Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle – What We Think:
Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle by WizarBox is a story driven point-and-click adventure game. Since the pirate themed Monkey Island games popularized the genre, it’s hard not to see the similarities, but instead of copying popular adventure games, it tries to mix things up by adding new ideas to a familiar genre.
Morgane Castillo wants nothing more than to be a pirate, taking after her infamous pirate father Alessandro. Early in the game you find out while sailing through a harsh storm, Alessandro lost a dear friend of the family known as Uncle Eduardo. The game then flashes forward as you now play an 18-year-old Morgane. A lot has happened since then, as you learn that Morgane’s mother died suddenly when Morgane was a child and that Uncle Eduardo might still be alive. Not coming to terms with his wife’s untimely demise, Alessandro now travels with Morgane, living as pirates. You then meet a man by the name of Thomas Briscoe, who is looking to charter a ship in order to help find the fabled Golden Turtle.
Errand Girl of the High Seas
The story moves along as you go from island to island, finding more clues about the Golden Turtle and the missing Uncle Eduardo. Besides a couple of interesting moments in the game, the overall plot is lacking. The game doesn’t make a good case as to why the Golden Turtle is something worth seeking out. By the end of the game, (most of the game involves favors for more favors or tasks in exchange of information) the plot fails to pay off. You hardly feel like a pirate most of the time as characters will assign you tasks that don’t feel all that pirate-y.
At one point you need one of your crew members to write something on a piece of paper. So you have to fetch the paper and ink. Coincidentally the ink bottle is empty, so you have to give an inn keeper an octopus so she can remove the ink sac. Then you can give your crew member the items. The game is plagued with menial tasks like these, countless favors for favors in return. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with the tasks you undertake in this game, none of them are particularly interesting or fun to carry out.
The more interesting aspects of the narrative are more character driven. One point in the game you help your father come to terms with the fact that his wife is gone, and help him accept it. I felt like anytime the plot focused on Morgane or her father, it got a lot more interesting. The fact that Morgane is such a good protagonist has to do a lot with the enjoyment I got out of this game. Morgane is a headstrong, confident, likable protagonist. I often wished the story was more engrossing, since playing as Morgane was a treat. It’s not often we get games with good female protagonists, and it was refreshing to see.
Right clicking brings up your inventory, as items can be dragged and dropped into the environment or onto characters. The mechanics feel simplistic and intuitive. Pressing on the space bar highlights everything you can interact with within a given area, a nice touch that we are seeing more frequently in contemporary adventure titles. This hint system makes the game a lot easier since most of the things you can interact with are important to progressing the plot forward. The game doesn’t have many interactive items in its environment that are just there to create ambiance, and as a result is quite linear.
Once in a while the game will throw out some puzzles or mini games you need to complete in order to progress. These mini games are not very good and they can all be skipped if you just click on cheat at the start of them. They are supposed to mix up the gameplay, but they end up feeling like odd clunky additions, mere speedbumps than learned-logic gatekeepers. Mini games will also feature a different, cutesy, more simplistic art style, which leads to another issue.
A Blinding Flash
The art style of Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle is inconsistent. The character models look okay as the hand drawn 2D backgrounds are what really stick out and look great. What doesn’t look great are the scattered 2D animations that the game will play once in a while. Sometimes, if there is a certain event that gets triggered, for instance a door that you rig to explode, the game will play a 2D flash animation. These animations look amateurish. Characters are often depicted in a style completely different from their 2D character portraits or 3D character models. They will also move in a jarringly shivery fashion. Most of them are short, but with their poor level of quality, they feel out of context and ruin the immersion.
The sound design and voice acting are superb and the voice acting, for the most part, is favorably consistent. I did encounter a couple of instances wherein the main character will spout out a line and sound like a completely different person, which was odd but a minor issue. The music fits well with the game’s tone and art style; it’s nice performed but generally unmemorable.
Arrrrr We There Yet?
The main issue with Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle is the plot. It’s not as compelling or fulfilling as it should have been which is a rather fatal flaw given that the game is essentially plot-driven. It’s a shame since Morgane Castillo is such a likable protagonist. With the countless number of point-and-click adventure games out there, especially the growing number that push the limits and lead to some deeply emotional experiences, your time would be better spent discovering a different land.
Watch the trailer for Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle