Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler
Venture Moon Studios
Shiver me timbers you scurvy
knave, a-pirating we go!
A pirate ship without a
captain is a rum thing indeed, so there is some captain picking to
be done. It’s swords on the deck for the wannabes, among them the
sword of Duke Grabowski. Twice as big as all the others, it is
befitting of the comparatively behemoth size of the good Duke
Being big on brawn but not
so on brain, there is chortling and taunting by his shipmates at the
prospect, followed by some temper fraying and a bit of biffing. Then
a quest, otherwise it wouldn’t be an adventure game.
The said quest involves Duke
having to get some more swash in his buckle, proving he is a suave
ladies’ man by wooing three different women. Do that and he can be
captain, says Slew Face, so Duke sets off into Bodacious Bay. 'Tis
of course just a ruse to calm him down and keep him occupied, while
the crew repairs the ship and sails off in search of hordes of lucre
The game springs from the
developers of Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island and has been described
variously as a spinoff and a spiritual successor. Led by Bill
Tiller, a LucasArts artist on a number of games including Curse of
Monkey Island, the pirate pedigree is a good one.
Indeed, if those games float
your piratey boat, I suspect you will find plenty to like here.
Befitting its pedigree,
Duke’s adventuring takes place in a bright, lush and colourful 2D
world, with 3D cutscenes here and there. Detail abounds, with the
sights well supported by the sounds, both ambient and otherwise. The
writing too is what you would expect: witty, amusing and
occasionally chuckly out loud. Jaunty music, quirky characters, and
a suitable assortment of voiceovers all contribute to a jolly and
Winning hearts involves more
quests, of the inventory variety, supplemented by the skills of
various characters which are used via their portrait in the pirate
chest that contains your items. As with all such games, combining
and using items and abilities provides the puzzling, not always
completely logically but by and large I thought they were explicable
and discernible if looked at the right way. It rolled along at a
good pace, and clocked in at just over a few hours, somewhat short
for a game but about what we are used to for the first part of an
episodic outing, which apparently this is intended to be.
Duke lumbers about in the
third person, and engages with his surroundings via point and click.
Icons allow you to interact in different ways with the object or
person in question (examine, use, talk to, etc.), and you can save
as you go although the game will save for you. Tab reveals all
hotspots, and double clicking the navigational icon will jump you to
the next screen. The various icons are consistent with the pirate
I liked Duke, and his goofy
and ultimately big hearted ways. I suspect he will continue to grow.
I will come back to see how he turns out. Arrgh!
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB
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