Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 03.10.2016

Review for Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler on PC

Seeing Bill Tiller's name attached to Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler, and seeing Dave Grossman, Ron Gilbert, Steve Ince and more in the 'thanks' part of the credits to this point-and-click release already gives the debut for the seafaring beast of a lead character plenty of grace. The question is, though, whether or not it can elevate itself above A Vampyre Story, the extremely charming release from Tiller's company Autumn Moon Entertainment that was met with a very mixed reception overall. Cubed3 goes a wooin' the ladies to help Duke gain the status of Captain…

This is neither the meatiest adventure, nor the most brain-teasingly engaging one, and yet it delivers enough spice and comedic punch throughout to carry it through to the credits, leaving a warm and fuzzy feeling, along with a desire for more. Not a bad thing, right? The parallels between a certain LucasArts/Telltale property are abundantly obvious, and from the start it perhaps works to Duke Grabowski's detriment, with nothing quite hitting home as well as in Guybrush Threepwood's Monkey Island escapades. However, this is a swashbuckling outing that has charm in spades and grows in stature rapidly, before its closing sequence kicks in too swiftly.

The premise is that the game's namesake must convince his fellow crewmen that he is indeed capable of being their new Captain. The problem is that they give him a task they feel is well beyond the burly, harebrained sailor - woo three members of the opposite sex. Duke uses words like sea-deuce, so the task seems like one to be undertaken in vain. Failure must be the only option, right? Well, this is where you, brave warrior, come in! Well, perhaps it is more a case of where the clever storytellers step in to drive things forward with players clicking away to their heart's content, but hey, why split hairs? Let the adventure-romancin' a-commence…

Screenshot for Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler on PC

As stated, this is a tiny taste of what is to come. The original plan was for a one-off, October 2015 release, after the successful Kickstarter campaign reached its finale. However, the idea now is that this is to be an episodic tale (the first of three currently planned), with this first entry merely seeming like Duke being introduced to those intrigued by Mighty Swashbuckler, and that sits true for what is currently present. There is a definite "more to come" air abound.

Gaining the co-operation of two of the three ladies required can be done in no time at all, and actually feels slightly disappointing in how easy the puzzling is, yet the third (well, that is dependent on what order proceedings are carried out, actually - but just go along with it for the sake of this review…) has numerous steps involved, including a wordplay section reminiscent of a classic swordplay battle from a past classic. The step up in quality is noticeable and it can only be hoped this is developed further to make the next release more enthralling and thought-provoking.

Gorgeous art, a sublime soundtrack, and some humorous scripting, along with the odd buxom broad, an entertaining romp a-makes. A slightly cumbersome approach to the inventory does not a happy adventurer a-make, though, with not only items but 'ideas' being added at times, and quickly accessing these ideas can be a slight bit fiddly, sadly. Thankfully, it is not to the point of being too obtrusive, yet it is still slightly annoying, as is the clumsy menu for 'talking,' 'looking' and 'interacting with.' The positives certainly outweigh the negatives at this stage, fortunately, and the next episode cannot come soon enough.

Screenshot for Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler starts off in the shadow of games it has clearly been inspired by, not quite living up to their high standards. However, it quickly shakes this off thanks to the abundance of charm exuding from every pore helping to alleviate the issue, leaving gamers with an excellent - albeit bite-sized - pirate-filled point-and-click romp that fans of the genre will lap up with joy. Roll on episode two…


Venture Moon Industries


Alliance Digital Media





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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