Publisher: Southpeak Games
Developer: Collision Studios
Release date: Available now
It’s simply common knowledge that what every kid wants to be when he grows up is a shaman. Now, they can all get their chance to call upon the spirits with Brave: A Warrior’s Tale, an action adventure title set in a Native American backdrop. The concept is intriguing, but gameplay always supersedes any of that. The kid friendly appeal masks an experience that no child should have to go through.
In Brave, you guide your young shaman-to-be through the virtues of becoming an adult. Your village is beset by a Windigo, an ancient evil spirit that is up to you to deal with by finding your powerful father, Spiritdancer. In turn, you are sent to many a perilous land to talk to a spirit of the earth who resides there and to do a task for him. Once you defeat the evil that has rifted the area, away you hopscotch to another location to pacify it. With each quest completed you come one step closer to finding your missing dad, and saving your village.
Let it be known, this game is intended for the younger audience. The quests are all relatively straightforward: kill some creatures or fetch items to construct an important artifact. When you’re not swinging your tomahawk or scaling the environment, you will be tracking animal friends to help you with certain tasks. This entails more of the puzzle aspect of the game.
One of the few things Brave has in its favor is an underlying charm. The anthropomorphic animals are neat to watch and listen to when they appear in cinematics, and the same applies when you turn into one with via powers. The places you find yourself in get better as you progress, and are entertaining enough. The action is simple yet satisfying.
The potential this game has, though, is almost completely destroyed by glitchy gameplay. The camera swirls about, over-panning and sticking behind objects at times rather than zooming in on your character. As you run, it doesn’t follow in a convenient manner and often leaves you pushing a button to fix it so that you can see. If that wasn’t enough frustration, the game teeters between being very simplistic to downright ambiguous with what you need to do. You may find yourself relying too heavily on your spirit mentor, rather than figuring out where you need to go on your own. Some parts are simply badly designed. In one instance, you must jump between submerging platforms around a lake of fire, and the timing leaves little room for error with the checkpoint located too far back.
A Warrior’s Tale has squandered its chance by oversights that are glaringly apparent. A gamer indoctrinated in the ways of excusable design flaws will not find it endearing. Younger players who are more naïve will find it too hard and sporadic. In the end it would be better if the spirits were left undisturbed.