The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit may not be particularly adventurous, per se, but it has heart on its side. This free Life is Strange prequel episode centers on the relationship between a wonderfully imaginative boy and his emotionally withdrawn father, but for all the depth and humanity of its storytelling it lacks enough tough challenges or meaningful decisions to make participating feel exciting.
Dontnod’s two-hour game revolves around an innocently charming nine-year-old named Chris Erikson and his imaginary alter ego Captain Spirit as he copes with the death of his mother. The father-son dynamic is the emotional center of the story and certainly succeeded at moving me; Chris’ father, Charles, clings to his basketball glory days and his beer and vents his sadness by yelling at Chris and leaving fist-sized dents in doors. (I happened to play Awesome Adventures soon after completing Detroit: Become Human, and the similar elements have me slightly concerned that “dads with substance abuse problems who scream at their children” is a troubling new gaming subgenre.) Though the story isn’t notably innovative, it’s engaging enough that I was never bored.