“I sense danger…Mantroid must be in the area.”
I honestly couldn’t have started my new game review category with a better game! Well, in my opinion anyway. Introducing The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit from the amazing guys and gals behind the Life Is Strange series.
If anyone knows me well enough or if anyone has read my previous blog posts, Life Is Strange has been an incredibly influential game for me for so many reasons. The emotional ride mixed with the incredibly complex story line inspired me to get my act together and get started on my own novel. When Captain Spirit was announced at E3 a few weeks ago, I went crazy! A new game set in the Life Is Strange universe based around a superhero kid who looks suspiciously like a male version of Max Caulfield? Take my money! 💰
Woah, wait a minute. You don’t want my money? It’s FREE?!
Yes, it’s free. The creators released the game as an introduction to the eagerly anticipated Life Is Strange 2, coming to our consoles at the end of September. Nothing like a big old tease! Captain Spirit focuses on Chris Eriksen – a 9 year old boy who regularly escapes the seemingly harsh realities of his childhood life with his own adventures, transforming into his alter ego, Captain Spirit. And the best part? There are sneaky links to Life Is Strange 2 hidden in the game. Oh. My. GOD.
The game is a rather short 2 hours long as it’s just a demo, but the effort that has been put into creating something fans will absolutely adore is incredible. It definitely has that Life Is Strange vibe to it. The game music has always been a really big thing for me. You always know the start of a LIS game by the sounds of Daughter or Syd Matters, and you instantly know you’re in for a rough emotional ride when the game boots up! You get the same feel with the new theme for Captain Spirit in the form of Death With Dignity.
Okay, so I’m going to try and not give away any major spoilers here, purely because it’s a game you really need to play through yourself if you’re a fan of Life Is Strange. However, if you’ve been following the #CaptainSpirit tag on Twitter, you’ll probably have been fed some information already like I was! I found out what the pass code for Chris’ dad’s phone was before I’d even met the guy! (Sorry, dude.) Oh, the power of social media… I’ll be impressed if you manage to work it out without any hints!
Straight away, I saw a likeness to Max in Chris. The way he uses his ‘superpowers’ to carry out simple tasks gives Captain Spirit the same magical aura. Max was such a great character in LIS, and Chris really doesn’t disappoint. The way he comes out with witty comments or describes things or people in his company really takes you back to Arcadia Bay and the days of Blackwell Academy. Ahh, the reminiscence. You got it, kid.
The first sense of Max you get here is in one of the very first cut scenes of Chris, (as Captain Spirit) when he tests out his ‘powers’ on his TV.
Yep. Let me play more, goddamn it!
When you begin playing, you can explore Chris’ room; designing your superhero costume down to the last detail, viewing possessions and questioning different things all bring up different memories for Chris. Some happy, some rather painful. You start to piece together different parts of his life. We find out he’s recently moved, he’s lost his mother and he can’t fully depend on his father for countless reasons. We sometimes get the impression that Chris knows his father could be a better role model because of his drinking habit and tendency to get angry quickly, but he chooses to stay quiet. A rather sad predicament, but one that I guess some people could relate to once upon a time.
In the snippet of game play, you really get to know each character as individuals. While game mechanics are not the point of the Life Is Strange IP, the developers use different mechanics to ensure that the game feels more alive and engaging. For instance, you can pick up a toy and shoot Chris’ dad with a mechanic familiar to anyone who has played shooting games. Different tips help you get to grips with the various mechanics when they present themselves.
We find out that Chris’ father once used to be a top basketball player, but really lost all hope and passion when they lost Emily. We see that Chris is generally a happy kid who gets on with life, no matter what is thrown at him. Something that takes courage in a kid that age.
There are some issues we have to address here. The story line is obviously heading down the route of domestic violence and alcohol abuse, and the effect it can have on young kids. It explores all the questions children might have when there are problems at home. The creators of the game have portrayed this in a rather saddening but intensely clever way.
Now, you have to be aware that these games completely wreck your emotions at times. That much so that there’s actually a warning at the beginning of LIS! Even though the ability to tug on people’s heart strings through a game is simply genius, Captain Spirit is obviously going to really hit home for some gamers. (Make sure you’re ready when you do get round to playing if this applies to you!)
A bit about the famous style of game play now; the bit that excites me most in all these games! The ability to make choices. The fact that the choices you make in this game will affect your game play in Life Is Strange 2. (Amazing!)
I felt the first bit of a dilemma hit when exploring Chris’ room. His Dad is constantly calling him to come down for breakfast when eventually he says he will come and get him himself if he doesn’t listen. Hang on… if I wait, will a very angry Dad drag him out of his room and change my game play options further down the line? How would this affect my options in LIS 2? Argh, the pressure! Thankfully, Dad didn’t come and drag Chris out into the hallway because of my panic. Who knows what could have happened if I’d waited…
All in all, despite some upsetting parts, The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit is a beautifully crafted game with an engaging story line. The guys have done it again and created something incredible, magical and a downright joy to play! Download it if you haven’t already, but beware – you may also get as hooked on the Life Is Strange series as I am… 🙂