Point-and-click adventures have to carefully position themselves on the difficulty scale. Too easy and they feel like hand-holding hidden-object games; too difficult and they send you into a frenzy of obfuscated item-combinations and screen jabs before you give up in exasperation.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World, from G5 Entertainment and Cateia Games, just about manages to stay in that comfortable middle ground, only occasionally skirting into the realms of frustrating obscurity.
Add to that some sparkling cartoon graphics, an interesting story, and a large portion of a galaxy to explore, and you're left with one of the best traditional point-and-clickers on the App Store.
Point, click, point, click, boom!
To begin with, the game casts you as the titular Kaptain Brawe, a barrel-chested space cop with an inflated sense of his own importance and an IQ that would be quite impressive as a golf score. The setting is a steampunk past in which space travel was invented in the Victorian era.
You begin in Brawe's spaceship, and from there go on an interstellar adventure involving kidnapped scientists, dark forces, and elderly men who hit you with their walking sticks. You solve puzzles by finding and combining various in-game objects.
Brawe, and later in the game two other characters, is controlled by tapping on the screen. The interface is solid enough, and works well when you need to combine or examine objects, although sometimes taps don't register correctly.
Casual clicking, hardcore pointing
There are two different ways to play through the game: Casual or Hardcore. Casual guides you through the intrinsic mechanics, giving you helpful nudges here and there. Hardcore is for the point-and-click purist - the sort of person who thinks walkthroughs ruined the world.
Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World looks gorgeous. Bright cartoon sprites mix with sumptuous backgrounds to create a game that's a real treat on the eye. The music is brilliant, too, bringing to mind the heyday of point-and-click games in the early '90s.
Unfortunately, there's no voice-acting, and some of the text is poorly translated, but these are small niggles in what is an impressive, nostalgic package. Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World isn't quite good enough to be called a classic, though.
Clicking the boxes
Sometimes, its puzzles are a little too arbitrary, requiring guesswork rather than common sense. Its characters are a little too quirky, and its dialogue just that little bit too zany.
It's a fine example of the genre, and fans will lap up the retro feel and beautiful vistas, but for newcomers it sometimes feels like the punchline to a joke that you've missed the start of.
Unlike its main character, Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World is very much by-the-book. Whereas games like Machinarium play around with the point-and-click mechanics of the past, Kaptain Brawe adheres to them fiercely.
It's still an enjoyable romp, and will keep most people's adventuring urge sated for a little while, but a lack of innovation and a few underlying problems mean it doesn't quite reach the stars.