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.
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
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
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
All up, there is plenty to like in
Kaptain Brawe, so why not see if you are, in fact, ready!
Kaptain Brawe can be
The Adventure Shop.
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