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Return to Monkey Island review | Puzzle adventure fun

Shaun M Jooste

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Return to Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game that sees the return of Guybrush Threepwood. Developed by Terrible Toybox and published by Devolver Digital, it launched on September 19, 2022. The story continues years later with the pirate hero setting sail again to the mysterious island.

Return to Monkey Island DOWNLOAD

With a similar but different art style and upgraded visuals, you’ll uncover clues to solve puzzles and help some friends along the way. The gameplay is easy with a few nostalgic elements from the previous five games. Stay tuned as I take you on a swashbuckling adventure in this Return to Monkey Island review.

Return to Monkey Island review | Puzzle adventure fun

Return to Monkey Island: The hero is back

Let’s start with my favorite part of all games: the story. Return to Monkey Island Island continues from the first five games, years later after Guybrush Threepwood defeated the zombie pirate LeChuck once again. It’s time to see how our hero has been faring.

The tale of a father

Return to Monkey Island starts with two children running around and investigating a small island. Eventually, they reach an aged Guybrush Threepwood. One of the boys is his son, and he wonders why his father never discovered the secret of the mysterious island.

It’s then that Guybrush decides to tell him another story, one where he returned to Monkey Island to finally discover its secrets. While he’s narrating the tale, you’ll see them now and again in the park as they discuss plot elements.

Return to Monkey Island review

Heading back to Monkey Island

After Guybrush’s last adventures before the Return to Monkey Island, he ended up on Melee Island. Elaine Marley, the love of his life, has turned away from governing the island, and our hero doesn’t know what to do with himself. That’s when he discovers LeChuck and his zombie horde have a ship that’s heading back to Monkey Island.

Determined to discover the island’s secrets first, Guybrush embarks on a plan to get there. You’ll spend the first part of the game working out how to reach the island, before spending time on a ship on your way there. When you return to Monkey island, that’s when the real adventure begins.

Return to Monkey Island review

Finding Trivia cards

What’s the fun of playing a game if you don’t learn anything? As you play Return to Monkey Island, you’ll discover Trivia Cards along the way. They ask you multiple choice questions, and you’ll get a tick if you answer correctly. For some reason, getting it wrong makes the card vanish, so be careful

Return to Monkey Island review

Scrapbook memories

There’s a special treat for newbies to the series and those who’ve played the previous games. The main menu of Return to Monkey Island has a scrapbook section. When you click on it, you open a book with memories from the former titles. Selecting images will have Guybrush explaining what happened in each adventure.

Return to Monkey Island review

How does it take to play Return to Monkey Island?

Do you just want to complete the story, or is collecting every trivia card and exploring every part of the islands important to you? If you’re in the former group, Return to Monkey Island will take about 7 to 9 hours to play. Should you want to play the game to completion, you’ll see about 11 to 13 hours of gameplay. It also depends on how long it takes you to solve the puzzles.

Finding answers in Return to Monkey Island

That’s as much as you need to know about the story elements for Return to Monkey Island. Now, I’m going to explore some of the gameplay mechanics. Veterans of the series will quickly see how alike it is to previous titles.

Return to Monkey Island tooltips and hints

If you’ve never played a game in this series, Return to Monkey Island might scare you a bit at the start. It requires you to think and determine what to do next, even when it looks like there’s nothing left to do. Fortunately, you’ll see tooltips now and again when hovering your cursor over items. Also, you’ll have a hint book to guide you.

What I love about the hint book is that it doesn’t outright give you the solution. You’ll select a question, then keep selecting more questions until you reach the answer at the end. Return to Monkey Island wants you to try and find the solution on your own before telling you what to do.

Return to Monkey Island review

Pointing and clicking

The main way you’ll play Return to Monkey Island is by pointing and clicking at shops and items. If you’re using a controller, you can simply move the left stick to run around. Using a keyboard and mouse requires you to click on the screen where you want to walk, much like in Diablo III.

