Duke Grabowski is a title developed by Venture Moon Industries, a studio with talent comprised of veterans of the genre.
The title was originally intended as a demo for a Unity Plugin, but the developers fell in love with the character of Duke and the challenges which came with a protagonist unlike any other seen within the genre.
Throughout the title you play as Duke Grabowski who is a brutish pirate who dreams of becoming Captain. Dukes Captain and mentor, Captain Amerigo has died, drowned at sea and for the first time Duke is left to his own devices with no one left to set him straight. This is where the adventure begins and you take control of Duke Grabowski.
Due to Dukes appearance and brutish characteristics, he is set a challenge. If he can seduce three women on the island and bring back evidence then he will prove himself to be a true pirate and fit to lead the crew; Everyone knows that pirates are known for their ability to woo women, right?
Dukes adventure takes him across the island attempting to “sea-duecing” women and while the premise of the story sounds quite sexist, the characters expectations of seducing women change, when he eventually learns the meaning, and the story evolves into a tongue and cheek adventure of a character making friends and helping their situations.
The title is your traditional point and click adventure game where you travel around the island, talking with interesting characters, collecting item and solving puzzles. Throughout my playthrough I found the challenges you’re presented with to be relatively simple apart from one where it was required I start an argument between two of the characters.
The genre is known of presenting you with an aesthetically beautiful environments to click your way through and that trend is continued throughout the game and the same can be mostly said for the characters, there are however some areas where character models can be improved or needed some additional polish.
Throughout my playthrough, the majority of the aesthetics were top notch and as expected, the environments and all of the main characters but those who receive little screen time aren’t as polished as others. This includes the pirates who have set you on your quest, where character textures are muddy and with clipping of the characters clothes; This has been my only gripe, because this is how the game began, it lowered my expectations of the following 2 hours but I was pleasantly proved wrong.
I’ve enjoyed the time that I had spent with Duke Grabowski and the majority of the humour was spot on for a title within this genre, there were moments where I was chuckling and others where I was laughing out loud.
While I’ve enjoyed the experience, it has taken a significant amount of time for me to get around to writing this review just to see if my time ingame has had any impact on me. Initially I felt like my journey didn’t have much substance and it would result in a throw away experience however, reflecting back there are multiple sections that I could remember and which still leave me chuckling now.
Monkey Island was one of the first point and click games I have ever experienced and this title really does wear its influences and the legacy of the developers on its sleeve; even from watching the trailer, you can feel that Monkey Island vibe, and it’s brilliant.
My main issues come in the form of the opening chapter, the ease of the title and the length of the adventure. While short experiences are becoming the norm of the genre these are often developed into a series of titles and it feels like this is just the start for the character Duke, I personally would like to see a series developed, seeing what situations the character runs into as he becomes Captain.
Unfortunately there is no announcement or mention that there will be any more titles of the adventures of Duke.
Overall, the title was an enjoyable two hours and while I feel that the conclusion to the story wasn’t as satisfying as I would have hoped, you do help Duke complete his goal. There is a little bit of post ending script but I feel that it soured the experience as the quality of the animations and dialogues of the cast wasn’t as consistent as the rest of the game.
I would rate Duke Grabowski a 6/10.