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Broken Roads Review | A Lukewarm Lark Through The Outback

Value for Money
$ 32
Clear Time:
8 Hours
Broken Roads is more story than game, although that isn’t a damning quality all in itself. This game’s narrative is genuine, heartfelt, and unequivocally Aussie, right down to the slang and mannerisms of the characters. Unfortunately, a great story alone does not make a good RPG—it should also be supplemented by an equally robust combat and progression system, which Broken Roads decidedly lacks. It’s a shame to see such an imbalance between story and gameplay in an otherwise outstanding title, but all is fair dinkum in Barbies and Bogans.

Broken Roads is a narrative-driven, party-based RPG set in the scorching sun and sands of a post-apocalyptic Australian outback. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn’t do well, and if it’s worth your time and money.

Broken Roads Review Overview

What is Broken Roads?


Broken Roads is a story-rich, party-based RPG featuring a genre-defying morality system that defines your outlook and interactions with a pub’s worth of well-written and lovable characters. Set in a post-apocalyptic version of the land down under, Broken Roads promises an experience full of difficult decisions, harsh realities, and old-fashioned Aussie interactions that even Mad Max would approve of.

Broken Roads features:
 ⚫︎ Genre-defying "Moral Compass" mechanic
 ⚫︎ Detailed and well-written story spanning various chapters
 ⚫︎ Scenic 3D environments depicting the Australian outback
 ⚫︎ Turn-based combat featuring XCOM-adjacent mechanics
 ⚫︎ A plethora of dialogue options, endings, and scenarios affected by your morality

For more gameplay details, read everything we know about Broken Roads's gameplay and story.

Gigantic Rampage EditionBroken Roads
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Broken Roads Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Amazing Character Writing
Checkmark The Moral Compass System is Outstanding
Checkmark Authentically Australian
Checkmark So-so Combat Experience
Checkmark Low-Stakes Storytelling

Broken Roads Overall Score - 74/100

Broken Roads is more story than game, although that isn’t a damning quality all in itself. This game’s narrative is genuine, heartfelt, and unequivocally Aussie, right down to the slang and mannerisms of the characters. Unfortunately, a great story alone does not make a good RPG—it should also be supplemented by an equally robust combat and progression system, which Broken Roads decidedly lacks. It’s a shame to see such an imbalance between story and gameplay in an otherwise outstanding title, but all is fair dinkum in Barbies and Bogans.

Broken Roads Story - 9/10

Broken Roads’ story is one I can’t forget so easily. Being a fan of Mad Max myself, yet another trek through a post-apocalyptic Australian outback seemed like a godsend, although I never expected how moving a trip this was going to be. From its complex and believable characters to its detailed descriptions of the Australian bush, almost every aspect of this game’s narrative keeps me hanging on for another chapter. The stakes are low despite the game’s setting, however, and I think that dilutes the experience into something less than perfect.

Broken Roads Gameplay - 7/10

It’s clear that Broken Roads was meant to be an RPG from the get-go with its great integration of stat and morality systems to spice up the game’s story and gameplay. Unfortunately, despite the game’s robust RPG stat integration and rich dialogue options, its clunky combat and unfair RNG drag its gameplay down immensely.

Broken Roads Visuals - 8/10

Broken Roads’ visuals are nothing to scoff at, featuring great use of 3D assets in a 2.5D environment. I’m a huge fan of how the game presents the Australian outback and its frequent use of graphic novel paneling during cutscenes. My only gripe lies with the game’s complete lack of a detailed character creator and monotonous color palette. It can’t be helped if that’s what the outback actually looked like but that’s what creativity is for.

Broken Roads Audio - 6/10

Broken Roads’ background music serves as an effective vehicle for the game’s narrative, although that’s really not where the game lacks in terms of audio quality. The game’s voice acting, though actually really good, isn’t always implemented. A majority of the dialogue goes unspoken while a seemingly random assortment of them are fully voice-acted. I don’t know why that’s the case but it’s a serious hit against this game’s audio score.

Broken Roads Value for Money - 7/10

Broken Roads offers a fun and truly emotional experience for almost $40. It’s a bit steep considering that many visual novels offer similar quality stories for much cheaper, but this game is also an RPG to boot. I’m still on the fence about whether or not the game’s RPG aspects justify its larger price tag, but $30 isn’t too large an investment should you think the latter.

Broken Roads Review: A Lukewarm Lark Through The Outback


I’m sure at least some of you are familiar with Mad Max and its various iterations in media. It’s gotten a few movie and video game adaptations of varying qualities over the years but one thing rings true among all of them: the Australian outback is an awful place to be in after the apocalypse.

This remains the case in Broken Roads, which is also set in a post-nuclear apocalypse Australian outback, only this time there’s less car-themed religious fanaticism and more communal cooperation. With a preamble like that I’m sure you’re already curious what Broken Roads has to offer, so let’s get right into the review and take a good long look at what makes Broken Roads a lukewarm lark through the outback.


