Return To Monkey Island Review


If you grew up in the 90’s or are a fan of adventure games, there’s a pretty high chance you’ve played, or at least heard of the Monkey Island series of games. While the series hasn’t seen a lot of love in recent years, and entries after the second title widely being considered existing outside of the main cannon, after over 30 years, Return to Monkey Island and original director Ron Gilbert have come to deliver a proper follow up to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge and shows that point and click titles can still be incredibly fun, rewarding and filled with a lot of heart.

Return To Monkey Island Review

Like it’s predecessors, Return to Monkey Island is a 2D point and click adventure game that pretty perfectly blends great characters, engaging locations, humorous writing and thought provoking puzzles to create an adventure that’s equally captivating and rewarding to complete. It sees the return of Guybrush Threepwood, Elaine, LeChuck and many other new and returning characters from the franchise to finally answer the question, ‘what is the secret of Monkey Island?’

The story of the game is fantastically written and is packed full of Easter eggs that fans of the series will appreciate, but also stands on its own as an enjoyable experience for newcomers to the series. While you’ll likely be lost on some of the callbacks to previous events, you won’t be lost or unable to follow the events of this game if you haven’t had the chance to play a previous Monkey Island game.

Return To Monkey Island Review

The game even includes the option from the main menu to look into Guybrush’s scrapbook and view a high level recap of the events that took place in the previous games influencing this entry. It’s a great way to bring new players up to speed with the core story beats of the previous games, but also provides a nice refresher for existing fans before jumping into the new game. It has been 30 years between them after all.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Return To Monkey Island is it’s distinct art style. It’s eye catching and vibrant and brings to mind a papercraft scrapbook aesthetic to the characters and environments. The change in direction did cause some initial backlash from some fans due to its shift from the style used in previous games but to be honest, I loved it. It further sells the fun, quirky nature of the game and it’s characters and also reminded me of another great modern point and click adventure game, Broken Age. The environments are vibrant, exciting and detailed, with many of the areas packed with interesting details to view or take note of that further flesh out the world and throw in the occasional Easter egg.

Return To Monkey Island Review

As with many point and click adventure games, the thing that can make or break the experience are the puzzles. It becomes quickly apparent how well thought out the puzzles in the game are, often requiring the combining of multiple collectibles to form the solution and how interwoven the puzzles are with one another. Often the solution to one puzzle or area will result in the answers for another, or at least spark a new possible outcome for you to try.

Return To Monkey Island Review

But for players that perhaps aren’t as adept at solving complex, multi part puzzles, Return to Monkey Island has a couple of options to help you experience the story as well. There are multiple difficulty options available that you can select from the start of the game. A standard or more casual mode that has less/easier puzzles and a harder mode for those that may be a little more experienced in the genre. But if you do find yourself stuck, the game has also has a hint book that can be accessed at any time that will provide a hint as to where to go or what to do next. This feature is really well implemented and doesn’t just straight out provide the solution, it provides a layered list of tips to point you towards what to do to still provide a rewarding experience when you do eventually solve the puzzle. Best of all it’s completely optional, use it at any time if you need or simply don’t, it’s up to you.

The whole adventure is backed by another amazing score with the composers from the original game also returning to provide the musical backdrop that continues to both sell the tone and setting of the adventure and provide an emotional connection to many of the scenes.

Return To Monkey Island Review

Overall Thoughts

Return to Monkey Island feels like a real celebration of the series so far by including characters, locations such as Melee and Monkey Islands and plenty of callbacks, but expanding on all of those things with plenty of brand new components to act as a worthwhile celebration and sendoff for Guybrush and his adventures. Guybrush continues to be an engaging, hilarious and believable character that really helps immerse you into the story of himself and his fellow adventurers. The ending may be hit or miss with some fans but will certainly promote discussion and it’s just great to see a new Monkey Island game in 2022. Whether you’re new or existing fan, Guybrush’s latest adventure is well worth experiencing.

A Nintendo Switch review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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Played On: Nintendo Switch

  • + Another great adventure with great characters
  • + Really well designed puzzles
  • + Attractive art direction
  • + Musical score that really sets the tone

  • - The conclusion may not fully please all fans

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