A younger version of me would judge Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond as the best title of all time, and likely to be my obsession for months. A child version, that is.
You see, Captain Sabertooth is a big deal for younger children. In Norway. Knowing full well that this title would be reviewed with the motivation of playing with my children, all I knew about the franchise other than pirates was it was suitable for kids.
Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond, from Ravn Studio and Zordix, ticks the family-friendly box immediately and it’s clear that it’s for younger children. Still, despite having children and knowing their interests, I’d never heard of it. In a nutshell, the animated feature was the most expensive in Norwegian cinema at $6.6 million. There’s no way I looked at Wikipedia for that.
Captain Sabertooth And The Magic Diamond Switch Review
A feature of the same name, the premise is relatively simple: Captain Sabertooth has made the assumption that you have stolen the magic diamond of the title, and demands you return it.
It’s a typical case of mistaken identity, but that doesn’t stop you getting stuck in. You don’t play the titular character but either a boy name Pinky or girl called Veronica – names changed from the native story.
With my girls as an audience, I had to choose Veronica and set sail for a pirate adventure. The end.
Alright, so Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond wasn’t as brief as that. On the contrary, I expected to test the game for a bit with them, let them play and come back to review it myself if I could tolerate it long enough. Surprisingly, it was quite a bit of fun.
Without a doubt, the game is aimed for it’s younger fanbase as the controls and difficulty are pretty simple. It’s a side-scrolling platform game where you defeat enemies, collect hearts to replenish your health, as well as coins. Standard stuff.
Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond is a platform game set on land, though you will have mini-games such as the early cannon target practice, presented in first-person perspective.
For the most part, you’ll be jumping platform to platform to collect coins, gems and reach (no so) hidden chests. It’s pretty vanilla really, but after about 20 minutes, the game got a little more interesting. While I’m not suggesting that it’s platformer of the year, it got to the stage where I was no longer showing the kids how to play it and rather enjoying for myself.
In some respects, Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond is quite refreshing on the difficulty level as while it’s possible to die or backtrack to reach area inaccessible until you have the right gear, it never felt like a stressful experience and a bit of an alternative to the usually demanding games I play.
Then again, completing sections are usually rewarded with cutscenes or a level of satisfaction, and it was all missing here. It was just the pure platforming sections that I found enjoyable, along with the gear you unlock to perform wall jumps and a catapult to trigger switches.
Arrr, Shiver Me Timbers And Other Crap
The presentation has me on the fence. In some respects, it looks like a mobile game and a bit no-frills, but when I looked at the surrounding scenery, it’s really nice and executed well. Unfortunately, Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond is strictly side-scrolling as if on a 2D axis, and you can’t walk back and forth between the foreground which can be quite confusing as it looks like you can.
I do love a pirate-themed experience, but do grow tired of stereotypical pirates. Not that I knew any or existed in the Golden Age of Piracy, but all this Robert Louis Stevenson pantomime stuff grinds my gears after a while.
As expected, it’s all pieces of eight, me hearties – that sort of thing. But given the context, it’s all harmless fun, and I’m just a pirate snob, not that I’m an authority.
Character voices are more on the annoying side, but they aren’t as constant as they could be, thankfully. Perhaps we chose the more annoying of the two playable characters in Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond as Veronica frequently complained about how much adventuring she should be doing and that her feet hurt.
One For The Kids?
Like Bugsnax, Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond was for the kids rather than me. Still, like the former, I ended up playing longer than anticipated and found it quite enjoyable. But perhaps the more important part is what did the kids think?
Ruling out the eldest as she said the girl was annoying her, my youngest thought it was cute. There wasn’t her usual over-enthusiastic laughter like in Astro Bot or Gang Beasts – Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond isn’t as slapstick as it could have been, but she still liked the variety.
As a three-year-old, the initial gameplay was fine. Attacks are just one button, and every enemy drops a coin and heart upon death so very easy to restore health. However, by the time we got the boots to wall jump and reached a haunted section, she could no longer do the manoeuvers to get anywhere, and without anything else to do, handed the controls back to me.
On that basis, perhaps somewhere in between like six-year-olds but slightly older children might get bored with the story and type of gameplay. Either that or older gents who prefer it more than their kids. I certainly had more fun with it than expected, but don’t expect to be wowed with the characters or story as it was a bit pantomime without the ham factor (which is the point, right?).
Captain Sabertoon and the Magic Diamond Review Summary
Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond is a huge hit in it’s native Norway, so what about the rest of the world? The story and characters are a bit cliche, and that’s nothing to do with translation. The vanilla platforming was more fun than expected, and I like vanilla. Definitely for younger children or beardy gamers.