Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle review
The Good:

Beautiful hand-drawn artwork; well-written, intriguing story; easy but fun puzzles and minigames.

The Bad:

Terribly boring first chapter; some silly, intrusive animations; amateurish cutscenes.

Our Verdict:

Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle is a beautiful looking game with an adventurous story about growing up and dealing with grief, though a few odd design decisions spoil some of the fun.

Even as a child, Morgane Castillo wanted nothing more than to lead a pirate's life out at sea. Her mother tried to discourage her by telling her that it's bad luck to have a woman on board a ship, but Morgane was determined to prove that silly superstition wrong. Years later, she gets her chance when her father offers her a position as acting captain for her seventeenth birthday. If you have played Wizarbox's earlier games, So Blonde or So Blonde: Back to the Island, you will already know that she eventually succeeds, as Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle is a spin-off of those adventures, though set in a much earlier time. Taking its title a bit too literally, this game starts off at a boringly slow crawl, but when the pace picks up you'll be pulled into an exciting story that fascinates to the very end, although it's somewhat hobbled by various strange design choices.

The game starts with an introductory chapter that doubles as a tutorial, in which Morgane is an eight-year-old girl simply wanting to go outside and play with her friends. Her mother thinks she should do some household chores first, like sweeping up some patches of dust and cleaning the windows. Since this requires Morgane to pick up items in and around the house, combine them and use them with other objects, these tasks familiarise players with the interface and the basic game mechanics. There isn't a lot of challenge, however, and it is by far the most repetitive, dull and uninteresting bit of the game, which can't be skipped and might easily scare players away. That would be a pity, as the story really starts when this first chapter finally ends. Still, it sets up an important plot point to come, as Morgane eventually spots her father's ship pull into the harbour, and she overhears him tell her mother the tragic news that Uncle Eduardo was lost at sea, having fallen overboard during a storm. Morgane is inconsolable and refuses to believe this is really true.

Thankfully, the game then jumps to Morgane's seventeenth birthday, when she receives the surprise gift of a new sword and promotion from her father, Captain Alessandro Castillo. The first task to perform in her new role is to find a new crew to replace the three men recently fired, along with some cargo to make money. The ship is currently moored at Bounty Island, the island where Morgane's family used to live before her mother died. Her father is still mourning her loss, and has a shrine dedicated to her in his cabin aboard the Winsome Maid. Morgane thinks his grief is getting unhealthy and interfering with his everyday life, and she intends to do something about it (although she isn't sure just how). Meanwhile, she manages to find a rich merchant, Thomas Briscoe, recently retired and now with enough time and money to pursue the tale of a "Golden Turtle" said to exist somewhere in the vicinity. He wants to charter the ship and the crew to follow a vague trail of clues, and is willing to pay handsomely for it. In her travels, Morgane also hears rumours that Uncle Eduardo may still be alive and well on a neighbouring island.

Naturally, all three major and most minor storylines eventually turn out to be entwined. We follow Morgane on her adventures through five islands, one of which featured in the So Blonde games. Along the way, she meets lots of interesting characters and discovers clues about the original explorer that reported having seen the Golden Turtle, Buckleberry Tanner. By visiting his grave, digging up some old maps, locating an island named after him and talking to people who once knew Tanner, Morgane slowly unravels the mystery of the fabled turtle. She doesn't forget about her other tasks though, making sure to ask about Uncle Eduardo in every tavern she visits and trying to persuade her father to get on with his life. Over the course of ten chapters (and about as many hours), she matures into not just a good captain but also a strong woman in an enjoyable, well written coming-of-age story that has a nice blend of emotional depth, swashbuckling, high seas adventure, and quite a few funny moments (like when young Morgane wonders why her parents' door needs to be locked when her father arrives home after months at sea), never taking itself too seriously.

Every island looks and sounds totally different, and each one looks magnificent with incredible attention to detail. From the eternally dark Crab Island to the tropical Turtle Island, it's a pleasure to admire the beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds and listen to the Caribbean style music and sounds. Little creatures scurry around, leaves move in the breeze and water ripples to make the world seem alive. It's fun to recognize people and places from the earlier So Blonde games if you have played them, but it is not necessary to have any knowledge about them to enjoy Captain Morgane. This game re-uses some of the locations from its predecessors, offering a whole different perspective for those who played the PC original, but only marginally updating the same scenes presented in the Nintendo-only Back to the Island, which seems a bit lazy.

Cutscenes show a series of stills in a style reminiscent of graphic novels, but with sparse animation that shows no regard for physically possible angles or proportions, which gives these scenes an amateurish feel. The 3D character models and their animations during player-controlled scenes look good, though it is a bit weird to see Morgane shove everything she picks up, from half-eaten fish to a crossbow, anchor or sword, into her well-formed bodice. At times, however, some ill-advised preset animations take over from the player, like when a conversation is started or a task is succesfully completed. For example, after initiating a dialogue, Morgane waves her hand at the other person for a second or two, then the other person looks around and waves back, and only then does the conversation start. All this time a spinning cursor is shown on screen to indicate you have to wait until the sequence stops before you can do anything.

