Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Cateia Games

Released:  November 2010

PC Requirements:   Windows XP/Vista™/Windows 7™, Pentium IV 1 GHz Single Core or 100 % compatible CPU, 256 MB of RAM, 350 MB or more of hard drive space, 32 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible video card, DirectX compatible sound card

Additional screenshots




by flotsam


“Are you ready for the greatest space adventure yet?” So asks the Cateia website, and whilst I wouldn’t call it the greatest, a space voyage with the good Kaptain is certainly one worth taking.

It’s a voyage back in time, in more ways than one. Kaptain Brawe takes place in an alternate 19th century reality, where interstellar travel is commonplace, but robot accomplices are made of wood. Like all good “old-time” adventures, the impossible is easy and the mundane is devilishly difficult – compare perhaps travelling to a distant planet with curing a headache. It looks like an old-time hand drawn cartoon adventure, behaves like one right down to its lack of spoken word, and requires a sense of fun, a willingness to experiment with an eclectic inventory, and a few weekends of free time.

Kaptain Brawe himself is a Space Police officer, with a sense of derring-do that you just know is going to get him into difficulty. When the good ship Mazslow receives a distress call, nothing and no one is going to stand in the way of a Kaptain rescue. Backup is not in his vocabulary, and once some on-board housekeeping is attended to, it's full speed ahead to Jama Spacea.

Three planets later, and with the assistance of two other playable characters and the aforementioned wooden robot, the good Kaptain will have vanquished the mysterious She, rescued an odd little alien or two, thwarted the evil Kribbs in a seeming plot to destroy the Space Union, and generally had a jolly good time of it all. He will banter his way along, all of it read (given the lack of spoken word), and he will have wrung at least a smirk and a smile from most players.

Kaptain Brawe is a bit of good fun. It's well drawn, reasonably well scripted, and rollicks along. Play on the “casual” game mode, and the dialogue will be a little less weighty, and a progressive hint system will be available, both of which will enhance the rollicking. As well, there is no need to choose how you want to interact with objects in the environment – look, use, etc – as the game defaults to the appropriate one. In the “hardcore” mode, you do get to choose the interaction you want, and you are on your own when it comes to hints.

The hint system worked well, and seems to be becoming a bit of a staple of these sorts of adventure games. If done well, by which I mean they hint rather than tell, I think they are a fine addition and in no way detract from the gaming experience. To the contrary, they keep the game flowing, which helps both the narrative and the enjoyment.

There were, like in all such inventory based games, some rather offbeat puzzle solves, and there were times when I did reach for a hint (or even four!). Some of the better puzzles involved teamwork between several of the playable characters, as you switched back and forth between them at will to achieve your objectives. You also do a bit of errand running, but the gaming world is relatively contained so there is not really any lengthy traipsing from one far-flung scene to another (which doesn’t mean you won’t go back and forth, just that you won't have to do it across vast numbers of scenes).

There is a reasonable degree of openness in the game, in that you can usually work on a few things at a time, especially once you reach the first planetfall. There were times when I did things just because I could, without really having a reason to do so, but I felt on the whole that most of my actions were the result of some knowledge or intention to achieve a desired outcome.

The way objects behave is at times inconsistent, which is something that irks me. Generally you can pick up items at will, and not everything can be picked up. You might just look at something and comment on it, but otherwise leave it where it is. However, there are times when you don’t pick something up, because you don’t yet have a reason to take the particular object. The resulting comment might suggest a future purpose, but if you can engage in kleptomania at will for most objects, in my view they should all behave that way. Or else don’t let me take anything until I have a reason to do so. It didn’t happen often, and it might just be a personal irritant, but at least now you know!

Don’t let the lack of speech put you off. Plenty of games are let down by the voice acting. Here you don’t have to worry, as you imbue each character with your own sense of what they sound like.

In any event, music and sound is well used, and makes up for the silence of the dialogue. I particular liked the subtle achievement fanfare that signalled a completed task. Game mechanics are straightforward – point and click, both left and right, and highlight objects to be examined with a keystroke if you wish. Nothing is clunky or overly complicated in terms of interacting with the world or the inventory. You can save at will and the game will autosave at particular points.

All up, there is plenty to like in Kaptain Brawe, so why not see if you are, in fact, ready!


Kaptain Brawe can be downloaded from The Adventure Shop.

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