Let’s start with what Broken Roads actually is. This game is a narrative-based, party-driven RPG where your choices matter. As you go through the various outback survivor colonies, your allegiances, constitution, and morality will be put to the test. I want you to think of it as a watered-down version of Baldur’s Gate 3, where adventuring between major settlements makes up most of your playtime.

This comparison will carry us a step further when you see the game’s stats and skills system, which mirrors standard TTRPG convention with its integration into dialogues and narrative paths. Your player character also has a class that you select at the start, which grants you unique stat bonuses and features during combat and dialogue. It’s nowhere near as expansive as BG3’s, but there’s a good spread between staple RPG roles like damage dealers and support classes.


Your character has a core stat distribution between six main stats and an entire page of various skills that those stats correspond to. There are too many to list comfortably here, but a few notable ones include Tinkering, which adds more consumable slots and increases blast radii of throwables, and Biology, which makes healing consumables better.

Each of these skills (and some of the base stats) grants you bonuses to certain dialogue options as well, making certain ones easier to succeed in or outright making them available to you. For example, someone with a high Biology stat is more likely to diagnose what ails a pet sheep accurately or completely heal them from the get-go if it’s high enough. This makes the game somewhat replayable as different builds yield different outcomes, but don’t expect BG3 levels of complexity as it simply isn’t within the game’s scope.


Yet another thing that can affect your choice in dialogue is the game’s morality system, which it presents front and center in all its promotional material. The Moral Compass system—as I’ve come to call it—isn’t just a dial swinging between "Good" and "Bad", it is a radial compass denoting your morality’s placement between four extremes: Utilitarianism, Humanism, Nihilism, and Machiavelianism. The philosophically gifted among you may already know what those ideologies entail, but I’ll break it down so we’re all on the same page.

Utilitarianism is the often-invoked ideology that focuses on the "Greater Good". Humanism places human dignity and the sanctity of life above all else. Nihilism purports the rejection of all moral principles and that life is meaningless. Lastly, Machiavelianism is a strategic focus on self-interest. These are all gross oversimplifications of complex topics but they will suffice for this review. What I want you to understand now is how these moral extremes affect your gameplay.


Almost every major action you do in this game is attached to one or more of these moral extremes and performing such an action will guide your compass deeper into that ideology’s quadrant. Acting with human dignity in mind will make you more of a Humanist, and so on. Veering too deep into an ideology grants you new passive effects that have their ups and downs. None of them are strict upgrades but they do represent their corresponding moral quadrant well. For example, digging deep into Humanism grants you " Dignity for All", which makes area attacks that might harm allies less viable while granting you a bonus to supporting skills.

The developers tout this system as "genre-defying" and I’m keen to agree with them. This compass actively and passively affects both the game’s narrative and combat, and still manages to be more complex than "good or bad". While on the topic of narratives, let’s talk about the game’s story.


I’ll do my best to keep this review spoiler-free because the game’s story is genuinely good. The world-building, dialogue, and character writing all expertly present themes of community, adversity, conflict, and personal morality without ever coming off as preachy or self-indulgent. All quadrants of the moral compass are represented with equal respect and frequency, such that it really feels like a thriving community of diverse worldviews. To top that all off, there are plenty of genuinely gripping scenes and heartwarming stories to be had. Hats off to Broken Roads’ developers for this game’s narrative. Sadly, this is where the game’s accolades end.

I’ll keep it on the straight and narrow: this game’s combat isn’t good. I expected it to be good because the necessary RPG infrastructure was in place. Unfortunately, the execution was lukewarm at best and completely deceptive at worst, with awkward utilization of movement points and an unwieldy UI rounding off this game’s travesty of a combat system.


This game’s combat plays like XCOM in practice but lacks the grid-based movement and targeting the IP is known for. Ranged and melee combat are represented equally, but ranged combat is so needlessly complex, to the point where effective ranges need to be taken into account. With the aforementioned gridless system, this rangefinding is mostly guesswork. Attacking and using skills is a simple matter of managing action points but some of the percentages to hit just straight up don’t make any mathematical sense.

The game also lacks tooltips for a lot of its combat consumables, making planning a nightmare. I likened this game to XCOM, but never confuse that likeness as a comparison between their combat systems as Broken Roads simply cannot step up. To tie this mess together, there’s the simple fact that you can’t manually dictate how your party members level up and what stats to allocate their new points into.


Moving swiftly along, let’s talk about the game’s audio. Broken Roads is a trail mix of quality when it comes to audio. The background music is great at setting the scene for the game’s narrative as it uses instruments and musical motifs from Aboriginal tribes. They extend this respect to a lot of the disclaimers, names, and themes within the story itself, but we’ll get to that later. What really dampens this game’s auditory experience is its voice acting.

The VA quality is superb but that’s not what’s wrong with this game’s voice acting. I don’t understand why, but the game doesn’t have full voice acting. A lot of the dialogue goes unspoken for the characters and narrator alike, only to be belted out for exactly one line before becoming silent again.