What's worse is that the same cursor also appears during conversations for an entirely different purpose. After each and every sentence the mouse button needs to be clicked (twice or three times if a sentence is so long it gets truncated in the subtitles), but here the cursor means the game is waiting for you to click. Meanwhile, the gestures and lip movements Morgane and her dialogue partner make continue to loop all this time. If you don't click, they keep on waving, bowing or clapping for a few minutes before the game finally moves on. These gestures look very exaggerated and distract from the conversation.

Fortunately, the voice actors are quite good at conveying emotions. Morgane's Spanish accent (wisely re-recorded by the publisher due to public outcry over Morgane's original, inexplicably English accent) and Briscoe's British dialect are convincing, but Alessandro sounds a bit wimpy for such a mighty pirate. Adults imitating children's voices are, as usual, awful. The tropical-style music is pleasant at first, but does tend to get a bit repetitive after a while, either because it loops too often or simply begins to all sound the same after a while, so a little more variety would have been welcome.

Continued on the next page...



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Game Info

Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle

Platform:
PC, PlayStation 3, Wii

Genre:
Adventure, Comedy

Developer:
Wizarbox


Game Page »

United Kingdom March 30 2012 Reef Entertainment

Where To Buy

Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle

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User Score

Average based on 11 ratings

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User Reviews

Posted by Omid Zaraki on Feb 5, 2013

Great Adventure With Nice Visuals

This Game Is One Of My Best Games I Ever Played... Read the review »



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About the Author
Astrid Beulink
Staff Writer

Comments

lewuz lewuz
May 11, 2012

Nice to see the review is finally in. Smile

Jackal Jackal
May 11, 2012

Took a bit longer than usual, since Astrid did double duty for both PC and DS (and some PS3, as well!).

Advie Advie
May 11, 2012

i am not happy to see easiness is mentioned in the Pros Box (though its followed by ... ..But fun puzzles!)

Jatsie
May 12, 2012

All things considered, the score seems rather generous. The game wasn’t terrible, but it was slap bang in the middle of mediocrity. Frankly, had I never played it I would have suffered no loss.

FreakGlista
May 12, 2012

The game is Ok I guess. The artwork is beautiful, dialogs and accents are so so but clicking after each dialogue line to continue is simply frustrating. Mini games are not fun at all (for me at least), sometimes annoying and some puzzles are just ridiculous. What I hated the most in this game was saving the game progress. You always overwrite an old save file, so you know what that means, if you get stuck like I did, you have to start all over again. (I got stuck behind fathers desk on the ship once, in family house when I went in with Diegos help which was not the right thing to do according to the game plan and so on ...). On the other hand I really enjoyed listning to the soundtrack. After all of this I give this game 3 out of 5.

Jackal Jackal
May 12, 2012

Adventurere No.1, as you noted, the “but” changes the context completely. The ease of the puzzles isn’t a pro; it’s saying despite the ease, the puzzles are still fun.

Majsan Majsan
May 12, 2012

I agree with FreakGlista, the game is ok nothing more. It lacks the charm So Blonde had… And don´t you just love the way Nell moves when she’s a kid? A brick has better moves… ;-)

Advie Advie
May 12, 2012

i like Astrid Beulink or PolloDiablo.reviews and previews as well, but before i post my previous Comment Mr.Jack ,i revised her So Blonde review and two things gotten my attention ; the 1st was that she gave C.M a bigger rating more than S.B, ...and the 2nd was the she on the other hand had put the easiness of S.B in the Con box!... i am not complaining about her ratings for both as much as it seemed to me that she (for some reason) was a little more generous here (imo)

PolloDiablo
May 12, 2012

That review wasn’t for So Blonde but for So Blonde Back To The Island (an ‘alternate’ take on So Blonde which was only released for Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii). The ‘original’ So Blonde got 4 stars, So Blonde Back To The Island 3 stars and Captain Morgane 3.5 stars.

Advie Advie
May 12, 2012

excuse my rash Judgment ,and thank you for clarifying this, as this makes more sense!..

Oscar Oscar
May 13, 2012

I didn’t like this game. In fact I REALLY didn’t like it. I would have given it 1 star, and even that is generous of me. 3.5 stars! Wow. Nothing against the reviewer but that’s higher than my personal favorite game of last year - Baron Wittard.

dekaneas297 dekaneas297
May 13, 2012

Having played it for 2 hours I would say the game is mediocre. I’d rate it with 2.5-3 stars I hope it gets better later on.

Iznogood Iznogood
May 28, 2012

I agree with FreakGlista, the game is not bad but also not great.
What really lets the game down, and almost made me throw the game out of the window, was the frustrating user interface.

Clicking after every 10 words in order to progress the dialog, subtitles in letters that are 5 cm high on a pc screen, and a clumsy inventory where you first have to drag an item ouside the inventory, wait for the screen to change and then drop it where you want to use it!!!!
Why the h… did they make it like this???

If you can ignore the frustrating UI the game is however OK, but not more that OK. With a better UI 3.5 stars would be appropriate, as it is 2.5-3 stars is the best i can give it.

aftab82
Sep 15, 2012

Any hope for a patch that will progress the dialogue without having to click at each sentence or line of text?

Omid Zaraki Omid Zaraki
Feb 5, 2013

great adventure



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