Burly Men at Sea Review
Burly Men at Sea Review
An enchanting interactive experience, but more like an interactive picture book than an adventure game.
Posted: 10/12/16 | Category: Review | Developer: Brain & Brain | Publisher: Brain & Brain | Platform: Ios, Windows, Mac, Android

Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure
Release date: September 29, 2016
Review Platform: Android

Three Men and a Boat

Burly Men at Sea is a new folktale adventure developed by the husband and wife team known as Brain & Brain. David and Brook Condolora are independent game developers who focus on “quiet adventures.” Their first title, Doggins, was developed for the tablet and received favorable reviews as a charming story with whimsical graphics. Burly Men at Sea follows this tradition, but with an entirely new storyline and characters.

Brave Beard, Steady Beard, and Hasty Beard are three large, bearded sailors who find a mysterious map. After strolling through their fishing village, asking advice from neighbors, they set sail on an unusual voyage. They're immediately swallowed by a whale. There are several exit paths from the belly of the beast and each leads to a different set of experiences. When each path is completed, they're returned to the village and can set sail again, making different choices and creating a new adventure.

burly inset 1.

A Game by any other Name...

The artwork is done in an endearing graphic style and the soundtrack is enchanting. Sound effects are mixed with original music composed by Plied Sound. The narrative and conversation between the burly men are presented as on-screen text, without voiceovers. All elements come together to create a remarkable journey into an idyllic world that includes mythical sea creatures and magical encounters above and below the surface of the ocean  It is however, a very short sojourn, as the story can be played through in well under two hours.

I would hesitate to call Burly Men at Sea an adventure game. Instead, I would liken it to an interactive picture book. Remember the children’s books that had popups or pull tabs so the reader could take physical actions while enjoying the story? Take that concept, make it electronic, and you have Burly Men at Sea.  

I played the Android version on a tablet and this title is perfectly suited for the touch screen. You swipe right or left to scroll the scene and move the bearded trio. There are multiple places where a scene appears stuck until you figure out what action will advance the story. Since there are no menus or instructions, this is a matter of trial and error. If you don't take any action, the burly men remain in their place, ad infinitum. Initially, I spent a very long time waiting for three burly men to reach their destination. Instead, they just continued paddling. I tried tapping, dragging, and shaking until I stumbled upon the expected response and the story went back into action.

burly inset 2.

The Bottom Line

Without a doubt, Burly Men at Sea is an enchanting interactive experience. If you're looking for a short burst of quiet respite, I’d recommend it. Or, if you're not a gamer but are looking for a peaceful and thoughtful story-driven application, I’d also recommend it.

However, for those who favor more traditional adventure games, this title is probably not for you. For openers, it is very short. At its current price, it feels a bit on the high side in terms of play time per dollar. Although Burly Men at Sea is interactive with multiple paths, it still feels more like reading a book than playing a game.

Grade: B
A fanciful folktale that is well put together. Story, graphics, and sound combine to create a charming interactive experience.
- Very short. You might want to wait for this title to go on sale before taking the plunge.
- Those seeking a ‘gaming experience’ may want to look elsewhere


System Requirements
OS: Windows XP SP2+
Processor: Intel Dual-Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM
DirectX: Version 9.0 
Storage: 225 MB available space
OS: Mac OS X 10.8+
Processor: Intel Dual-Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM 
Storage: 275 MB available space
Specials from Digital Download
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