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Burly Men at Sea Review

Game image Burly Men at Sea
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Posted: 8 weeks ago, last updated 7 weeks ago.

Author: Ben Kendall and @GeekDadGamer.


Burly Men at Sea is an adventure where you play three seafaring brothers who explore the Scandinavian seas. It's novel because it requires multiple playthroughs to discover the full narrative. It has a unique cyclical gameplay loop that remembers your previous runs as stories you can look back on that slowly unveil the secrets of the world.

As the game starts you an old bottle with a map of the sea in it. During each adventure you fill out different parts of the map with individual experiences that coalesce into a story not unlike that of a children's book. Here though, rather than turning pages for a linear story, you simply tap and drag the touch screen or direct characters with a controller. Your actions make each of your adventures differ in subtle and substantial ways.

The game's colourful, abstract aesthetic paired with sea-shanty music lend the it the feel of an old fairytale or myth, as do the creatures that populate the oceans, which are taken from Scandinavian folklore. This combines with the simple controls to make it accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

At the end of each playthrough, you add this story to the bookshelf, then set out on another. Each adventure has a similar baseline, but offers the chance to visit different places or interact with different elements of the world to create a brand new and unique narrative.

DetailsGame Details


Release Date: 29/09/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Brain_And_Brain


Duration: It takes between 20 minutes and 40 minutes to play a round of this game. The game has unique gameplay that allows you to "complete" the story in one sitting of about half an hour, then come back time and time again and have a different adventure, providing plenty of replayability and several hours of overall play time.
Players: This is a single player game.


Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Rated PEGI 3 for Very Mild Violence. Noteworthy occurrences are a maelstrom (accompanied by menacing music), an attack by a giant jellyfish and a scene where a ship is eaten by a giant whale.

Rated ESRB EVERYONE 10+ for Fantasy Violence.


Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.

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The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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