schafer, the designer behind such classics as Grim Fandango and Full Throttle. It's a game in the style of classic point-and-click adventures and tells two stories, running in parallel, which players can freely switch between.

Vella is a young woman from the village of Sugar Bunting. She is part of a group of young women selected to be sacrificed to Mog Chathra, a massive, other-worldly entity that must be appeased for Sugar Bunting to remain safe. Vella, however, believes that if she can destroy Mog Chathra, the ritual sacrifice can end. Her quest to destroy the beast forms her half of Broken Age's first act.

Shay is a young man, the only passenger on the starship Bossa Nostra. He spends his days in simulations created by the ship's maternal artificial intelligence. The ship tries to keep from Shay the realities of the outside world, where war rages across the galaxy. Shay's efforts to break away from the stifling, over-protective parental figure leads to an unexpected adventure with major consequences.

Starting the game is as simple as picking a side of the screen. You're presented with the choice of starting as Vella or Shay. From there all you have to do is play the first minute or so of the game in order to get access to the other side. When playing, you tap the arrow in the bottom left corner of the screen, which brings up both your item bar and the character switcher. Tap the character portrait on the right side of the bar to switch to the other story.

You navigate through the game by tapping your destination on the screen. You can also tap and hold, dragging your finger across the screen for continuous movement. There are various helpful items in the worlds that you can collect by tapping them to pick them up. In addition to exploring, there are a number of environmental puzzles to solve that will advance the plot. Speaking to the various characters will fill you in on the various aspects of these two worlds.

Broken Age for iPad contains the same full voice cast and soundtrack as the PC and Mac release from earlier in the year. It's characters are fun and interesting, and though it's a short experience so far, it's well worth that time.

Act 1 of Broken Age is available today and takes a couple of hours to complete, with Act 2 coming at a later date as an in-app purchase. If you haven't played Broken Age before, or even if you have, you should definitely check it out on iPad.

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