Dontnod owes a lot to the fans who helped Life is Strange’s popularity skyrocket. The adventure game launched in 2015 and quickly grew a dedicated following. Today, fans are eagerly anticipating Life is Strange 2, though it won’t be out for some time. In a surprise announcement, the developer revealed that they’d be launching a side story within the Life is Strange universe for free as a gift to fans. We got a chance to check out The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit to see what Dontnod has in store for fans.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is set three years after the events of Life is Strange and follows Chris, a ten-year-old boy. Lonely but creative, Chris invents the persona of Captain Spirit who players help by designing the costume, taking on missions, and saving the universe.
The demo picks up within Chris’ room with players helping him choose his costume before being called down for breakfast. Playing up the superhero theme, all interactions with objects play as if Chris has powers. For example, turning a doorknob has Chris reach out his hand and making noises as if he’s performing telekinesis until the door opens. While we know he doesn’t have powers, scenes like this capture the charm of a child’s imagination, which Chris needs considering all that’s going on in his life.
Heading to breakfast, we meet up with Chris’ father, Charles, who appears to suffer from depression. Though it’s clear he loves Chris, Charles hasn’t gotten over the loss of Chris’ mother and fills his time by watching sports and drinking beer. Still, after a heartfelt talk with Chris, he agrees to take him out once the basketball game is over. This is where the game opens up its activities to the player.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit takes about two hours to beat as Chris waits for his father to finish. During that time, players are free to explore the house and surrounding land, play with toys, or complete missions that see Chris exploring unknown planets, finding treasure, or fixing the water heater. Each mission injects Chris’ creativity into it to give it a unique spin. For example, the water heater turns into the water eater, a dark beast obsessed with consuming all the hot water in the house.
Though short, Captain Spirit is built to be replayable. In addition to choices and dialogue options, the two-hour time limit means that you may not see everything on your first run. There are multiple branching endings to see, and plenty of Life is Strange references to discover. In fact, Captain Spirit is heavily linked with the upcoming Life is Strange 2 with events here impacting the sequel. How they will remains a mystery for now.
Captain Spirit easily fits into the established Life is Strange universe despite running on a new engine. The move from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 4 allowed the team to develop new facial and physics animation systems that make the game look and feel more realistic without abandoning the unique art style of the franchise. The game looks great in motion.
There’s no denying that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is filled with charm and heart. The brief time in Chris’ shoes is exciting, heartfelt and wondrous. This is truly the perfect gift for fans and a great entry point for those who have yet to experience the Life is Strange universe. Though the wait for Life is Strange 2 remains agonizing, it’s nice to know we have The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit to get us ready.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is out June 26 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. The game is free for everyone.