The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

milkboys Apps & Games 7 Comments

Captain Spirit stars a young boy named Chris who lives in a small house with his dad. For reasons I won’t spoil, the two live alone; Chris’ mom is out of the picture, and his father is struggling to deal with that. He’s an alcoholic, depressed former basketball star who — at least initially — puts on a good front as a kind, caring parent. But it’s not long before the signs of neglect show.

The game plays out as something of an interactive drama. If you played any of Life is Strange before, or similar series like those from Telltale Games, you’ll feel right at home. Much of the experience is simply walking around and looking at objects and listening to Chris talk about them. There’s also lots of dialogue and player-driven choices. For example, when Chris’ dad has a few too many, you can choose whether to tell him he’s had too much or simply change the subject.

Chris deals with things the way many kids do: with his imagination. The titular Captain Spirit is a superhero Chris created, and when he puts on a Captain Spirit costume, Chris becomes braver and has superpowers that exist only in his mind.

Much of what you’re actually doing in Captain Spirit is mundane household chores. While Chris’ dad becomes progressively inebriated, his son takes out the recycling full of old beer cans, fixes the water heater so he can wash the dishes, and makes his dad something to eat. But these seemingly boring activities are imbued with childhood whimsy. Chris doesn’t microwave some macaroni and cheese, he iridates it using his superpowers. He doesn’t fix the water heater, he has a heart-pounding battle with an evil villain called the Water Eater.

These moments are charming, and they really drive home what a sweet kid Chris is. He’s in a bad situation, but he does his best and tries to have some fun along the way. But there’s a sense of impending dread that builds over the course of the episode, which lasts around an hour. Early on, Chris’ dad promises that the two will go out and buy a real pine Christmas tree as soon as he finishes watching the basketball game. He then proceeds to grab a bottle of whiskey to wash down his beer.

The climax of Captain Spirit isn’t especially surprising — I could feel it coming early on — but I still dreaded it the entire time I played. I found myself stalling for time. I’d check every item in Chris’ treehouse to see if they were significant, and if there was a chore to do around the house, I did it. At one point, I spent 10 minutes laying on a bed listening to Chris’ mom’s old records. This triggered some wistful reminiscing from his dad, and gave me some really great insight into the family and their situation. This also meant that when the big moment did finally hit, it hit especially hard.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is available for free on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Comments 7

  1. *minor spoiler below*

    I found this a couple of days ago on Steam, and when I saw it was free I decided to give it a chance. I’d never played ‘Life is Strange’, but I enjoyed this little game. Many parts of it were evocative of my own childhood, and that sense of wonder of imagination that kids have. Thankfully I never had to deal with some of the darker aspects of this story, and I was shocked to hear the father uttering four-letter words, something my own father won’t do to this day. (I’ve also never heard the man fart, but that’s a discussion for another day)

    As the writeup says, I too spent some time lying on the bed, listening to the mother’s music. In fact, there are two or three times during this adventure when you can just sit and listen to some really good music. This is the type of game that anyone can play, as there is nothing to aim at, and the only real puzzles are figuring out the lock combination and how to unlock the cellphone. I’m going to spoil it for you here, as the password is ridiculous and nearly impossible to surmise otherwise. It’s hawtdawg. I’ll let you figure out the lock combo on your own.

    I highly recommend this little gem.

  2. 😜The last video games I saw were in the 80’s so I know zip all of current ones save for what I’ve seen in the media.
    ~From what I’ve read here this game seems it could have a somewhat beneficial effect on it’s player’s, more so than your average PSA about the same issues this boy has.
    I would hope it would remain free so that maybe it could reach more of it’s target audience, those not having unlimited video game budgets. Not that all classes aren’t familiar with these issues too…
    😊Good find Josh!

  3. Nice. The first post featuring a boy in months. Was waiting for the blog to change name. Josh sure want his followers to starve. :D

    And he’s cute. :3

  4. The awesome adventures of a boy – with a warning that it might not be suitable for children. What a solar system!

  5. This movie shows we’re not in a totally different/new/exciting/reality-based animations/”cartoons” for the “silver screens now.

    The more I see of these types of animations by either us (Caucasians) or Asians (particularly, Japanese), the more I’m thinking movies in the not-so-distant future might not even have a single live, human actor in them, just these wonderful 3-Dimensional replacements. This might take place as soon as we “perfect” the animated mouth/lip/tongue movements in complete sync with whichever language it’s being produced in (or dubbed in).

    The 3-Dimensional aspects of artwork for movies and videos are getting so life-like. Honestly (and slightly embarrassingly), I’ve actually been “fooled” seeing the first few seconds (or even a minute or two) of a couple of super-realistic looking 3-D gay porn videos. They’re getting very, very good in every aspect of human appearances and action.

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