The Burly Men at Sea | PS4 Review.

Monday 3 December 2018


Publisher: Brain&Brain/ Plug in Digital
Developer: Brain&Brain
PS4 Review

This year I've been enjoying the PS Plus games, it's helped me discover games I would have never played before and Burly Men at Sea was one of them, a few of my friends had told me it was one of the easiest games to platinum so I thought I may as well give it a go and they weren't wrong it was a pretty easy game, from the get-go you notice how simplistic and aesthetically pleasing the artwork is and as someone who enjoys games like that I got into the swing of playing it pretty quickly. Burly Men at Sea is centered around 3 main characters who all set out on the same adventure together, the game doesn't explain much but repeats itself a lot of the time which some people may find irritating, the reason for this is because the game as 12 different endings, these 12 endings help you get the 12 maps for the bookshelf. 
The 3 bearded brothers come across the first map in a bottle and decided to follow it and see where it takes them, due to how simplistic the game is we often see partial bits of land and sea which helps the focus stay on the 3 bearded brothers and the journey they have taken on, each playthrough of the game was very short but I managed to get nearly every single achievement from the 12 playthroughs but I quickly realised I had repeated 2 of the same paths in the game and had missed out one of the books, at this point I looked up a youtube playthrough and found out which one it was quickly.

There are two maps which require you typing up the Kraken's tentacles and I had only done this once, I found this the hardest part of the game because the Kraken grabbed hold of all 3 men and dragged them into the sea before I worked out how to tie the tentacles the first time but once you know how to do it, it's pretty straightforward. Once you complete a map you're taken back to the land where you started out and your boat is back in the dock even after losing it numerous times along the way and surprisingly the 3 men never minded going on the journey's over and over again. As the player, you have control of all 3 of the men and can stretch out the screen using the analog sticks in order to see more of the environment around you although there isn't much of it.

It will take some people more than 12 playthroughs of the game without looking at a tutorial as you guess which move you make next, for example, once the men set off on their journey they're always eaten by a whale, once inside they can choose to speak to the sea nymphs around the campfire and wait till the whale lets them out or burn the whales tonsils making him squirt them out of his blowhole with either barrel around them or not but by doing this they leave behind their boat and will have to find other ways to make their journey across the ocean to complete the map, I liked this element as it meant we got to meet different people and creatures along the way and even though the game is repetitive it gave each new journey you discover has a different scenario that's very similar to others.

As I said there are a number of different characters to discover each as unique as the rest, in the whale you meet the sea Nymphs, the ones we get to meet seem to just want us to sit and wait with them and do as they say although they seem pretty laid back, the whale that all of them are in seems more like a mode of transport and tells people when they need to get off, of course, I didn't discover this until the second time I played the game, I just assumed it was a bad situation the men had to try and get out of before being digested. There was one character that interested me a lot and that was the Draug from what I have read is from folk law sailors who came across him would have to race him in order to win their life as he acted as a grim reaper of the sea and this is exactly what the men had to do in the game!

I absolutely love that the game is based on Norwegian folk tales and that they have given their own spin on it, once I read more on it I realised why each character fit perfectly and how they brought folk tales to life within the game for instance, the 3 men always come across a sea serpent who speaks some very wise words to them, the serpent is called Sjøorm and is very beautiful but is meant to be terrifying but this one is far from that in fact whenever the men came across it I knew they were safe and about to reach the town they started off in.

The game is packed full of different creatures from folk law Nyphms, Draug, and Sjøorm, you will also come across Mermaids, Selkies which are sea lions that are able to take on human form, Fossegrim who is a bearded man you can find behind the waterfall, a very sweet troll who the 3 bearded men are terrified of. Wisps of light which guide the 3 men to safety and a very moody Kraken who does as he is told when his tentacles are tied up also very two and mysteries things that I came across are the Leviathan and maelstrom, both very dangerous and want to drag the men into the depths of the ocean, I think because it includes so many dangers to the men it makes it that much more interesting especially with the folk law tales that go with them.

The music gave the game character and made it fun, it set the scene for a sea adventure and went perfectly with the cute artwork, whilst listening to the soundtrack I couldn't help but think how nicely some of it would fit into Ni No Kuni 2 in the Hydropolis, it's just such a pleasant soundtrack to listen and imagine enjoying your time at sea and in the sun. Brain&Brain who developed Burly Men at Sea has a very particular art style which is also shown in another game of theirs called Doggins, their simplistic but cute designs help the focus stay on the main characters in the game and what they are doing rather than what may be going on in the background, they also developed a book version of the game Burly Men at Sea which is perfect for reading to kids, it has the same artwork with a gorgeous hardback cover but you can also get the digital version of it too so not only gamers can experience the folk tale but so can budding little readers!

Overall I give this game 4/5, I would have liked the option to explore the town a little after collecting all 12 books instead of going on another boat journey, you're able to enter 3 places in all in the town but other than that there isn't much to see, the folktales behind the game is what made the game most interesting for me and it was executed beautifully with the artwork and soundtrack.


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