Kraken Academy frustrates me because it is good.
It is good. Everything I can describe about it seems mostly to be a gripe that it is the game that it is and not a different game. It is a good game.
I find it frustrating that it is not a slightly different game, mostly because I cannot for the life of me figure out how it is I want it to be different. I find that funny.
I'll try to describe it anyway, but mostly this is a list of guesses — things I'm not sure are even objectively true. Here's what I've guessed so far:
- It feels like this game only has one mood, which is "hahaha!" Even when it is being slightly serious, it is still being wacky. Seems true for the first two spirits strongly and somewhat true still for the third.
- I can't recall, does the music change for those scenes? Maybe it doesn't. The general music is bouncy and wacky and works great for the usual comedic scenes. But if it's the same for the serious scenes, that might add to the lack of felt seriousness.
- It's built around a time loop, which makes it tricky to build up the details of a character. One way is to build up their details over space instead of time. But none of the characters gets enough branches/space to build them up that way. Each side character (e.g. Broccoli Girl) shows up in one scene, one sidequest, and one mission, and that's it.
- On that note, we can bring objects back from the future that solve problems, but not information. We don't get new choices as a result of information from previous loops. So we also don't build up details of characters that way.
- There doesn't seem to be any reason to interact with a character again once you get their sidequest/badge done, with the exception of one visit to Broccoli Girl.
The first reason feels the truest. I can only remember one moment that felt like it might be serious based on the music—entering the headmaster's office—and it was an anticlimax. Maybe this lack of felt seriousness ever is the root problem. It's great that the game is fun, but it could be nice if it took itself seriously maybe once or twice every five hours.