Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler



Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Venture Moon Studios 

Released:   October 2016

PC Requirements (recommended):  

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 2GHz Quad Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 670 2GB RAM or equivalent
  • Storage: 3 GB available space

Additional screenshots



by flotsam


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 himself.

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 without him.

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 rollicking venture.

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 theme.

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


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB



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