Captain Spirit - Credit: DONTNOD Entertainment and Square Enix, 2018
It’s Saturday morning and amidst a cornucopia of colorful toys and comic books, nine-year-old Chris sits at his desk doodling. Should his superhero alter ego Captain Spirit have a mask or helmet? Light armor or heavy? As a player, you get to help the young boy decide.
Captain Spirit follows Chris on his Saturday morning. He lives with his dad Charles in the fictional town of Beaver Creek, Oregon; the outside of their house a winter wonderland covered in white powdery snow.
Chris is excited for Christmas and hopes to use the Saturday to go out and get a real pine tree to decorate; he, unfortunately, has to wait until after his dad finishes watching the big basketball game on TV. With time to kill Chris decides to go on adventures as Captain Spirit, the ultimate hero, and doer of good.
The Characters & Performances
Like Life is Strange DONTNOD touches on serious social topics in Captain Spirit.
Charles sits in his chair watching the game with a bottle of alcohol at his side. While playing we learn Charles not only struggles with alcohol abuse but has been abusive to Chris. Charles’ interactions with Chris can come across as loving and sincere one moment then scary and threatening the next due to a multifaceted performance from voice actor Nick Apostolides. There’s a looming anxiety that hangs over the demo experience due to this.
The shining star of the demo is Chris, who acts as a beacon of light through its darker aspects. Voice actor Chandler Mantione infuses Chris with such a youthful sincerity that makes feeling attached to him as a player instantaneous.
He is not only a caring child but one with an unending wealth of creativity. Whether playing with action figures or reminiscing about the past Chris is a compelling protagonist; he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the previously well-written characters in the Life is Strange series.
Those familiar with Life is Strange or other adventure narrative games will be comfortable with Captain Spirit’s gameplay. Chris can interact with and observe a variety of items, from letters to book covers, in and around his house. Some items help flesh out the backstory of Chris and his father, while others help complete an objective in the demo.
As with Life is Strange you can also make choices, choices that define Chris’ relationship with his surroundings and other characters. This can be through multiple dialogue options, such when Chris talks to his dad or making choices as to how Captain Spirit responds to a situation.
At any time Chris can open up his handy-dandy objective list to see the various adventures he can complete; DONTNOD’s attention to detail can be seen here naming the list “MY AWESOME THINGS TO DO,” showcasing Chris’ youthful spirit.
What’s fun about completing these objectives is how quickly they go from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Turning on a scary water heater turns into a battle against the evil Water Eater; playing with a snowman quickly turns into a western showdown. These scenarios truly put you in the head of a kid and allow you to see just how creative Chris is.
The Final Verdict
Captain Spirit takes you back to a time where your imagination made nothing feel impossible. Classified as a demo, the free experience satisfies offering potentially a few hours of content to invest in. Though acting as a link to Life is Strange2, Captain Spirit is easily accessible to both old and new series fans.
With strong writing and world building, Captain Spirit impresses with its protagonist; Chris truly is a well-realized hero with or without the cape. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC (Steam).