Return to Monkey Island – PC Adventure Game Review

The second I heard the sound of flutes and marimbas floating in my ears at the start of Back to Monkey Island, I had a big involuntary smile on my face. Like a generation of people who grew up playing LucasArts adventure games on absolutely ancient computers, The Secret of Monkey Island and its sequels were instrumental in cementing a lifelong love for the American flavor of the point-and-click genre – something that has almost completely disappeared.

But now we are in 2022, and the existence of Back to Monkey Island feels like an impossibility somehow made real. The title is a return in many ways – it sees original series co-creators and designers Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman return to the property together, for the first time since Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991). But it also marks a comeback for western adventure games. After decades of evolution, near extinction, modern transformations, and the revival of traditional style adventure games by smaller teams, we have found ourselves in a new point-and-click renaissance, a world where businesses – like Disney- licensee Lucasfilm Games and publisher Devolver Digital – believe the games look a lot like the original monkey island can thrive again.

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Read: The best point & click adventure games to play in 2022

And yes, Back to Monkey Island Looks very much like a natural continuation of the first two titles in the series from 1990 and 1991, both in storytelling and structure – despite a sharp and sleek new art direction that provides an excellent new visual identity. But this new adventure for protagonist Guybrush Threepwood certainly still makes an impression, despite its unchallenging nature – for most, it might as well still be the 1990s as far as Back to Monkey Island is concerned. It shows how strong and engaging the design and world of the original games was.

Thematically, Back to Monkey Island is a homecoming, a return to old haunts with new insights informed by all that has happened since. For those familiar with the original games in the series, you’ll likely share the same outlook and outlook as Guybrush Threepwood in Come back. There are lots of new people and places to see, of course. But without giving specifics, you’ll also revisit many familiar places, encounter several more familiar faces, and frequently reminisce about how things used to be. It is a positive and comforting experience.

The actual movements of Guybrush’s journey will feel like something akin to returning to old routines – in the most heartwarming way possible. You’ll be set up with a number of intertwined objectives that must be completed in a set area, and achieve them by exploring scenes, carrying on fun conversations with colorful characters, and finding irreverent solutions to puzzles, with a humorous logic that only makes sense in the fictional world. With each new act, you have a wider variety of areas to explore, the formula becomes more complex, and the eventual unraveling of everything becomes more satisfying.

The biggest draws of Back to Monkey Island are naturally the characters, as well as the writing and dialogues that bring them to life. Actor Dominic Armato returns as the voice of Guybrush Threepwood and his interactions with monkey island irreverent actors and the quirky world are always whimsical, filled with frequent and low-key gags that make the return to monkey island a happy strewn with laughter.

Some important modernizations also contribute to make Back to Monkey Island much more accessible too. A heavily streamlined point-and-click interaction system contextually gives you, at most, two interactions per world object, eliminating the guesswork of examining and manipulating things, and freeing up your mental energy to envision the actual puzzle solutions that require often thought out of the box.

Image: Terrible Toybox/Devolver Digital

Back to Monkey Island also has a great, refreshing, no-frills hint system. It’s a magical book that stays in your possession at all times and essentially functions as an in-game version of the long-running online adventure game resource, Universal Hint System. He offers a stream of obscure clues related to particular tasks that become more and more obvious the more you prompt him, even offering straight-forward solutions if you really need them. It’s quick to use and puts you in control of how much information you think you need. More importantly, it prevents you from diverting your attention from the game to a web browser, and reduces the risk of messing up a puzzle for yourself – after all, sometimes all you need is a hint of the right direction. .

Back to Monkey Island is not a grand reimagining of point-and-click adventure games in any mechanical or narrative ambition. It’s literally a throwback. It stays true to its own identity and aims to be the best version of itself – a heartwarming, charming game with great characters and fun, esoteric puzzles. That a new monkey island the game exists with Gilbert and Grossman at the helm Back to Monkey Island an attraction that is well worth the curiosity. And that this traditional The format still satisfies while remaining largely unchanged decades later speaks volumes about how timeless their ideas and this world have always been.

Five stars: ★★★★★

Back to Monkey Island
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Terrible toy box
Editor: Digital devolve
Release date: September 19, 2022

The PC version of Return to Monkey Island was provided and played for the purposes of this review.