Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World

Posted by Jenny Rouse.
First posted on 27 November 2010. Last updated on 27 November 2010.
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Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World
Brawe is a hero for the ages.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World
Sarcasm is a trait of Brawe.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World
Breaking the law bears some harsh consequences.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World
Brawe is an intrepid explorer.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World
Brawe and company explore the snowy terrain.

Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World (also known as Petar Ivanček's Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World) is a traditional point-and-click adventure game set in an alternate sci-fi future à la Star Trek, where mankind has conquered space and yet the weapons at their disposal are horribly outdated and hokey. Given these trappings, it is easy for the game to slip into a clichéd niche; fortunately, Croatian indie developer Cateia Games has done a fine job in keeping it fresh, funny, and interesting.

The game tells the story of the titular Kaptain Brawe, a naïve but well-meaning space captain and adventurer who simply wishes to help the downtrodden from any injustice the universe has to offer. With the eventual assistance of the beautiful and intelligent Space Agent Luna Zero and Krebb turncoat Danny, as well as his wooden robot named Row Boat, Brawe must save the universe from an evil Krebbian takeover (as well as the mysterious assassin named SHE) and protect a couple of the smartest scientists in the galaxy. The story itself is fairly standard sci-fi fare (with obvious homage to Star Trek), but the inherent quirks of the main characters makes playing the game fun and worthwhile. Further, the game feels and plays like LucasArts' classic adventure games—cartoonish graphics formulating a familiar but unique world mixed in with laughably ridiculous, but rarely overtaxing, puzzles.

Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World is an old school adventure game in every sense of the word. The story stays interesting from beginning to end, the mechanics are easy to pick up, and the characters (both main and supporting) are varied enough to feel fun and fresh. While the dialog may not be knee slapping funny, it is still humorous and provides at least a few chuckles throughout the progression of the game. The inclusion of 3 playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, is an especially nice touch. The puzzles are generally great, and most of them do not require a great deal of thinking.

The game can be played at either Casual or Hardcore difficulty setting. The only difference is the presence of an in-game tiered hint system. Unfortunately, the hint system often fails to offer help to puzzles when help is most needed—some puzzles are too elaborate or complex, and generally those are the puzzles that do not actually have accessible hints (such as restoring power on one of the planets). In addition, other puzzles require inventory that is not evident in the environment—for example, a branch hidden in a mass of trees is needed but never seen, or a nest of eggs is sometimes blocked by the game's controls.

The music, while certainly a nice addition that adds to the overall ambience, is completely forgettable once the game is finished. Further, the lack of voiceovers may be a turn off for some gamers. The overall English localization and translation of the game is handled fairly well, except for several phrases and words (mostly idioms, but some actual misspellings) that draw quite a bit of attention to the fact that English is not the developer's native language—a presence which makes the humor of the intentional misspellings fall flat in the game (Brawe is a notoriously bad speller). It is momentarily jarring enough to take the players out of the game; thankfully, it is just as easy to slip back into the world of Brawe.

My largest criticism, however, is that for as much as the developer has aimed to build an engrossing story and world, the characters in this game are alarmingly one-dimensional. Each character has a quirk to humanize them (for example, Brawe tends to leap before looking). However, their backstories are rarely explained in the game. The players are never given a particular reason to fear the bad guys, other than the fact that Brawe does not care much for them. Danny is never given much motivation to fight against the Krebbs. Even the intelligent Luna lacks depth, existing as either bait or a third pair of hands.

Despite its flaws, Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World is still a very solid play, with pleasing graphics and a humorous script. The animation is smooth. The gameplay is easy without being utterly simplistic. Cateia Games has clearly put a lot of love and effort into the development of this game, and that love and effort shine through brilliantly. The game provides enough of a challenge to satisfy old school fans of point-and-click adventure games, but it is helpful enough to assist newcomers to allow them to enjoy the story that the game has to tell.

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