Return to Monkey Island review

Puzzles and clues

The essence of Return to Monkey Island is finding clues to your next actions. Guybrush will always have an overarching quest, such as reaching the island. However, there are small steps along the way you’ll have to complete first. When you reach an obstacle to a mission, you’ll need to work out how to overcome it.

Return to Monkey Island review

Traversing the map

While you’ll mostly travel between various scenes, there is a way to fast travel in the game. There are locations where the island’s map opens, which is when you can move Guybrush to different areas. It’s the best way to get to where you want to be quick so you don’t waste time.

Return to Monkey Island review

Helping others

Sometimes, progressing in Return to Monkey Island means helping others when they need it the most. Some quests require you to help NPCs with fetching items or doing something for them. I recommend you perform these menial tasks, as they usually result in a reward that will help you with a future puzzle.

Return to Monkey Island review

Searching everywhere and speaking to everyone

Here’s a quick tip for you. I know this Return to Monkey Island is meant to provide a detailed overview of the game, but I feel this will help you if you’re stuck without going to the hint book. Don’t skip areas or chats with NPCs. Otherwise, you may end up standing for a long time wondering what to do next.

Search every location to death and talk to all characters. There’s always something that will help you continue with your tasks, even if you don’t know it yet.

Return to Monkey Island review

Games like Return to Monkey Island you’ll enjoy

Obviously, any former games will be like Return to Monkey Island, such as The Secret of Monkey Island and The Curse of Monkey Island. Some other games with similar mechanics or gameplay are Day of the Tentacle Remastered, Full Throttle Remastered, and Gemini Rue.

Be sure to check out our full list of games like Monkey Island.

PC requirements

Return to Monkey Island doesn’t have demanding requirements relative to some of the latest AAA games I’ve been seeing. As long as you have the graphics card, memory, and storage sorted, you should be fine. It plays wonderfully on Windows 11 without any performance issues.

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD FX-4300 (4 * 3800) / Intel Core i3-3240 (2 * 3400)
  • Graphics: Radeon HD 7750 (1024 VRAM) / GeForce GT 640 (2048 VRAM) 
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Storage: 4 GB 

Return of casual and exciting music and visuals

Every past game has had slightly different visuals and sound components, making them unique. Return to Monkey Island has a very different art style while retaining similar themes and appearances. Let me explain in more detail.

Stellar art and visuals

Return to Monkey Island has a mostly 2D appearance, but you can move back and forward on the screen, too. Instead of the cartoonish or animated graphics we had before, you’ll see a new style that’s hard to describe. It definitely looks like a Monkey Island game, but body parts and items look like stickers on a scrapbook page.

Return to Monkey Island review

Beautiful scenes in Return to Monkey Island

Even with this style, there are impressive scenes on the various islands. You’ll love exploring all of them to see what you’ll stumble on next. Even the items you’ll find in stores and buildings are fascinating.

Superb voice acting and music

The brilliant voice acting returns in the series, and you’ll hear everyone talking to each other to save your eyes from reading. Even the scrapbook memories have audio, with is excellent. You’ll have different music for various scenes, changing every time you enter a new one.

Return to Monkey Island review

Final Verdict of Return to Monkey Island

Return to Monkey Island is a fun adventure game that mixes a bit of the old with the new. The story will have you hooked, but you’ll spend more time on puzzles than actually following the plow. There may be times when you’re hunting around forever for the next clue, and the hint book may be your only way out. Still, it’s a masterpiece fans of the series will love.

I have plenty of other games I’ve reviewed that you may enjoy. Have a look at my Shaun M Jooste profile on Softonic for other guides, articles, and gaming news. Specifically, check out Mirror Forge, Metal Hellinger, and Dune: Spice Wars reviews.

Pros

  • Excellent storyline with engaging quests
  • Beautiful scenes and visuals
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Plenty of areas to explore
  • Helpful hint book
  • Scrapbook takes you back to previous games

Cons

  • Some areas feel impossible to solve without a hint

Developer: Terrible Toybox

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Game Modes: Single-player

Platform reviewed: Windows 11 – Steam

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