The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit Review – Hella Good
The Awesome Adventures of Captain SpiritJune 25th, 2018
There’s something almost magical in the air on Saturday mornings. The world feels fresher, the sun brighter and the people happier. Perhaps it’s a hang up from the days of our youth when the industrious weekend was the time our dreams would come true. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a snapshot of the intangible magic and the tragedy that so easily hides behind it.
While Captain Spirit is more of a minisode teaser for season two of Life is Strange, there some immediate differences. The most noticeable of which is the central character. Chris is the first male protagonist in the Life is Strange series, which has up until this point focused on the strange lives of young women. DONTNOD has received a lot of praise for its portrayal of its central characters in the past, and I was slightly worried that the new dynamic won’t feel as honest. Despite this, Chris is a superbly well-made character and immediately relatable. While this won’t be true for everybody, Captain Spirit spoke to me on a deeply personal level, and it was an extraordinarily emotional experience. If you have lonely memories of childhood and an overactive imagination, this game will speak to you in a language known all too well.
Another big difference is the graphical quality. As a teaser and demo, Captain Spirit shows just how much has improved since 2015's Life is Strange. From the character animation to the world, the clarity of the image finally matches the detail DONTNOD has always put into their game worlds. Everything about Captain Spirit looks crisper and cleaner than ever before, with a lot of extra details that add a bit more life to this Saturday morning. Wading through the snowy gardens leave behind complex tracks that don’t disappear, at least until you go back inside.
There’s another handful of changes that hint at the possible things to come in season two of Life is Strange, but these also make Captain Spirit much fun to play. Rather than being the normal linear affair, Captain Spirit opens up a set of opportunities that can be completed in any order or ignored altogether. But unlike the teenage melodrama, the adventures of Captain Spirit are nothing more and nothing less of the wistful daydreams of a young boy. For you see, Chris has a secret identity, the amazing Captain Spirit with the power to shape matter to his will. This particular Saturday morning is filled with villains that have to be overcome. Like the other Life is Strange games, Chris can spend his time meticulously exploring each room and discovering all their secrets. While Max had the ability to reverse time, and Chloe could argue with literally anybody, Chris has a different power. On certain items, Chris can use his powers to interact with them in unique, imaginative and comical ways. Why turn on the television with the power button when you can simply turn it on with your mind (just remember to take the controller out from behind your back when you’re done). It's an almost painfully heartwarming touch that almost immediately helps you relate to Chris, and personifies his imagination and loneliness.
But there is another story happening while Captain Spirit wanders around saving the day. Chris lives with his dad, and both of them are struggling to deal with the death of Chris’s mother. While Chris is clearly regressing into himself, his dad is regressing into a whiskey bottle. The relationship between the two is at the heart of everything in Captain Spirit and fuel the intense finale of this hour-long adventure. I don’t want to spoil anything, but like the other titles in the Life is Strange universe, this game brought me to tears. The character exploration and delivery are next to none, and DONTNOD are craving an impressive niche as the studio that can explore such intimate relations.
For fans of Life is Strange, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is essential playing. Filled with some fan service from the first two games, both sweet and kind of horrifying, it also peeks into the future of the series as well. There’s next to nothing confirmed about season two yet, so most of what you find is speculation at best, but is nonetheless very interesting to think about. Newcomers could also play Captain Spirit and its self-contained but heartfelt story will still be just as affecting. For the full effect though, it's definitely worth playing the entire series.
The game is free to download on all the platforms.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit are simply awesome. Fans of the series know exactly what to expect while newcomers are welcomed into this world of tragedy and whimsy. It's free and fun, what more do you want?
- Great characterization
- Really sweet and heartbreaking at the same time
- Deeper exploration
- Truly improved graphics
- How do you unlock the phone!?
- Quite short
- Ending can be triggered by accident