The point and click adventure is an example of a niche genre that has endured over the years, despite its relatively limited target audience. The Broken Sword series has stood for a long time as one of the most noteworthy examples of the genre and the original instalment, The Shadow of the Templars, has now been released as a mobile app for iOS and Android. So is this new version worth the attention of players who already own the PC title and will it appeal to players who haven’t experienced this kind of game yet?
For the uninitiated, Broken Sword: Director’s Cut tells a dark and complex story navigated through a point and click interface. On the PC you would control your character by clicking on locations, people or items in order to interact with them. It doesn’t take much time with Broken Sword: Director’s Cut to confirm the obvious: its control system translates beautifully to the touch screen interface. It’s easy to become absorbed in the deep world and narrative of the game when a mere touch is the only connecting factor between your thoughts and your character’s action.
Exploring the world of Broken Sword is a ponderous but engaging process. You may spend more time staring at an environment than actually moving your character around it. Each area is full of hidden possibilities; you can touch any desk, newspaper, drawer or similar object to get a closer view and you can store small items in your inventory for later use. When interacting with an environmental object (a door, for example) you can choose to use any item from your inventory on it. You can even choose to bring up anything in your inventory as a subject of conversation with non-player characters; it’s worth doing this with most of your possessions as the dialogue that can occur from some inappropriate items can be amusing.
In addition to exploring and unravelling the mysteries hidden in the world of Broken Sword there are also mini-games that are specific to certain tasks. These are generally brain-teasers like sliding blocks of different shapes around a grid in order to pick a lock. While a refreshing change, these tasks could potentially act as roadblocks which may frustrate some players. This leads to one of the main issues facing this version of the game.
The activities in Broken Sword are cerebral and, at times, plodding. Anyone looking for an action packed experience or a quick fix should think twice about this title. In this case the design of the game does not work so well with the mobile platform as it does not lend itself to short bursts of play. Thankfully a journal helps to knit the narrative back together after long periods away from the game so players shouldn’t have too much trouble remembering where they left off.
The narrative of Broken Sword has been lauded since the original version was released and that same story is intact here. Aesthetically the game is superb; the world is beautifully drawn and it’s a pleasure to explore. The snappily written dialogue is voiced very well (a rarity in our favourite entertainment medium) and the sound design ensures that each area you enter has its own atmosphere.
Broken Sword remains a superb adventure game that thrives on the mobile platform thanks to its affinity for the touch screen interface. Depending on how you like to play games on your mobile device you may find that it requires a little too much of your time in one sitting but if you put in the effort you’ll be rewarded with a deep and engrossing experience that keeps your mind keenly engaged as you strive to solve just one more puzzle.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - Directors Cut (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Having made the leap from the PC to mobile platforms, Broken Sword tells a story that is as compelling now as it was when it was first released. The puzzle solving gameplay remains as strong as ever and the advantages of a touch screen interface drastically improve the experience. If you’re willing to commit the time that this game will demand of you it will be more than worth the investment.