REVIEW: Burly Men at Sea


Burly Men At Sea was made by the independent studio of Brain & Brain, a couple of two inspiring developers. According to their website, they’ve worked on the game while travelling throughout the USA, and funded the development of the game by working part-time for the WWOOF. That to me not only represents the passion that was put into this game, but I’m also sure that these travels served as some sort of inspiration to enrich the creativity of the developers while developing the game. After all, Burly Men at Sea is a game about travelling and adventure.

Steam: Released

Developer: Brain&Brain

Publisher: Brain&Brain

Genre:  Folktale

Release date: 29 September, 2016

Type: Single Player

Burly Men at Sea tells the story of three bearded sailors who set out to experience several folklore tales by adventuring into the Scandinavian sea, during the early period of the twentieth century. Personally, I find it hard to come into that conclusion, given the simplistic illustrations that, to me, evoke more of a medieval setting. Still, I’m a fan of the visuals, and I think that they do a good job in evoking either a spooky setting or a rather more cheerful one. As far as audio goes, the game has some really neat “homemade” sound effects, and by that I mean things you could just do at home using your mouth and a microphone. On the other hand, even though when I’m playing the game I like the tune of the music playing on the background, outside of the game I can’t really recall how it is. I’m not saying it’s not good, just that is not memorable.

The game is designed from the ground up to be played through multiple times. As soon you finish the game for the first time, which in my experience doesn’t take much more than half an hour, you’ll realize how everything works and how cohesive it feels. Each playthrough, or adventure if you prefer, is not necessarily going to be different from the previous ones but the story of each one of them is intertwined. Characters which you’ve met in previous adventures will remember you and what you did. In that sense, the entire game is based on a branching storyline system which makes up for nonlinear gameplay. Exploring each and every single one of the options available to you is what’s going to give you the full experience. In the end, that’s what’s going to make you determine if you found the game to be worth playing and exploring.

I only have two complaints about the game, both which I’d hope were easy to implement. The first one is the fact that there is no saving option, meaning once you start a playthrough you have to finish it, unless you don’t mind losing your progress that is. The other complaint I have is about the controls. Straight up, the game treats your mouse like if it was a touch screen, meaning you have to click and drag to the edge of the screen in order to move either to the right or left and click on a person/object you want to interact with. Having the ability to click wherever you’d want to go would be a lot easier, at least for me.

To sum things up, I’m sure Burly Men at Sea will please a lot of people, but it will also leave others craving for something extra. What it does, it does pretty well but I feel that for most people that just might not be enough to justify buying this game at full price. If I was going to talk about the actual story and encounters, that’d be spoiling the real content of the game and there would be no reason for you to play this. With that in mind, if you feel like you’d enjoy interacting with the same characters while you react differently to them, retracing your steps and looking for other routes while searching for anything that you might have missed in a previous adventure, or if you’re just into the cute looking visuals or Scandinavian folklore, you should probably keep an eye on this one.

RATING: 75/100

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November 2016

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