One of the biggest surprises at E3 2018 was at the Microsoft Xbox E3 briefing. Square-Enix and Dontnod Entertainment came on screen to reveal a new game in the Life is Strange universe. No, this isn’t Life is Strange 2, but rather a side game that gives players hints at what that game might be like. That game is The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a brand new adventure starring a young boy and his powerful imagination. Not only would it setup the foundation for Life is Strange 2, but it would also be absolutely free. Square-Enix invited us at GotGame to check out a demo presentation from developers at Dontnod.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit stars a ten year-old boy named Chris. On the surface, Chris doesn’t seem to have any relation to any characters from the other Life is Strange games, but as players play the game, they’ll soon discover more connections. In our demo, the most notable connection was that Chris’ deceased mother was a student and supportive contributor to Blackwell Academy, the school from Life is Strange and its prequel, Before the Storm. There is most likely more references scattered throughout the game, but with our demo, the narrative was the focus.
Imagination seems to be the main theme with The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, as Chris demonstrates within almost every scene. The opening of the game has him pretending to use his mind to make a toy rocket levitate, only for the camera to pan and show his hand holding it up. It’s clever, but a bit on the predictable side. Don’t worry though, that’s entirely intentional, as Captain Spirit delves deeper into the voids of imagination. It uses the Unreal Engine 4, which is the upgrade to the engine the first game used, so players can expect a bit more visual polish.
Like other Life is Strange games, Captain Spirit allows players to make choices to determine the way the narrative plays out. The first thing players will be able to do is pick a costume for Chris’ superhero persona, Captain Spirit. It’s a Saturday morning and Chris, like a normal ten year-old, just wants something to do. As his dad, Charles, calls him for breakfast, we get to see just how much Chris’ imagination influences those around him. His father seems to be used to it, and surprisingly he plays along with it in many situations. It’s nice to see a supportive father to a child with an active imagination, feeling very reminiscent to Chloe’s father. That isn’t to say he’s perfect, as he still seems to have a light drinking problem and he has no problem dropping f-bombs in front of his son.
Controlling Chris during his morning routine is supposed to offer a couple hours of gameplay according to Dontnod. It seems like that may be all story, as looking at the game shows a lot of objects to interact with. It seems almost like more interactions in a single room than any Life is Strange game before. Looking at his map, he can take on various missions, like defeating the evil Snowmancer (a snowman out in the yard), or taking on the “Water Eater” (a literal water heater). Before taking on these tasks, the main task is to gather materials for Captain Spirit’s costume. It’s with the courage of Captain Spirit that Chris can take on the challenges of his Saturday morning.
Things take a turn for the stranger when Chris goes on these various missions. When going into the basement to fight the Water Eater, the environment grows darker and the water heater takes on a more sinister form. It’s not yet known if there’s any sort of threat in these sequences, but it’s great to see how vivid Chris’ imagination can be. Supposedly, this is how most of Captain Spirit’s missions will go, and performing them all should unlock more story secrets.
Upon gathering the materials for the Captain Spirit costume, Chris pictures his transformation like some sort of Saturday morning cartoon. His armor glows and applies itself piece by piece, making for a nifty little sequence to an adventurous theme. The music in the game is overall very uplifting and can make for a relaxing experience. That isn’t to say that the game doesn’t have it’s darker moments, but overall, Captain Spirit looks like a fun time.
It’s hard to say exactly how much Life is Strange 2 content is in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Regardless, even if you’ve never played the first game and are just a fan of adventure games, Captain Spirit looks to be a great freebie. It’s filled with childhood wonder and seems to show us what it’s like to be a kid again. Everyone can look forward to The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit when it launches for free on June 26th, 2018 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. We’ll have a review for the game sometime next week as well!