In The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, the latest installment in the Life is Strange series, developer Dontnod once again taps into a deep and pervasive human emotion: The desire to have superpowers. However, where the first season approaches this feeling from the perspective of a confused teenage girl with the fate of an entire town in her hands, Captain Spirit puts players in the basketball-spotted socks of a 9-year-old boy playing pretend.
Though the protagonist, Chris, is younger than the star of the original series, his problems are just as mature: His mother recently died in a car wreck, and in the aftermath, his dad is having a rough time creating a stable home life. Meanwhile, Chris attempts to escape his new reality by becoming the superpowered Captain Spirit — in his imagination and possibly in the real world, too.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is just a few hours long, and it’s free to download right now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. It isn’t a full episode of Life is Strange 2; instead, it’s more of a teaser for the new story. Still, Dontnod manages to pack a lot of emotion into such a short experience, as discussed by Engadget’s Jessica Conditt and Timothy J. Seppala.
Spoilers for the Life is Strange series, including The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, reside below. You’ve been warned.
Earnest. That’s the word that keeps ringing in my head as I play The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Chris is a school-age boy with bright blue eyes, scruffy blond hair and a smattering of freckles across his nose; he enjoys superheroes, playing with action figures, and helping with chores around the house. He dreams of a better life for his broken family. It’s as if developers at Dontnod set out to create a contemporary version of A Christmas Carol’s Tiny Tim, but with a particular Pacific-Northwest flair. And superpowers, of course.
However, that’s only the surface. As Chris explores his house and the surrounding snow-drenched yard, playing with toys and reading bits of mail, the innocence fades. Chris’ dad has a beer while making breakfast and downs a handle of whiskey before noon, making empty promises to pick out a Christmas tree before the day’s end. Bruises line Chris’ arm and his dad almost apologizes for causing them. Almost.
The spectre of Chris’ mom hangs over the entire house. The first …read more