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The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is the first game from the Life is Strange series that I have been able to play first hand, after years of watching let’s plays and game theories. With the release of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, as well as the obviously tempting notion of this spinoff being ‘free-to-play’, this was my chance to finally experience the games’ world first hand.
The game focusses on Chris Eriksen, a young boy with a vivid imagination who takes on the persona of Captain Spirit and play-fights against a villain named Mantroid. This game intends to introduce Chris’ character before his return in Life is Strange 2, which is set to be released on September 27th 2018, and exists as a form of superhero origins.
Through playing The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, players take on the familiar walking simulator traits of Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Like the previous games, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit has a protagonist who will contently disregard other characters’ privacy. The game’s puzzles encourage you to unlock Chris’ father’s wardrobe to read private letters, as well as searching for padlock codes and pin numbers to further your perhaps villainous pursuit of information. With the games’ initial introduction of Chris as Captain Spirit, a superhero who only wants for good and world peace, it felt wrong to make Chris smoke cigarettes and root through files in the garage for information about his late mother. In this respect, Chris embodies key traits of the protagonists of the main series – notably Chloe’s rebellious nature and Max’s nosiness – and helps to connect the previous protagonists.
Another aspect that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit retains from the series is object hunting. After watching many gamers exasperate over the bottle challenge of Life is Strange, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the hunting aspect of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Overall, I spent approximately two hours playing the game. Now, if I hadn’t gotten stuck trying to find the penultimate item Chris needed for his costume which was hidden in an entirely convoluted and unlit location, then my playtime would have been at least twenty minutes shorter. However, I applaud the game for how rewarding the searching eventually is when we can – begrudgingly – join Chris in his glee at finding items for his superhero costume.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit stands apart from the main games by having a male protagonist. Initially, I had thought I would be unable to connect to Chris to the same extent I had with Max and Chloe previously. Yet, it was through Chris’ play that I was hooked into the story of the game. Chris’ actions with the environment often include pauses to play with the toys he has littered around his house, accurately depicting the short attention span of a play focussed child and making his interactions universally applicable. This replicates the sense of childhood nostalgia present in Life is Strange with Chloe and Max playing pirates as children.
This story rich game was mildly frustrating at times but was ultimately rewarding and a satisfying addition to the canon. As the hard-sought-after elements of Emily’s death are put together, it brings with it a bittersweet sense of closure to the spinoff. Ultimately, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit encapsulates the strengths of the main games of the series with an aura of loss, bittersweet revelations, and ethically questionable puzzle solving.