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Visual Novel / Burly Men at Sea

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Burly Men at Sea is a video game halfway between the Visual Novel and Point-and-Click Game, developed by Brain & Brain and available for Mac OS, Windows, iOS, and Android.

The game's plot deals with three stout seafaring brothers, Brave Beard, Steady Beard, and Hasty Beard, who are stimulated by the discovery of a mysterious blank map to explore the seas around their island home. What they discover is the stuff of a whimsical and non-threatening adventure loosely inspired by Norse Mythology.

This game includes the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: According to Word of God, the game is set in the early twentieth century, but it features Dark Ages monsters and a wizard, and a very 21st-century coffee shop.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The cheery horticulture obsessed rock giant who lives on an island.
  • Chess with Death: Charon will challenge the brothers to a rowing race with their existence as the prize.
  • Cult: The water nymphs who live permanently inside the whale and worship it, and have a tendency to swap Ice Cream Koans.
  • The Eeyore: Charon the boatman is heavily depressed.
  • Event Flag: Playing different branches a second time will cause characters to react to you differently, or cut down some dialogue exchanges to avoid boring the player.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The second time around, the brothers know that the Kraken at rest looks like a small green island, but don't see it anywhere - and so they land on a nearby small green island in order to have a better vantage point.
  • The Ferryman: Charon is a black robed figure with a skull face, although it's just a mask (or the brothers might just assume that).
  • Harmless Villain: If Charon takes you to his dungeon on a second playthrough, he will make it clear that he's expecting you to escape and doesn't really want to send you to the afterlife.
  • Here We Go Again!: Until you have found all twelve potential endings, each play through ends with the brothers back at the port and ready to start a new voyage.
  • Iyashikei: The general atmosphere of the game is a Western example of this genre, as a group of happy explorers encounter eccentric but mostly friendly supernatural beings without much of a sense of threat.
  • Knotty Tentacles: When the brothers meet the Kraken, they can tie two of its tentacles together and force it to give them a lift.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Hasty Beard, as his name suggests, has a tendency to throw himself into situations.
  • Mega Maelstrom: If the brothers race Charon and beat him, they will then encounter one.
  • Palate Propping: If the brothers leave the rock giant's island on a floating tree, a huge unseen sea monster will try to eat them but get the tree stuck in its jaws.
  • Palette Swap: The brothers are visually distinguished only by the colours of their beards and matching boots.
  • Player Nudge: If the player tries to get back on the boat after exploring the rock giant's island without having woken him, one of the brothers will make a hint about harassing the local wildlife (as touching the bird perched on the giant will wake him).
  • Quest Giver: The old man in the coffee shop is revealed at the end of the first play-through to have created the blank map to inspire others to heroic exploration.
  • Sea Monster: Several, including the Kraken that the brothers can tame and ride in one story branch, the leviathan that nearly eats them in another, and the wise female sea serpent who chats to them at the end of each branch.
  • Seadog Beard: The brothers and the mysterious old man in the coffee shop all have enormous beards.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: One story branch ends with the brothers meeting magical seals, who temporarily turn them into seals so they can swim home faster.
  • Shout-Out: The first time Charon takes you to his dungeon, he will say that "One does not simply sail into the afterlife", a variation on the famous "One does not simply walk into Mordor" line from The Lord of the Rings.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The brothers can seemingly survive underwater indefinitely and experience nothing but mild inconvenience.
  • Swallowed Whole: The beginning of the plot of the game, although the whale in question is simply eating people as a means of transporting them around without digesting them.
  • Turtle Island: The brothers initially believe the Kraken to be an island.
  • Uvula Escape Route: The whale will eventually spit you out at another location, but you can get to different locations by punching the whale's uvula to get it to cough you out earlier.
  • The Voiceless: The blacksmith at the brothers' home port communicates only in grunts.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Some potential story branches end with the brothers at the bottom of the ocean and having to walk back to their home port.