Video Games

Return to Monkey Island Review

Return to Monkey Island is the adventure equivalent of Spider-Man: No Way Home. No wait, don’t go! Most people would agree that No Way Home is a great and very fun movie, even for kids who haven’t seen a Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movie. If you’ve made movie memories with Parker, No Way Home taps into that and more: nostalgia, and even elicits genuine emotion at various points.

Returning series creator Ron Gilbert to the franchise’s director’s chair for the first time in 30 years is very notable, but it’s a similar ride. It’s full of fun and challenging puzzles for those who love adventure games. Return also cleverly offers “Guybrush’s Scrapbook” on the main menu. It’s a fun, visual way to sum up his previous Monkey Island games narrated by Guybrush. But for someone like me, whose early Monkey Island games were a formative part of gaming’s youth, this reunion with would-be pirate Guybrush and his Sleepwood feels like coming home. To this end, I liked the not-so-hidden trivia cards scattered throughout many scenes to test your knowledge of the franchise.

The most obvious way Return to Monkey Island differs from its predecessor is in its art style. Gilbert could have taken his route of pixel art and plucked his fruit of very easy nostalgia, but instead went for a much bolder, more modern look. I’ll admit: I didn’t like it when I first saw it. One Curse of Monkey Island used a style similar to the Disney cartoons I love. I gradually came to like it. It uses a rich color palette, and the extreme character designs match well with Monkey Island’s sense of humor.

The hilarious music might make you think you’re still in 1991.

But while you wouldn’t confuse Return to Monkey Island with any other game in the series at first glance, the delightful music could easily mislead you into thinking you’re still in 1991. , and this goes a long way toward making it feel like a proper return to Monkey Island.The same goes for the voice cast headlined by Guybrush and Dominic as his Sleepwood. demand it. Everyone in this world knows Guybrush is a well-intentioned mess, but they have no choice but to root for this desperate underdog and befriend him anyway. That’s a big reason why I feel There is an innocence to the sheer Guybrush.

And what about the plot? Return is set right after Monkey Island 2, but it’s constructed in a clever way you didn’t expect it. That big heart is readily apparent in the playable Prelude, and I’m not going to spoil it here. Its overarching story includes Monkey’s secret exploration of her island, whose quests include Guybrush’s never-ending rivalry with zombie pirate villain LeChuck and Elaine’s love triangle with Marley. Revolves around not love. In fact, The Return is much more obsessed with the underlying mystery than its predecessor, even playing out to a recurring comedic effect. Our decades-long question of whether Gilbert will reveal the true secret of Monkey Island is echoed in the game, and even Guybrush’s wife Elaine wonders why our hero continues to obsess over it. In the process, it revisits familiar locations such as Melee Island and of course Monkey Island, and takes us to new places. As well as bringing back familiar faces (such as Murray!) and introducing many new characters.

happily confused

A good story and memorable characters are only half the equation of a classic puzzle game. The other is a series of challenging and satisfying puzzles to solve, the foundation of any great point-and-click adventure. Return is here to help them wholeheartedly. Puzzle-solving is as satisfying a dopamine hit as ever, and 2022’s iteration of Monkey Island is the infamous one that once made people often bounce off the original. I learned to avoid the dull “adventure game logic”.

The puzzle structure and solutions don’t really break new ground, but nothing was so abstract as to make you wonder how you came up with the solution once you found it. It was never frustrating enough to want to start over with a refreshed mind, but like the course of these games, it got a little stuck in the mud at times. “Apologetic Frog” to win back Kara, the governor of Brawl Island. So I tapped into the always available Guybrush tipbook here and there, and quickly learned that pride doesn’t have to be swallowed entirely. It’s a very welcome evolution of a feature first introduced to the series in LucasArts’ 2009 remasters of Monkey Island 1 and 2, and it’s not just a spoiler book like using a walkthrough, so You can use it guilt-free. Instead, it gives you hints layer by layer to tweak you in the right direction, but ultimately retains the satisfaction you get from solving the puzzle yourself. There was only one time a tipbook taught me something I didn’t really want to know at the time.

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