The announcement of a new monkey island Title from series creators Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman came as a welcome surprise earlier this year.
After all, this latest (and possibly last) entry in the series will be Ron Gilbert’s first since he left Lucasfilm Games afterwards Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revengewhich was originally released in 1991
Now managed by Gilbert’s own games studio, Terrible Toybox, in association with Devolver Digital and Lucasfilm Games. Return to Monkey Island manages to regain the original essence of the first two games without betting on nostalgia for its own sake.
Return to Monkey Island is able to conveniently bring new ideas to the table with the help of streamlined systems and deliver a reliably familiar point-and-click adventure.
For more information, see our full review below.
As we tested
Our review of Return to Monkey Island Based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game, it uses the game’s Hard Mode difficulty for an old-school puzzling experience. Some features in the “casual mode” as well as the game’s built-in hint system were also used.
- Valuation: 9/10
- Release date: September 19, 2022
- Platforms: PC and Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Devolver Digital
At the beginning of Return to Monkey Island Aging protagonist Guybrush Threepwood tells the story of how he discovered the ‘mystery’ of Monkey Island in an effort to relive his glory days. By reliving this (new) adventure, players will be able to revisit some familiar settings from the series with some modern updates.
Other characters from the series also return, such as Guybrush’s love interest (and now wife) Elaine, as well as antagonistic zombie pirate LeChuck, who all see their respective voice actors return to their roles with enthusiasm and the usual penchant for quippy one-liners these games demand . Of particular note is Dominic Armato’s performance as Guybrush after a 12-year absence. Armato’s delivery oozes with upbeat enthusiasm that anchors Return to Monkey Island and Threepwood’s Call to Adventure.
Mêlée Island, as well as the surrounding Caribbean Sea, hasn’t changed much from previous games, with plenty of references to Threepwood’s past exploits and imaginative interpretations of puzzles with the usual “close enough” attitude you’d expect. Along with a returning cast, there are also plenty of jokes about previous games, such as: B. a (not so subtle) advertisement for the 1990 release loom at the Scumm Bar Tavern. These familiar locations are only made more prominent with the game’s new art direction by Rex Crowle.
While highly stylized, it encapsulates perfectly Monkey Island inquisitive mind and compounding its growing strangeness. Character designs, environments, as well as “gross” of disgusting concoctions invented by Guybrush’s ingenuity not only help modernize its appearance, but also establish its simplicity.
As a point-and-click, returning players can expect the usual branded sideways puzzle-solving method that the series has become known for. Without spoiling any of the solutions – the usual best practice of trying to combine every item in your inventory together – puzzles just feel obnoxious enough without being irritating, and they rarely feel out of reach.
Instead of getting bogged down with a long list of potential verbs corresponding to objects, a more streamlined two-button approach was taken, with one often used to describe something and another to ‘act’ it. This only makes solving puzzles more rewarding, simply to reach far enough towards the unreachable without completely transcending it.
That’s not to say that every puzzle is that simple, but for those that are elusive enough to warrant an online search, Return to Monkey Island features a built-in hint system capable of tracking exactly where players are on their journey, what objectives they are trying to complete, and what additional steps need to be taken to successfully crack them.
At first, the clues are just vague enough not to spoil the surprise, but they can gradually be unraveled if players ever feel truly lost. Being able to quickly glance at a clue to understand what’s expected of the next player is certainly a nice touch without ever penalizing new players or making them feel like they need to give up completely.
There’s also a casual mode option that can be selected at the start of a run, and this can also be used to streamline puzzles, essentially removing some of the extra steps required to complete them. The only downside to this is that there’s no way to switch between hardcore and casual modes mid-game.
Conclusion: “Return to Monkey Island”
Return to Monkey Island is a thoughtful re-imagining of a genre that was once the pinnacle of adventure gaming but, despite its influence, rarely feels revived. A lot has changed since then The Mystery of Monkey Island debuted more than three decades ago, but now To return feels like a fitting conclusion to everything that grew out of the original. Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman’s own post-game reflection on the series is poignant in their perspective, which could only take years away from leadership.
if Return to Monkey Island is really Guybrush Threepwood’s swan song, it’s a fitting conclusion to the series’ legacy. Even if you’ve never played before monkey island Play it out, it’s as accessible as point-and-click adventures get.