Something For Nothing
To provide a little context, Captain Spirit isn't strictly a demo, rather a playable prologue to the next season of Life Is Strange. It's the perfect way to tease a narrative-driven title like this without giving anything away ahead of season two's September release – introduce players to the world, the mechanics and the tone of the game without so much as a slight spoiler in sight. But while most demos don't do much more than try to sell you on the full release, the unique nature of Captain Spirit allows it to stand up on its own as a touching and intimate bite-sized gaming snack that you can enjoy without knowledge of or even the slightest interest in Life Is Strange.
This being an adventure game, there are naturally a number of choices to be made along the way, starting with the process of helping Chris design Captain Spirit's costume. With Chris' dad as the only supporting character of note (in the real world, at least), most dialogue choices come to the fore during father/son exchanges. The general tone of these is great, as is the sense of actual relationship and history between the pair, but some of the writing and delivery let it down in places and it can also be somewhat heavy-handed with how it addresses some of its subject matter. Environmental storytelling fares better, filling in the gaps around the story as Chris uncovers fragments of his past to varying degrees of elation and heartbreak. You can even use these to help shape what kind of hero Captain Spirit will be – interact with any of your supervillain nemeses (read: toys) and you're able to choose how you thwart them, becoming either a benevolent protector or a merciless vigilante in the process. It's oddly satisfying, especially for something that doesn't even really matter... yet.
Chris Will Remember That
Captain Strange squeezes an awful lot of content into its short running time, ticking all the usual adventure game boxes – dialogue choices, puzzles, and mild exploration – while adding something new of its own in the form of reflective moments. There are several spots where you can just sit or lie and think back on the events of (and prior to) the game, a wandering camera taking in the sights and the sombre soundtrack the perfect complement for this introspective downtime. It's so nice to just be able to take five and either forget about or ponder on your problems for just a moment, an option many games don't even afford players without reaching for the pause button, let alone their characters.
- Heartfelt and endearing
- Some lovely moments
- It's free!
- Incredibly short
- One puzzle makes no sense
- Is it September yet?
The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit Review (PS4)
Whether you plan on playing the next season of Life Is Strange or not, this standalone prequel chapter is absolutely worth checking out in the meantime – it just might change your mind. And even if it doesn't, it's still a captivating and imaginative movie-length slice of gaming that won't cost you a penny... what's not to like there, exactly?
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.