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Test – Return to Monkey Island: the cult license back – Geeko

Thirteen years after the last adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, the cult point and click series is back with a brand new episode. The pirate returns to service in this very good episode that is Return to Monkey Island.

The Monkey Island license returns after many years of inactivity with a new episode simply called “Return to Monkey Island”. Currently available only on Switch and PC, this new episode is published by Devolver Digital and developed by the Terrible Toybox studio. If the license was operated at the time by LucasArts (currently Lucasfilm Games), it obviously fell into the hands of Disney following the takeover of George’s production house. Devolver still managed to get their hands on the operating rights to Monkey Island a few years ago, enough to start a new episode. The latter is also directed by Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, two important figures in the series.

The game is a story that Guybrush tells his son.

The adventure begins with a small tutorial where we embody the son of Guybrush Threepwood, the protagonist of the series. The little one quickly joins his father, the latter will take the opportunity to tell him a story, that of one of his crazy adventures. This leap in time shows us a frustrated Guybrush of never having found the secret of Monkey Island. He decides to launch an expedition to unravel this mystery. The problem is that Guybrush is penniless, without a crew and without a ship to reach the island. He then lands on the island of Mêlée in the hope of finding a solution to his problem. He will meet many characters (some already known in the series, like his wife Elaine) and will very quickly hear about his sworn enemy: the zombie pirate LeChuck. The latter also seems to want to find the treasure of Monkey Island.

Return to Monkey Island is an adventure game where the narration is at the center of the experience, a point’n click that could not be more classic. The title is divided into several chapters that let us explore different areas, the goal will then be to interact with the many decorative elements and characters in order to collect information and objects to use to achieve our ends. A simple and effective formula, although perhaps a little too classic, which requires reflection to solve the enigmas that our objectives represent. The game is not very difficult to navigate, and generally offers us fair and understandable puzzles without being far-fetched. But he also thinks of those for whom it is not the cup of tea by proposing a system of indices. Return to Monkey Island also has a hard mode that puts a little more emphasis on puzzles, which are therefore a little more challenging.

The many sets of the game are very successful.

We must salute the script and the writing of this new episode. The plot is gripping and well thought out, while the characters, each more wacky than the other, give a real personality to the universe. The title does not lack humor and often offers us the possibility of adding to it with its many dialogue choices. In addition, it is not necessary to have done the previous episodes to get by. The title is understandable without having knowledge of past events, even if it offers many winks to fans of the license. The game even offers a memory album that allows you to reminisce about past events. It’s a shame to see that the latter lacks a bit of context and doesn’t really serve as a summary of previous games.

The return to Monkey Island is not done with the same graphic style as in previous games. The characters have a completely different rendering, but remain very detailed, colorful and particularly expressive. The title allows itself some animated sequences in the form of close-ups to accentuate certain conversations. This new artistic direction shines particularly with the different sets crossed during the adventure which are very successful. If the visual style obviously does not please everyone, we must still admit that it is very effective.

They never really influence the script, but the title offers many dialogue choices, sometimes very funny.

The game also offers a very nice soundtrack, made by composers who have worked on different episodes of the series. We can also note an absolutely successful dubbing in English, with the presence of many actors of the time. Unfortunately, the title does not offer dubbing in French, a real lack as the universe and the atmosphere lend themselves to it.

Return to Monkey Island is a successful, charming adventure game full of personality. The life of the title is similar to that of previous episodes, a dozen hours is sufficient to complete this epic. Its gameplay is never really surprising, but the title revisits a proven formula. A recipe that nevertheless adapts to our more modern practices, which offers an open door for newcomers as well as many references for fans.

Conclusion

The cult point and click series Monkey Island is back with an episode simply titled “Return to Monkey Island”. If the license now belongs to Disney, Devolver Digital has still managed to meet the conditions necessary for the creation of a new opus. Available only on Switch and PC, the title allows us, for the time of a tutorial, to control the son of Guybrush Threepwood, the protagonist of the series. Guybrush will then tell one of his adventures to his son, an adventure that we will play. Frustrated at not having found the secret of Monkey Island, the pirate decides to launch an expedition to solve this mystery. Unfortunately, he is without money, without a crew and above all, without a boat. He will then explore Mêlée Island in order to find a solution before his sworn enemy, the zombie pirate LeChuck, reaches Monkey Island before him. Worthy of previous episodes, the writing of this new adventure is a real success. Filled with humour, the screenplay turns out to be intelligent and shines thanks to its very particular universe. The gameplay is modernized, but still offers a classic and pleasant experience, without falling too much into crazy puzzles that can sometimes be seen in the genre. The title offers a very successful artistic direction and a lifespan close to the old games. Return to Monkey Island is a gripping and charming adventure, a return to the spirit of the first episodes while being accessible to a new audience, a true love letter to the series.

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Return to Monkey Island

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