Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! (2016)

At first, I thought Duke Grabowski would be something like Leisure Suit Larry with a pirate theme. It's not if you were wondering the same, despite the main premises of the story is, that he, a big dimwitted oaf, has to seduce three women in order for his fellow pirates to accept him as a new captain. That's at least what one smarter pirate managed to come up with before Duke would have beaten them all to a pulp on the grounds of not being accepted for the post. So that's the story, in a nutshell, Duke, a big oaf, trying to seduce three women.

It's not Leisure Suit Larry though, as seducing here doesn't mean sexual acts. Far from it, as Duke really isn't very savvy on that aspect. He doesn't romance the women, he just ends up helping two of them which lead them to vouch for Duke's romantic abilities and the third one is just being nice to him by telling his pirate friends off. See, in the end, Duke is a friendly giant, albeit one who likes to fight and be pirate, not some heat driven sleazeball like Larry Laffer was.

The tasks, that Duke needs to complete in order to achieve his dreams of captaincy are in the end just a collection of random settings. There's a child rescue operation he needs to embark on in order to secure affections of a noble lady, a brawl against gorilla he needs to go through in order of gain a favor from a spymaster and barbeque party where he needs to learn a secret of smooth talking from a fellow pirate so he can seduce a lady. All of these scenarios hold pretty simple puzzles and the game itself is fairly short. I locked it through in under 2 hours myself, so it's not a lengthy game by any means. I don't see even adventure novices spending more than 4 hours with this.

Duke Grabowski is a comedy game, but as such, I didn't find it very funny. It throws jokes from left and right, but I found myself amused only at one point, so overall the hit/miss ratio of the jokes was reasonably bad. The voice acting is okay, but nothing really spectacular. All in all, what you'd expect from a low budget game like this.

The best part of the game really is the background art by Bill Teller of Monkey Island 3 fame. It's not his greatest work, but as a whole, the backgrounds are nicely rendered in a cartoonish style. Character art, on the other hand, is relatively poor, low-resolution characters coated with bad textures.

I can't really recommend Duke Grabowski with its full price, but it is at the moment in a sale at Steam. Under 2 dollars seems like a reasonable price tag for a budget release like this is. That way, at least it won't sting too hard if you end up not liking it.