Low on traditional gameplay but high on story and charm, Burly Men at Sea is an interactive tale that we’re reviewing on the Playstation Vita.
I found Burly Men at Sea actually somewhat similar to another Vita title I recently looked at: It’s Spring Again by Sometimes You. Of course that’s a children’s title and as such geared to a completely different audience, but it’s visual and auditory charm is just as enchanting as Brain&Brain’s little game about three bearded gentlemen who weave their way through several possible storylines all relating to Scandinavian folklore.
Gameplay, just as in It’s Spring Again, is limited – with the narrative element coming first and your main way of interacting with it being a few multiple choice moments along the way. A full playthrough is surprisingly short, but that works well for a system like the Vita and you always have some replay value due to the branching storylines that the game uses – each route through the adventure resulting in a different story.
Of course, the more you replay the game, the less it holds your attention as you see more and more repetition. Of course this holds true for any game, but in this case the game’s short length becomes a consideration when you look at the price tag for the game. Price-conscious gamers might want to hold off until a sale hits.
Disregarding the long term replay value (because in the short term, it’s a lot of fun to see the different directions the story can take), Burly Men at Sea is a wonderfully charming, almost fairytale-like adventure tale. The handmade animations give the game a storybook-like aesthetic as well, which adds to the atmosphere. A lot of the story elements come straight from Scandinavian folklore, and for people like me (who have zero knowledge of such things) Burly Men becomes an interesting look at another culture’s history and traditions.
Burly Men at Sea is a relaxing and audiovisually pleasing indie adventure that tells a grand tale on a small scale. The writing is of a high quality and as an interactive story it’s hard to fault it except for its short length. It’s an asset for those who enjoy shorter play sessions on their Vita, but others might expect more for their 10 dollars/euros.