Kaptain Brawe is a good old point and click adventure set in a kind of parallel universe where, even though it’s the 19th Century, man has conquered the stars and regularly commutes between the planets in ships made from the finest mahogany and sporting such technological wonders as valves, pulsating capacitors and elaborate pipe-works. This new frontier has brought much wealth to the empire, however, as always, there are those who would rather steal the new-found riches rather than earn them through good, honest toil. Space pirates – known as Kribbsare – the scourge of the galaxy, and the task lies with the Space Police to deal with such malcontents.
Enter Kaptain Brawe, a manly man and Space Police Officer, who steps onto the bridge of his starship, the SPS Mazslow, his manly red beard covering his manly protruding chin. He stands, magnificently posed against the backdrop of the cosmos through the view screen. What a guy! With the legendary words ‘To bravely go…’ upon his lips he is suddenly and rudely interrupted by a distress call from a crashed ship. And thus begins, as cited on the developer’s website, ‘The greatest space adventure yet’.
That’s quite a profound statement from CateiaGames, and although Kaptain Brawemay not be the ‘greatest space adventure’ it is without a doubt a very good try. You control the good Kaptain on his mission to rescue the downed spacecraft and, ultimately, uncover ‘the greatest conspiracy in the space age’ (another quote from the developers). Controlling him is easy enough, if you are familiar with the P&C genre then you can jump right in, otherwise a brief tutorial is available whilst talking to your second in command – the not-so-manly, Kralek. Speaking of, erm… speaking, the dialogue is reminiscent of the old Sierra or Lucasarts games. It has just the right amount of slapstick, not too adult, humour that keeps a smile on your face. This is mixed with the often very funny pigeon-esque, mis-spelt English that the manly Kaptain utters from time to time and in true adventure form the dialogue changes depending on where you are in a particular puzzle and how far into the game you are.
The puzzles themselves are actually very good and not too taxing. Thankfully, they also don’t follow the usual obscure routine that many point and click adventures have in the past, which makes this game fairly suitable for younger gamers. Admittedly, you do have to re-visit locations several times and speak to the other characters quite a lot so it may put off the really young players, but it wouldn’t be much of an adventure if you didn’t, would it?
Thankfully, if you are tearing your hair out over a puzzle, then a wonderful addition to Kaptain Brawe is a big question mark in the bottom corner of the screen. Clicking this will give you a list of your current objectives, but clicking on the objective breaks it down level by level. For example, the objective may be to repair a broken detector. Click on the objective and it will give you a paragraph explaining a possible next move – Speak to Karlek about the detectors. Click again and it will drill down even further and so on. It won’t give too much away, but it gives just enough to aid you if you’re wandering around and losing the will to live. This little addition helps increase the playability of this game no end. As most of us already know, point and click adventures are notorious for leaving the players in a kind of puzzle limbo which eventually ends up with the poor game gathering dust on a shelf or appearing in the window of the local charity shop.
Delving deeper into the game reveals a cast of amusing and original characters, some of which you also have a go at controlling as the game’s focus shifts from one person to another. This keeps you on your toes as you can go so far into the story with the manly Kaptain and then have to change over to Agent Zero, or Luna as she is known, to help rescue him from certain doom, then over to another character called ‘Danny’ to tie everything up. These alternative story lines do eventually merge into the finale, but I’m not going to give too much away, as that would be silly and not very manly!
The backdrops, scenes if you will, are nicely hand drawn and speak of a much relaxed time in gaming, when you didn’t have to fling your arms around or wear ridiculous looking blue-tooth headsets. The characters, from the manly Kaptain to the, somewhat curvaceous, Luna are crafted in an excellent 3D fashion and have the ability to wander around the drawn scenes without losing perspective. The sound is fine; each major location boasts its own particular music, although there isn’t any voice over, but to tell you the truth, I’m quite happy with that as it may have lost some of the humour in its delivery.
Despite its old school charm, I’m not sure how this will fare with the modern gamer, personally I think those too young to really remember the likes of the Space Quest or Monkey Island games should give this a try. I really enjoyed it, but then I’ve always liked point and click adventures. I don’t have any major criticisms, the game has a good few hours’ worth of playing to its name, it’s good fun and a pleasure to play. The problem is, a game like this hangs in a fine balance. Make the graphics too good and you potentially lose the gameplay, make the puzzles too easy and you lose the audience, likewise if they are too difficult. But considering the game is only £15 it’s a very good buy, I would recommend it to those old timers who revel in the glory days and to the new generation who just need to enjoy a relaxing game.
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