Monday, 21 March 2016

BrokenFolx Review

BrokenFolx is advertised as a touch-based or point and click game with a low barrier of entry that is designed to focus on the narratives of the characters of the game. It was created by Toronto based developer Arielle Grimes (@slimekat) and released on September 14th 2014 as part of the Ruin Jam game jam. The game allows you to view 4 different narratives related to the harassment and discrimination of LGBT individuals and minorities. It can be played in a web browser or downloaded and installed locally on Linux, Windows, and Mac by donating $5 or more towards the developer. This game and the game jam it was created for represent many hot button issues in video gaming at the moment. I will do my best to navigate these issues, consider them, and present an objective, agenda-free review.

BrokenFolx begins with a "touch to start" mechanism; after this, you are presented with four coloured "choice" buttons. I was immediately drawn to the colour palate and though I don't particularly like pixel graphics I always try to keep an open mind. The title theme left me a little uneasy, annoyed, and quite frankly I did not enjoy it. This feeling was cast aside with the music of the choices screen (which is also the theme that follows you through the rest of the game). It is simple, ethereal, reminds me of Electroplankton for the DS, and was quite nice to be honest. Even as I write this review I enjoy having it open and listening to it.

I began reading through all 4 narratives. I will not detail my opinions on them for the sake of spoilers and for the fact that it is difficult for me to comment on them given that I have not experienced the majority of these situations. I will say that they were thought provoking and interesting though nothing entirely new to me personally. I felt the dialogue presented in the green and red choices were particularly well done.

In each narrative, one main character is presented and becomes the focal point of the scene. Each character is an anthropomorphic animal illustrated in the pixel art style of the rest of the game. I found the characters attractive and liked the details that were put into their appearance. The animation of them was one aspect I found to be lacking or rather left me wanting more. I would have liked to see more motion and facial expressions from these characters as they were honestly quite engaging.

The sound of this game was probably its strongest point in my opinion. Each word that a character speaks is met with a punchy, elastic-like vocalization that I felt added a lot to the exchanges. All sound effects throughout the game had this processing applied to them and I was content with it, though it may not be everyone's cup of tea. I am a sucker for sounds and the sounds of this game has made me come back a few times, even if only for a minute or two.

Once I had completed all of the scenes I was spoken to directly by the game and told many wonderful things. Overall, I was glad I spent 5 minutes to check this game out. Out of all the Ruin Jam games I have played, it certainly feels like the most polished experience.

My Review:

What is it? Essentially a visual novel
Is it worth your time? Yes
Is it worth your money? Maybe
Did I like it? Yes
What did I like? Graphics, sound, and dialogue
What did I dislike? Short and no discernible gameplay


Post a comment