Review: Burly Men at Sea (PS4/PSV)

Review: Burly Men at Sea (PS4/PSV)


  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PC, Mac
  • iOS, Android

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4, PS Vita
  • HDTV


  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PlayStation TV Compatible No
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Burly Men at Sea
Format: PSN (523.5 MB)
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Brain&Brain
Developer: Brain&Brain
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Burly Men At Sea is a minimalist folktale about three Scandinavian fishermen going on an adventure.

When I say minimalist, I mean very minimalist. There isn’t even a tutorial. Luckily, the controls are simple. The game only uses the two thumb sticks and the Cross button.

Not much gameplay is involved. Simply move the men through the area until find your way to the next area. Rinse and repeat a few more times.

The bearded men are not controlled individually and the player does not have direct control over the trio. When expanding your view left or right, the fishermen move to stay on screen.

Along my numerous short adventures I came across a few branching paths. Sometimes it’s fairly obvious and other times I had no idea I’d made a choice until the end of the adventure.

During my first playthrough, I took my time to fully explore and interact with the world as much as I could. I skipped most of this in my subsequent playthroughs and my time in game went from over an hour to about twenty minutes.

My only complaint is that the developers do not take full advantage of the world they have created. In the starting area there are a handful of buildings you can enter but nothing comes from exploring. There is no secret or reward to find.

On an island I was able to interact with some birds and at first it seemed like a puzzle to solve, but ultimately it went nowhere. It’s a nice touch to be able to interact with the world, however once I realized it did nothing, I saw no reason to go through the motions again in later playthroughs.

After completing each adventure, a book is created and placed on a bookshelf. The spines of the books are lined with symbols summarizing your adventures.

There is no in-game list of the branching paths but the symbols on the spines do a good enough job to allow completionists or Trophy hunters to see which adventures they have not taken yet.

The Vita version is a great way to play the game as I did not notice any differences with the framerate and resolution.

The minimalism continues with the visuals but it still has plenty of charm. The fishermen have overly large bellies and beards, while their skinny legs often strut in unison.

Sadly, some of the details in a few of the various landscapes and ocean views can be easily overlooked because there is not enough color variation to make them stand out.

The music is light and cheery. The twang from a banjo and and other instruments provide intermittent notes of bluegrass music.

This game is one player only with no online component.

Burly Men At Sea is a charming adventure game. I enjoyed my numerous journeys discovering all the different ways the three men got into and out of trouble.

This is a good game but it’s short. Combined with the fact that the gameplay only involves moving the group left or right with occasional interaction, you really need to be aware of what you’re getting with it and decide of it’s for you.


* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4 and the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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