Do you remember when you were a kid and playing by yourself? The stories you made up, the characters you created to fill the void? I do, my Transformers had many a made up adventure, as did my G.I. Joe’s. I remember playing old flight sim games on my dad’s PC and wearing an old bike helmet with some cardboard taped over the front so I could pretend to be putting the breathing mask in from Top Gun.
That feeling of your own made up world is captured by the new Game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Set in the Life is Strange universe and featuring a character in the 10 year old Chris, it tells the tale of a snowy Saturday morning in Chris’ life. It is a point and click adventure just like the other Life is Strange games, with a slightly cartoonish art style that served the others so well.
This a very story based game, so reviewing it without spoilers is going to be tough. It centers around Chris and his relationship with his Dad. The Captain Spirit bit is a made up superhero of Chris’ own design, and the game seeps you into this aspect of the proceedings, giving tasks such as finding the toys that make up the villains team or choosing how his costume will look.
On the fringes of this is the strained relationship between Chris and his Dad. The father is a once up and coming basketball star, turned coach turned...it's never quite defined. He is shown drinking a lot, and this is where the writing starts to shine through. Can you be fully sure that he is just a guy desperately trying to do right by his kid and failing, or is the relationship abusive?
The father is definitely the best character here for just that reason. As father myself I can see that he is trying to do the right thing in spots, encouraging Chris, giving him hope of fun things for them both to do together, stuff like that. This is overshadowed by that ever present bottle of alcohol, and Chris knows it. The boy knows that he will invariably be disappointed, but goes along with it anyway.
What’s good is that it never seems to devolve into the ‘kid takes care of parent’ type of story that it could so easily have veered in to. Chris has chores to do, but he does it to genuinely help his Dad, not because he is the only one to do so. It is a sickly sweet tale due to the question mark over the relationship, but is done well enough.
This is a Life is Strange game in all but name, and playing it confirms it. The same annoyingly slow movement speed is present, the art style, the just odd enough facial expressions and the jerky character models. If all of that annoyed you about the first series or Before the Storm, nothing will change here.
Captain Spirit is also about the same length as one episode of the previous two seasons, so around two and half hours. Don’t feel bad about wasting money on it though, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is completely free, and serves as a prelude to Life is Strange 2. It is worth that time investment, because while it isn’t the greatest point and click game ever made, it is certainly one of the better written.
It will take you back to those days of making up stories for your toys, playing out little scenarios in your head and is one of the best nostalgia trips you can go on. Chris is a loveable character in not the best situation, but it certainly isn’t so bad that it is going to make you cry and the fine line the story walks gives you enough reason to see it through. At just a two and half hour time investment, you really have nothing to lose.