It is undeniable that the indie industry has been showing its value in recent years, with studios composed of usually very few individuals being able to offer interesting experiences and trying several times to escape the more traditional formats of bigger games.
And among those endeavors is Broken Pieces, an adventure title with hints of cosmic horror, and the first release from Elseware Experience, a French developer with a team of just five people.
But will this debut really hit the spot and will it join the list of indie games that are worth the players’ time and money? Well, check out our review to find out!
The despair of loneliness
The plot here revolves around Elise, who with her fiancé, Pierre, decides to abandon the big city rush and move to Saint-Exil, a small French seaside village.
However, the search for peace and tranquility in this picturesque region soon turns into a nightmare, when strange events stir up the activities of a cult known as the Devotees and even attract the military to the city, culminating in the disappearance of all the inhabitants and leaving the poor protagonist completely alone to face dark creatures while searching for answers to solve the mystery and find her lover.
With a beautiful setting full of charming scenarios, the game presents its plot through dialogues that the main character has with herself, as well as cassette tapes left by other inhabitants and recorded by Elise herself, which further reinforce her feeling of loneliness for spend so many days with no one to interact with.
In general, the narrative is nothing surprising and even a little confusing, but it has its interesting points. In the beginning, you have to stop and listen to some tapes to begin to understand what is happening, which can be slightly tedious for some players.
But as the investigation gradually reveals the information linked to the fateful event that left the woman alone in the village, things get more intriguing, with the touches of espionage, scientific research and a dose of cosmic horror making everything more attractive, however, I confess. that I had to stop and gather many points in my head to understand the end of this story.
The gameplay isn’t very long and doesn’t really need to be repeated, with the main quest being able to be completed in about five hours, but for those who love to enjoy everything a title has to offer, it also has side missions, such as an arcade left by Pierre and find spheres that lead to a kind of dream world.
Queen of the weather
Broken Pieces focuses on investigating different areas of the village to discover the answer to the great mystery linked to the Saint-Exil lighthouse, with many puzzles related to clearing the way for Elise to move from one area to another and open doors to important locations. .
One of the main tools of the protagonist is a mysterious blue stone, which allows to change the season from summer to winter, causing walls to collapse and become bridges and lakes that were crystalline solid enough to be crossed easily.
The stone can also conjure up storms during the hottest weather, being the necessary nudge in some situations and also serving as a way to deal with enemies.
Another game mechanic is related to time. The main character must always return home before eight o’clock at night, because after that time, the number of creatures to face increases.
Getting to certain parts of the map, such as the Church or the Beach, consumes more than an hour of Elise’s precious time, so it is often necessary to leave the rest of the investigation for the next day, in some cases, she even warns that she needs to return. home to study documents and get on with the story.
And as much as the combats are present in the game, they are extremely sporadic and resolved with a few bullets, not giving a real sense of danger, but more as a way of remembering to respect the curfew to avoid headaches.
The broken pieces
One of the biggest problems with Broken Pieces is really linked to the battles, which don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the game.
In addition to being extremely quick to deal with the ghosts that attack the poor woman, we still have infinite ammo, so there really isn’t that desperation to save shots or scour the environments carefully for more items to manufacture new bullets.
This option is even available, but it’s never very clear how the creation process is or the combination of the materials found, and in the end, I ended up leaving it aside and doing very well with what I already had available.
Another point that can be slightly uncomfortable is the cassette tapes. When Elise finds an important document, she comes home and reads it before bed, and the next day, we have to pick up a tape recorded by herself the night before to find out the information and reveal our next steps.
As much as this may serve to show how lonely she is, it ends up being kind of strange at the same time, almost as if the character had a recent case of amnesia and needed to keep remembering what she saw a short time ago.
With some audios lasting up to two minutes, we ended up just staring at a static screen with subtitles, which can end up proving boring for players who prefer more dynamic games.
It is worth it?
For those who like investigative and quieter games, Broken Pieces can be a good choice, especially for its short duration. But if you’re expecting great psychological horror, you’ll be disappointed.
It’s really an adventure title, with puzzles that are often fun, as well as easily solvable without causing too much frustration.
Its story, even simple, is not without its merits, and if you don’t mind the lack of action and many mind-boggling battles, it’s definitely worth stopping for a few hours and giving a chance to this really cool project developed by just five people .