Do you remember the old text-based role-playing games? Where you looked around the scene, picked up seemingly unrelated objects and used them to solve a puzzle? Or maybe you grew up helping Guybrush Threepwood through his adventures in the Tales of Monkey Island. Well, Kaptain Brawe leaps right smack bang into the middle of that genre.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World HD by Cateia Games has finally been published by G5 Entertainment for the iPad. The game begins by introducing the setting. The breakthrough in space exploration happened in 1812 — Victorian England with the Ion polar drive. So yes, this is a bit of a steampunk adventure with the most interesting blend of historical objects such as the huge gramophone horn and Victorian furniture with ray guns and wooden spaceships. In the game, intrepid Kaptain Brawe of the Space Police, along with his trusty ensign, eradicates Kribbs (space pirates) and rescues travelers in trouble. Kaptain Brawe is one of those marvelous characters: He takes pride in his duty to protect space travelers and uphold the law. He’s a little naïve, a little bumbling, but always means his best. Together with his long-suffering ensign Kralek (who is the real brains behind Brawe’s brawn) who remains on the ship and subtly makes fun of Brawe’s special brand of inaptness, Brawe starts up Rowboat the robot, fires up the locators and takes off on their first adventure.
First, you must find the manual for Rowboat, which turns out to be written in French, so you have to translate it using the translator, but the translator is broken, so you have to fix it. When you find the locators, you’ll find that one of them is missing an antenna, so you have to rig one out of some silicone (which, by the way, is hard as a rock) and some copper tubing ... and that’s the short description.
On the iPad, all the action is tap, tap and drag or double tap. A blend between old-school RPG and a hidden-object game, Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World HD is a lovely a blend of genteel Victorian sensibilities and futuristic space-age adventure as seen in the graphics and text conversation. The graphics are a treat to the eye with subtle glows of color and gorgeous details. The backgrounds and areas that Brawe enters are varied, each with their own distinct character. The character animation is so smooth, you think you are watching a cartoon. The only thing lacking is voice, but sounds and music are still top-notch. Background music isn’t incessant but does fade out and other themes introduced when you approach different areas, meet different characters or do different actions. Remember the old cartoons when you know the villain is approaching because of the music? Such musical themes are present in this game as well.
The tutorial is short, sweet and repeatable in case you missed something (especially useful for younger kids) but also sets up the relationship between Brawe and Kralek. Kralek doesn’t think a whole lot of his superior, who of course doesn’t notice at all. On the one hand, Kralek supports Brawe, but on the other sabotages him subtly, and this interaction brings on the smiles of amusement. There isn’t any outright slapstick, but the humor runs through the game. There are several levels/adventures in the game, and you will meet several colorful characters along the way. Some of the puzzles are straightforward, but some are certainly head scratchers. The Internet savvy can find “cheat sheets” for Kaptain Brawe if need be.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World HD is a brilliant old-school sci-fi space adventure game wrapped up in Victorian trappings. It presents the best elements of the genre with strong characters, great scripting, humor, excellent sound, music and challenging puzzles. The only question is ... Hardcore or Casual mode?
The first level is a free demo; to unlock the rest, it's $4.99 for iPhone/iPod touch and $6.99 for the iPad.