The emotional core of That Dragon, Cancer is real—so real, in fact, and so personal, that I ended up feeling like an outsider looking in. I pitied the Greens for having to endure this awful series of events, but I did not come away feeling connected to their experience, or enlightened by it. This was not because the game tried but failed to connect with me, but because it didn't.
By granting me what I thought I wanted—free reign to explore—Mad Max pushes its source material out of the fast and tantalizing drive of action movies and into the slow, repetitive plod of open-world action games. It delivers a vast, meticulously rendered desert with nothing special to see.
If you were to play through Stasis without stopping to take in all the optional content, you would experience an aesthetically appealing, linear, cliche-ridden adventure -- you would feel cold and alone. But by placing your adventure in the context of all the other tragedies aboard the Groomlake, a kind of familial intimacy develops.
The usual point-and-click caveats are present here: some puzzles are so obvious as to feel like filler material, one or two so esoteric as to drive the player to frustration. The division of Shay and Vella's worlds can sometimes make what is actually a sizeable game feel artificially constricted, particularly in the first act. But these are minor quibbles compared to the mix of delight and unease that a playthrough of Broken Age evokes.
Had the realization of that universe been more fully fleshed out—expansive and deep rather than restrictive and boardgame-like—Spaceships could have found success as a kind of post-human strategy game. Instead it feels lifeless. But not in the existential, gazing-into-the-void-of-space way. More in the way that an aging child realizes that her blanket is just a blanket, and promptly stops caring about it.