LifeisXbox’s Kraken Academy preview | I am playing a lot of demos for games featured during LudoNarraCon, and Kraken Academy is definitely one of my absolute favorites! This adventure game by Happy Broccoli Games is about a boy who goes to a new school and is quickly given the task to save the world. In order to do this, he has to free four spirits and will have to time travel! Kraken Academy didn’t really stand out for me when I looked at its Steam page, but after giving the demo a try, I can definitely say I’m keeping an eye on this release!
In Kraken Academy, you get a fixed character (a boy) but you can choose your own name. From what I got by playing the 30ish minutes demo, the controls are straightforward and the gameplay is quite simple. You’ll spend most of your time being guided by Broccoli Girl, but you’ll also meet the Kraken already, which was very cool! I did find it kind of weird that my character went to the lake, saw the giant Kraken in it, and didn’t give a kick, but I guess he knew it was there all along? I mean, I would at least be a little shaken up that a giant ass monster was living in the lake by my school, but the game is called Kraken Academy so it makes sense.
Anyway, the demo introduces a lot of features already, and what I really loved was that sometimes the characters said ‘but you can’t do that yet, because this is a demo’. I love that they were designed to say this and it did make me laugh. Something I really loved was the way you make money in this game. You have to pick up empty bottles everywhere and you can then kind of recycle them in a machine to get money in return. Sounds great, right? It really was! Even though it was a bit strange that I was given a baseball bat to hit lockers and trashcans in order to ‘find’ bottles. But I could see the humor in it and went with it.
You’ll be introduced to your very own room: a depressive-looking grey little chamber that reminded me of a prison cell. Woohoo? The full game will allow you to go to the market and buy stuff to decorate your room so I’m really looking forward to that!
There is also the Kraken-net, where you keep track of everyone you meet. Information includes their name, age, likes, and dislikes. One of the people I met had a dislike that said ‘you’ so that was kind of harsh, but it’s a nice way to ‘remember’ people by their likes and dislikes.
There were some minigames (called ‘quick time events’) included in the demo as well but they were super simplistic so I’m not sure how I feel about them. They lack a certain challenge and feel a bit forced. These quick time events helped sway the outcome of a conversation. One of them was pressing a certain key at the right time, and another was pressing a key as fast as possible to fill up a bar before the time ran out. Yes, they were indeed as easy and unchallenging as they sound.
Other features included an easy-to-navigate map. I do feel like the map was a bit small, but then again, I haven’t been everywhere yet during my short playtime! You’ll also have a tab that keeps track of your quests. When a quest is started or completed, it pops up on the screen. Right now, I only had popups like ‘Main Quest Started: Find a Costume’, so I expect there to be side quests as well, which I always love!
Graphics and sound
The art style is a mix of pixelated graphics when you’re playing and 3D graphics when you engage in conversation. Since the school is very dirty, the colors weren’t too vibrant and felt muddier. The characters themselves were all very distinct and colorful. Stix looked as shady as his character appeared to be, and Mrs. Petrova had a total angry old teacher look. I very much enjoyed the few characters I met, even though I immediately hated some of them (*cough pretty boy Vladimir cough*). I love it when a game instantly manages to make me feel different things towards the various characters! The soundtrack and sound effects were on point throughout the entire game. I usually enjoy voice acting, but the lack of it did not bother me at all in Kraken Academy! I liked reading through the conversations and just made up voices in my mind to go with every character instead.
Color me excited!
The Kraken Academy demo got me super enthusiastic about the release of the full game. I will definitely keep an eye on the progress made by Happy Broccoli Games and I suggest you go give that demo a try!