Added to the lair: 9/4/20
Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure / 1st person
Developer: Houghton Mifflin Interactive Corp
Wikipedia: The Day The World Broke
The Day The World Broke
Can you fix it?
Like Gadget, The Day The World Broke is another perfect example of why I started this project to begin with. It was a wonderful unexpected discovery for me very recently. It isn't perfect, but I can say with certainty that if I had played this when I was a kid I would have absolutely loved it.
Part of that stems from the fact that it feels a bit like a children's book. Certain concepts that are clearly absurd but still easy to grasp like the Great Pyramids being decorative caps to cover giant screws that help hold the world together... this sort of thing reminded me at times of books like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, where completely absurdist ideas are conveyed in a very matter of fact way. It creates this fun, interesting, and surreal atmosphere that's really a joy to behold.
The game drops you rather abruptly into the middle of things. You're given no indication of who your character is or where they've come from - it just kindof starts. Strange things are happening in the world and they seem to be originating from one place - the place where you find yourself in the beginning of the game. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the story because I think it's fun to discover it for yourself, but suffice it to say that you've been given a very important task and you'll have to navigate through a strange world and interact with a lot of bizarre creatures to achieve your goal.
If there's one way that I'd describe The Day The World Broke, it's "creative". Some of the creature designs are really fantastic. You can tell that one or several people sat down with some paper and just started drawing whatever bizarre stuff came into their head, and I kinda love it. There were several times where I just smiled and shook my head when I saw some of the strange stuff they came up with.
It's a good thing they hit the mark there because you'll be doing a *lot* of interacting with these creatures. In fact, if I have one major complaint about the game it's that it's very dialogue-heavy. Well, maybe dialogue is the wrong word since, in reality, it mostly involves you listening to other characters talk... *a lot*. The story, writing, and voice acting are good (the voice actor for "Diode", in particular, was wonderful) so it's not the end of the world but I wish the game had more *actual puzzles*. You end up spending significant amounts of time talking to the various denizens of the world, learning the history of the place, and while this is good stuff I think you can probably count the number of true puzzles in the game on one hand. The game world is relatively small as well - it seems larger than it actually is on first glance because basically everything is open to you very early on. I think this is likely a budgetary constraint. The game must be doing something right though because it left me wanting more.
The ending, like the beginning, is a little too abrupt for my liking as well. It really amounts to little more than "You did it!" I felt like there was a big missed opportunity to have an epilogue sequence that could go into the "worlds colliding" aspect a bit more - this seems like it would be obvious since they'd already established some of this earlier in the game. I guess I'll chalk that up to budget as well.
It really seems like they had a lot of fun creating this world though. There are lots of neat and inventive bits and bobs scattered all around and I really appreciate the explosion of creativity on display. I don't want to oversell it, because as I said it's not a perfect game, but it's one that feels like it had a ton of heart poured into it, and that's something I always find endearing. This was a great discovery for me, and I'm happy I've gotten the opportunity to help others experience it too. It seems to have garned a small cult following over the years and I can understand why. Check it out!