And that’s the end of the trail for Broken Roads. I can tell that this game is a labor of love from its developers because some parts of it just ooze the Aussie spirit. The story is genuinely fun, well-written, and heartwarming, but the lackluster presentation of its combat and audio just don’t give it much room to stand out. The people at Drop Bear Bytes have acknowledged these shortcomings and have since announced a post-release roadmap to address them. As it stands now, however, Broken Roads is just plain broken, and not in a good way.

Pros of Broken Roads

Things Broken Roads Got Right
Checkmark Amazing Character Writing
Checkmark The Moral Compass System is Outstanding
Checkmark Authentically Australian

Amazing Character Writing


Far from anyone to expect anything else from an RPG, but you’d be surprised how often character writers miss the mark in making memorable characters for games like this. The people at Larian hit the homerun with BG3 but they’re not the only ones cooking up something great.

The characters in Broken Roads are amazing. They’re not quite as fantastical, ambitious, or unique as Astarion or Karlach, but they are relatable—realistic, even. They’re sinners and saints, pious and self-serving, outgoing and private, and all manner of humanity in between. They react to the world and interact with each other in ways that one can realistically expect. Most importantly, however, they are deep and complex people that are more than mere caricatures.


My favorite example of this is a man named Mick, who is the mayor of the first settlement if you choose the Jackaroo class. He initially comes off as a crass, self-serving man who values people’s usefulness over their dignity as a person. One can grow to hate him and be right for it. But when the town is attacked and his people are threatened, he refuses to go without looking for survivors and does his utmost to parley with surrounding towns for their sake.

The Moral Compass System is Outstanding


Broken Roads did not invent the morality system for RPGs but they did really well with the one they had. Isolating Utilitarianism, Humanism, Machiavellianism, and Nihilism as the four ideological extremes and linking all of the game’s systems really helped them sell the idea that your choices matter…because they do!

This is going to sound bad, but I’m looking forward to being a nihilist Machiavellian just to see how different my next playthrough would be.

Authentically Australian


I’m no authority on the matter as I’m not an Aussie myself, but Broken Roads practically oozes with that outback flavor in all of its facets. The people talk in authentic Australian fashion with plenty of slang and profanity thrown in there to enhance the effect. The outback is a character in itself with its iconic animals and sceneries serving as the perfect background for this game’s narrative. Most notable of all is the game’s representation of all of Australia’s people, Aboriginal people included. It’s a healthy representation that only serves to make the game better.

Cons of Broken Roads

Things That Broken Roads Can Improve
Checkmark So-so Combat Experience
Checkmark Low-Stakes Storytelling

So-so Combat Experience


I’ve talked about what makes this game’s combat bad at length already so let’s get into the actual details. Combat in this game feels clumsy, nothing like the precision one might expect from something like XCOM. The lack of a grid-based system isn’t necessarily a bad thing as other games have made use of it, it’s just that the guesswork involved with the effective range of guns makes the freeform movement downright awful.

That’s not all either, because a lot of the game’s hit percentages are completely criminal, especially if your stats aren’t up to snuff. I get that it should be that way in the early game to provide some sort of tension and prevent power gaming, but even Dungeon and Dragons give a 50/50 chance to hit on average for the first level. This game operates on percentages averaging 30-40%, which simply isn’t fun or fair.


There’s also the fact that combat rarely happens, especially in the early game where they are scripted. This game isn’t so robust that you can start and stop combat at any point like in BG3, so you’re just on for the ride until the narrative says that a fight should break out.

Low-Stakes Storytelling


The story is great, don’t get me wrong, I just think that it’s very low-stakes sometimes, especially when it’s being lumped in with gameplay. The biggest example would be the raider's attack on the town at the end of Chapter 1. The background visuals and character dialogue suggest that time is of the essence here but you can just scavenge and do nothing until you feel like it to absolutely no consequence. The same goes for other seemingly high-stakes situations and it really puts a damper on the drama.

Is Broken Roads Worth It?

Buy it For the Story, Not the Combat


$40 is a lot, but not too much for what Broken Roads has to offer. The story is exquisite enough to warrant several repeats and the characters are genuinely fun to have around. You might find the game lacking if you bought it for the RPG combat, however, so purchase this game with story and characters in mind. Should you end up regretting the purchase anyway, at least you’ve got one hell of a story for the road.

Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam Playstation IconPlayStation Xbox IconXbox
$31.49 $39.99

Broken Roads FAQ

Are There Optional Romance Options in Broken Roads?

According to Misao Kamiya, one of the game’s developers, romance options are available in the game, although it is not the game’s main focus. Options for additional romance partners or a more fleshed-out romance system could be added in the future, but the developers are more focused on improving the game’s combat and early game in the meantime.

Does Broken Roads Have Character Creation?

Broken Roads does have a character creator, although character appearance is limited to a selection of presets. Further customization options will be a likely addition in the future according to the game’s post-launch roadmap.

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Broken Roads Product Information

Broken Roads Cover
Release Date November 14, 2023
Developer Drop Bear Bytes
Publisher Versus Evil
Supported Platforms PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
Genre RPG, Adventure, Strategy
Number of Players 1
ESRB Rating Mature
Official Website Broken Roads Website


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