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Burly Men at Sea review for PS Vita, PS4, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC, Switch
Publisher: Brain & Brain
Developer: Brain & Brain
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Here’s a list of words I’d use to describe Burly Men at Sea: quirky, whimsical, charming, stylish, adorable, heartfelt, creative, and delightful.

Based on that list, you’d probably think I’m head over heels in love with the game. After all, those are generally pretty positive adjectives. While some people may not love quirk and whimsy, when coupled with the other words, 99% of the time you’re probably talking about a positive experience. And yet…I don’t think I love Burly Men at Sea as much as that list might suggest.

Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot going for it. Everything about the game seems designed to please, from the brightly-coloured graphics, to the upbeat music, to the unique controls, to the interesting cast of characters, to the heartwarming story. Taken individually, those are all pretty fantastic ingredients. For that matter, taken altogether, they make for a pretty fantastic combination.

At least, it’s pretty fantastic the first time around. The second time it’s still fantastic, if a little repetitive. The third time, the fantastic-repetitive scale starts balancing out a little more. And so on, and on, and on, as you play the game multiple times in order to discover all that it has to offer.

If we were talking about a game where playthroughs took hours to complete, that might not be an issue. But when we’re talking about Burly Men at Sea, where a playthrough can be over in a matter of minutes, and you can see how the repetition might start to add up. What seems magical the first time or two won’t be quite so magical when you’re experiencing it for the fifth or sixth or seventh time.

Again, Burly Men at Sea is most definitely not a bad game by any means. It’s bursting with invention and imagination, in everything from the way you drag the screen around to move the titular burly men, to the music that’s largely built around vocally-created sounds, and all points in between. If you’re looking for a unique experience, Burly Men at Sea offers it — but, at the same time, don’t be shocked if it’s an experience that wears thin before you’ve seen everything the game has to offer.

Brain & Brain provided us with a Burly Men at Sea PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B