Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle
First posted on 15 April 2015. Last updated on 15 April 2015.
Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle is an adventure game developed by Wizarbox and published by Reef Entertainment. Written by veteran game designer Steve Ince, the game is a spinoff of Wizarbox's So Blonde (released in 2008) but does not require players to have played the previous title to enjoy this game.
Set in the 17th century Caribbean, players take control of the titular Captain Morgane Castillo, an up-and-coming pirate captain, as she tries to track down her relative Uncle Edwardo (presumed lost at sea) and the legendary treasure of the Golden Turtle.
Players are first introduced to Morgane as an 8-year-old child whose father is always away at sea. After completing some chores for her mother Bonita (a section of the game that serves mainly as a tutorial to introduce novice players to the game's traditional point-and-click interface), Morgane sets out to deal with the Bounty Island bully Arno. From the outset, Morgane is portrayed as a headstrong individual who is nobody's fool, very much an independent tomboy in a man's world.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Morgane grows up to be a pirate just like her father. Sadly, after the death of her mother, along with the loss of her uncle at sea, her father Captain Alessandro is now a broken man. Unable to return to the family home due to the painful memories that reside there, he spends most of his time confined to his ship The Winsome Maid. When a rich merchant named Thomas Briscoe approaches the Castillo clan asking for help in his quest to track down the fabled lost treasure of the Golden Turtle, it is left to Morgane to become acting ship captain and travel across both sea and land, furthering her own quest and bringing her a step closer to victory. She ends up following closely in the footsteps of Buckleberry Tanner, a famed but now dead explorer, in a hunt for clues to recover this lost treasure.
Sailing between the 5 islands that are available to explore in the game, Morgane meets a cast of colorful characters, collects clues and items, solves puzzles, and tackles various mini-games. These mini-games are by far the weakest part of the game—they do not add much to the overall experience and, although they can be skipped if so desired, their inclusion feels unnecessary. Thankfully, they do not crop up often enough to detract the main quest. The game offers a pleasing mixture of inventory and dialog based puzzles. These puzzles are for the most part logical and congruent to the context of the story.
Although the game is never too taxing, it can be easy to become stuck at certain times because the game does not always clearly signpost what players need to be doing next. There is a journal that lays out the current objectives, but the hints given often involve talking again to a character that has already been interrogated or interacting with an item previously thought to be useless, without any clear reason why this is now the case. When this happens, there is little else to do but methodically point and click every available hotspot on screen. At times, there are also not enough cues in the dialogs to nudge players in the right direction. Fortunately, this disconnect does not occur frequent enough to ruin the game's otherwise gentle overall difficulty.
The 2D background scenes look gorgeous. Although they are mostly static, strong art design and shading lends a 3D effect to them. By comparison, the 3D character models are far more basic. While they blend quite well with the backgrounds, their animations are very rough. When conversing with other characters, for example, Morgane gestures over and over again with her arms and her mouth moves even if she is not speaking. Other characters suffer the same animation faux pas. Thankfully, these dialog scenes are accompanied by close-up character portraits at the bottom of the screen that allow a wider range of emotions to be conveyed. The cut scenes are shown in a pleasing 2D comic book style reminiscent of Wizarbox's Gray Matter.
The voice acting is strong, if not a little devoid of emotion at times. Morgane, in particular, sounds wonderful with her Spanish accent (the publisher had originally cast a different voice actor for the role but decided later to recast the role for a more authentic voice). The script is well written and family friendly, whilst still throwing in a few mildly risqué jokes for an older audience. The story is fairly involving, but without much in the way of twists or turns—with the exception of an admittedly hilarious twist near the end—and much of what occurs is on the nose and by the numbers. The music, though not very memorable, is pleasant enough and fits the mood of the game well.
Overall, Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle is a charming adventure game with well written dialog despite a somewhat generic pirate story setting. The game's family friendly humor is best enjoyed by younger gamers. The game offers over 10 hours of gameplay—just be prepared for a rather abrupt ending along with some puzzles that may disappoint some veteran adventure fans.