The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit might seem adorable – and it is – but it’s also got a bit of bite to it.
One of the highlights of E3 2018 this year was our cascade of appointments with Square Enix on the first day proper. We had several hours booked solid, in which we bounced from Just Cause 4 to Captain Spirit, and from Captain Spirit to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and from there, we finished with Kingdom Hearts III. It was a timely reminder – in amongst all the zombie games – that video games are diverse and brilliant, and should be for everyone.
Everyone might not include your kids, however, in the case of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.
It seems like an odd warning. The game looks saccharine sweet and features the story of Chris, a 10-year old boy who has adventures and solves problems as his super hero alter ego, Captain Spirit. Why wouldn’t you want to play this one with your kids?
If you’re familiar with the children’s/young adult publishing market, for example, you know the rule of thumb that the age of the protagonist usually gives you a guide to the target age of the reader. Katniss Everdeen is 16 in The Hunger Games. In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murry is 12 years old. And in the Harry Potter series, the subject matter matures as the eponymous protagonist ages throughout the books, from school year 7 (11 years old) through to school leaving age, at 18 years old.
That is not the case in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Admittedly we only saw around 25 minutes of gameplay at E3, but in it Chris’s father – feeling particularly called out by Chris not wanting him to drink beer with breakfast – drops the f-bomb. You probably don’t want your 10-year old repeating that (though thankfully, Captain Spirit doesn’t swear because he is a superhero).
There isn’t an age rating assigned to The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit yet, either – probably a consequence of the haste in which Dontnod sprung it upon us at this year’s E3, prior to the Life is Strange 2 release date reveal.
Some of the themes – of Chris living in his imagination to escape some degree of neglect from his troubled single father – are more mature than the game’s cheery aesthetic seems, too. That’s not to say that children and young people shouldn’t be exposed to serious, mature storylines, but until we’ve played the whole thing (and it’s been given the nod by the ratings people) we’d err on the PG-13/Teen side of caution there, too.
It’s a bit of a shame, as we reckon a Dontnod game, with their solid understanding of the teen movie genre applied to a younger audience and aimed at families, would sell like hotcakes.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is free, on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Watch this space for our review.
More from Thumbsticks
- We’re all worried about Days Gone, right?
- Why do zombie video games refuse to die?
- Telltale developing Stranger Things game, Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix
We have a favour to ask
Thumbsticks has a couple of main aims. We want to write interesting articles and cover games that most outlets won't, and we want to give opportunities to new writers and new voices. And right now, with the current state of online publishing? It's tough! We hate to ask, but if you want us to continue writing what others won't, or to keep covering weird indie games, or to be able to give opportunities to new writers – and only if you can afford it – then please consider supporting us on Patreon.
Recommended for you
Latest from Thumbsticks
Planet Zoo announces North America Animal Pack DLC
We're trying to avoid making jokes about Planet Zoo's beaver. (You have no idea how hard it is right now.)
Ashley Tisdale discusses The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
In a new interview, actor Ashley Tisdale speaks about the experience of making The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes.
Save on great games in the PlayStation Store Big in Japan sale
The latest PlayStation Store sale discounts some excellent PS4 and PS5 games from Japanese developers and publishers.
Surprise! Nintendo announces September 2021 Nintendo Direct
There's a September 2021 Nintendo Direct presentation happening very soon. Nothing like a bit of notice, eh, Nintendo?
Arkane is back with another high-concept shooter. Is Deathloop the studio's next masterpiece, or are we playing the same game...
Godot Engine adds native Arabic text support
It's 2021. It shouldn't be a massive surprise when a game engine like Godot adds proper, out-of-the-box Arabic text support,...
Save up to 90% with this week’s Xbox deals
Here's a quick review of this week's new Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One digital deals.
The Good Life release date and trailer revealed
Swery's small-town detective thriller The Good Life is coming to PC and console next month.