The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit beautifully blends childlike optimism with a somber reality

I don’t know why I thought The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit wouldn’t give me the feels. Having played both Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, I should have known what a minefield of emotion I was walking into.

But I didn’t.

Like an idiot.

And about 5 minutes in I began to relive a bit of the beautiful sadness that has become a staple of this series.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit introduces you to 10-year-old Chris, his alcoholic father and the life (or lack there of) after the tragic death of his mother.

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While his father sits in a chair, watching sports and drinking beer and whiskey for breakfast, Chris fills his Saturday cleaning the house, playing with toys and wishing his life could go back to the way it was – including having a tree up for Christmas.

The sadness of Chris’ reality is that his father is unable to cope with what’s happened and even though he’s only 10, Chris has taken on the role of caregiver. Washing dishes, cooking dinner, fixing things around the house. Along with the incredibly haunting soundtrack, the air surrounding this game is the lonely, isolating and abusive world that this young boy just tries to cope with as best he can.

And like any child tasked with a bottomless list of chores, Chris turns the monotony into superhero fun – including imaging the broke water heater is a menacing foe he must take down.

Captain Spirit Imagination

The gameplay mechanics are similar to the original game only instead of time bending time like Max, you use the right trigger to conjure up Chris’ imaginary super powers.

Although Captain Spirit is located only in Chris’ house and surrounding yard, you get the freedom to roam around and explore at your own will. There are things to see and do and read in Chris’ small world that give you background that help with character building and will hopefully expand in Life is Strange 2.

But what do you do in Captain Spirit? Well, much like the photos in Life is Strange or Chloe’s graffiti in Before the Storm, you’re given six different challenges. However, the option to complete all six of these tasks is up to you.

With the use of the Unreal Engine too, both gameplay and the look of Captain Spirit are greatly enhanced. The game is very pretty and the interaction with objects was smooth.

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There’s no word on just how big of a role Chris will play in Life is Strange 2 but the game acknowledges that his story will continue. And, I won’t spoil it, but the way Captain Spirit ends, it could be a very interesting story to play out.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is available right now for free on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Episode 1 of the Life is Strange 2 will release on September 27.

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