It’s been more than 30 years since we first took on the adventures of Guybrush in The Secret of Monkey Islandand later in its sequel Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. It is undeniable how much the world and characters created by Ron Gilbert And Dave Grossman have entered the hearts of all of us, entering rightfully among the adventures Lucasfilm Games most appreciated, not only by the older generations but also by the new ones who have been able to discover them.
The other three chapters (The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island and Tales of Monkey Island), subsequently released, have seen various personalities at work but, despite their success, they have left us orphans of the pen of its creator. Now the time has come for the dads of the loser pirate to come back and come to terms with the past and with the knowledge that they have now become adults. We hoist the sails of our ship and leave for the review of Return to Monkey Islandpublished by Digital Devolver and outgoing theNovember 8th on Playstation 5.
Return to Monkey Island, the return of the legend
Our adventure will pick up exactly where we left off Monkey Island 2that is, in playground. After a brief introduction, in which we will pull the threads of the son of Guybrush – expedient to practice the players with the control system -, the latter will tell us about his latest adventure in search of the treasure of Monkey Island. As if we are facing flashbacks from the past, we will find ourselves at Melee Island in the role of Guybrush Threepwood looking for a crew. I won’t dwell further on the plot to leave you with the pleasure of discovering what our ambitious protagonist has come up with this time, who will find himself, once again, with quite a few obstacles to overcome.
For you young pirates who are embarking on an adventure for the first time Monkey Island, don’t worry, they thought of you too! Although it is preferable that you play the previous chapters before starting Return to Monkey Island, the authors have devised a great trick to make you acquire as much information as possible. In fact, in the game menu there is a “scrapbook“, in which our beloved Guybrush Treepwood will tell us the story of the previous five chapters. I’ll give you a piece of advice, at the end of the game go back and browse through the album for a very sweet surprise.
The return of a great classic of graphic adventures!
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the game mechanics which, although faithful to their predecessors, appear to have some improvements, but alas, also some flaws. Return to Monkey Island it’s a’classic point and click adventure with two-dimensional graphics, with the ability to collect and combine game elements to solve the most diverse puzzles. But this chapter has aaccessibility decidedly greater.
If once, in the much-loved 90s, we could have been stuck for weeks and weeks with an enigma that was far too difficult, to satisfy all players (and as was already done for some of the previous chapters) two difficulties have been added: normal or hard. The choice of difficulty does not affect the story in any way, but only changes the quantity and complexity of the puzzles. For example, if in normal mode to access a certain area we will simply need to acquire a key, in difficult mode we will first need to convince the interlocutor to give us the key by making some bizarre exchange.
Having tried both difficulties, I strongly advise you to choose the difficult mode, as the puzzles are not so complex. In addition, there is a hint system in the form of “clue book”, which if consulted gives us clues and, progressively, the latter will be more and more precise until they give us the entire solution. As much as these solutions can be a godsend for many, I personally didn’t appreciate the too much simplicity, after all Monkey Island was, for me, this too.
A further change has taken place in the various standard actions available. In past episodes, in fact, interacting with an object or a person we were faced with various choices: use, collect, examine And speak out. In this new chapter, however, the system autonomously recognizes the most sensible actions, in fact finding us with only two choices, such as for example that of using the object or comment it. Made this choice Threepwood he will tell us some anecdotes about the chosen object. This further change also greatly simplifies the actions to be done in the game and the puzzles.
The whole structure strongly recalls the two Monkey Island. As was the case in The Secret of Monkey Island there is one map of the place where we will find ourselves, composed of various locations or points of interest that we can reach by simply clicking on it, or by moving freely around the map (if access is possible). At a certain point in the game, we will also have access to the “global map“, as was the case for Monkey Island 2which will allow us to sail the seas and travel from one island to another.
With us we will always have ours inventory, which will allow us to bring all the bizarre objects that we will need to continue; with the addition of some sort of notebook where is it Guybrush he will diligently write down everything that needs to be done, helping us to keep track of the objectives to be carried out. A further and interesting gem, but an end in itself if not for the completion of the objectives necessary to obtain platinum, is the addition of “question cards”scattered around the map and sometimes well hidden, inherent in the lore of the game and everything related to it.
Even if the trips and movements they always turn out to be a lot quickwe will often be forced to retrace areas that have already been explored, in order to be able to recover an object that we need, “fly” quickly to a point to complete the puzzle, and pass any obstacle that stands in front of us.
The settings hey characters, which we have already learned about years and years ago, return under the weight of time. It was not only the authors and us who grew up, but a little bit of everyone, except perhaps, Guybrush who still struggles to accept the passage of time and remains, in the eyes of his friends, an eternal child. Although, the game world and the characters that animate it have grown up with us, stroll through Brr Muda, Terror Island or Melee Island and interact with old friends like Wally, Elaine And Otis it makes us nostalgically relish the good old days.
Between cartoon and cubist art
At the soundtrack the original composers of worked The Secret of Monkey Island (Michael Land, Peter McConnell And Clint Bayakian), which therefore turns out to be coherent and with traces rich in Caribbean music And piratical loyal to the franchise. The dubbing instead it is exclusively Englishwith Dominic Armato who returns to give his voice to Guybrushwhile I subtitles and game menus are translated into Italian.
Return to Monkey Island definitely has one writing in well-curated dialogues, of high quality and oozing all the style, theirony, jokes And satires which have always characterized and distinguished the title, full of puns and sometimes with surprising breaks of the fourth wall.
In its simplicity Return to Monkey Island it turns out to be a lot game fluid and well done. In the approx Eight hours of game (it can last from 7 to 10 hours, depending on the difficulty chosen and our ability with puzzles) I have not encountered any bugs, crashes or drops in frame rate.
What I most appreciated (and which immediately divided the network and the fans, even going so far as to disable Gilbert’s private social profile) is certainly the change of style adopted by Terrible Toybox. There Artistic direction (made by Rex Crowle) had the courage to adopt one style totally innovativemanaging to recreate the atmosphere and characters we loved in a totally new guise, full of bright colors, cartoon and with a clear and obvious wink to thecubist art. Truly a feast for the eyes!