HEY GUYS! Do you like games where you play as a 9 year old boy who uses his imagination to cope with loss and abuse? Well, hot diggity daffodil there’s just the thing for you! The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is currently absolutely free on Steam, PS store, and the Xbox marketplace and though it is labelled as a demo, it acts as more as a prologue to the upcoming Life is Strange 2 which is due for a September release and gives us a great insight not only to our new Main Character Chris but also a tiny sneak peek of what his purpose will be in the forthcoming game. That aside, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is an hour long emotional journey through the eyes of a 9 year old boy dealing with things a young boy shouldn’t, in the most fanciful way, so much so it is almost impossible not to pull on your heartstrings.

The Awesome Adventures puts you in the mind of Chris Eriksen. A boy living in Beaver Creek, Oregon with his deadbeat, alcoholic and somewhat abusive Father. Chris is dealing with the loss of his mother in a hit and run accident. To deal with his grief and strained relationship with his father he finds solace within his imagination, and the escapades of a fictional hero of his own creation; Captain Spirit and the amazing things he can do on a snowy Saturday morning. This is one of the games where the world is your oyster but with exploration, the people around you and more of the backstory becomes clearer and its with these discoveries where this title gets its expressive sensations and its feeling of accomplishment when you learn or find something new, even if you uncover something that will break your heart. Captain Spirit is also chock full of symbolism (just wait until you find out where our hero came up with his arch nemesis’ name, seriously!) and even nods to previous titles within this particular mythos that will be hard to satisfy fans of Life is Strange. All of this culminates into an ending that not only gives a vague picture of this anticipated sequel but leaves you longing to learn more, even if it is executed like whimper rather than a bang.

Captain Spirit takes the signature art style that DONTNOD has solidified with the LIS franchise and manages to improve on the fabulously picturesque sights and people in this world, thanks to the Unreal 4 engine the surroundings and characters look absolutely Pixar quality and this hour-long story ended up being a hell of a lot longer as I traversed this beautiful set piece. With almost all this game taking place at Chris’ house, the developers did a great job crafting it and making the snow that engulfs it looks crisp, pure and gives the feeling of joy that time of year brings when I was that age. Though a large majority of the game culminates in one location, Chris’ mind’s eye takes us to places far beyond the reaches of reality. From a dark void where he vanquishes an evil water heater (or the boiler room if you like) or taking his rocket ship (his drunk dad’s car) to a distant planet, home of the evil Mantroid! Its this sense of childhood wonderment that the creators captured that hit home with me and quite possibly many others that give this prologue a try. Also like the other Life is Strange titles, they have well and truly knocked it out of the park with the music. Sufjan Steven’s ‘Death and Dignity’, Rone’s ‘Parade’ and especially Bat for Lashes’ ‘Moon and Moon’ all serve their purpose magnificently and only add to the emotional bearing of this short story, one of my favourite aspects of this franchise is discovering new music from it and Captain Spirit definitely didn’t disappoint here, these songs will be on repeat on my Spotify account for sure.

Gameplay! It’s where these awesome adventures tumble I’m sad to say. Despite its effectively melancholy narrative and stylish visuals, mechanically, this title is a series of fetch quests, toing and froing and a couple puzzles. Much like previous ventures, dialogue trees are there but don’t have as much prominence in this affair but much like Life is Strange and Before the Storm, Captain Spirit has its own quirk, with ‘Captain Spirit’s’ using his powers with a push of a button when prompted (this includes blowing up a dastardly snowman with his mind……..or with firecrackers).