What better way to build up hype for an upcoming sequel than by launching a “mini game” interlude. That’s almost what Square Enix and developers DONTNOD Entertainment, but that would be an unfair characterization of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Set in the world of Life is Strange and promised to have ties with Life is Strange 2, the game is pretty much like a demo in length and complexity but hits upon themes that make it worthy of being a standalone masterpiece.
The eponymous Captain Spirit is the alter ego of 10-year old Chris Eriksen who lives in a rundown house with his alcoholic father Charles. But unlike the superheroes of popular fiction these days, Captain Spirit is purely in Chris’ head. Chris uses his imagination and adventurous spirit to transform a normal Saturday morning into an awesome adventure.
One can probably say that Captain Spirit is the boy’s coping mechanism for a world that would depress anyone, child or not. The hero character is, in a way, also the boy’s flaw, keeping him safe but blind to the harsh realities of his life. There is a sense of innocence and naiveté in how Chris sees and treats his father, despite the latter’s indifference and contempt for his son.
Gameplay-wise, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is pretty much like a typical point-and-click Adventure Game, with puzzles to solve and bad guys in the form of chores and snowmen. The game is short, taking place in only one location (their house) and one day. It’s definitely demo-like in structure, which is probably why it’s being offered for free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
So how does it tie into Life is Strange 2? That is, of course the mystery. While Max in the first game had the power to rewind time, Chris’ “powers” area immediately explained away by hidden remote controls or a vivid imagination. Of course, that could also be the sleight of hand there, which we’ll find out once and for all when Life is Strange 2 launches in September.