Coming back to Monkley Island thirty years later with Guybrush Threepwood, Elaine and the pirate LeChuck is thrilling but demeaning at the same time. Because it means returning to the nineties, to the point and click adventures of Lucasfilm Games to a videogame writing that has been lost in time. A part of you would like to bring that genre back to success, find some modernity in it but it’s like pretending to watch the cult movie The Blues Brothers with your son or any member of Generation Z and convince him to love it as you did. It does not work. Exactly like Return to Monkey Island.
Behind this project there is really all or most of the “band” of the beginnings, only Tim Schafer is missing. The two authors Ron Gilbert & Dave Grossman have reworked their creation, abandoning pixel art for a more contemporary graphic style and game structure. The result is an unprecedented nostalgia operation. But it’s a bit like going to hear PinkFloyd without Roger Water. The songs are always the same but something is missing. Return to Monkey Island is a well-organized revival but, let’s say it right away, Tim Schafer’s writing style and brilliant irony are an absence that is felt.
Where were we?
It starts from the playground where the second chapter Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge ended to explain what had happened in the past. In any case, we want to reassure it will start again from Mêlée Island and this time the mission will be to discover the secret of Monkey Island once and for all. We will find Ealine, however, who is no longer the governor of the island, the Grog, the talking skull, the drunken pirates and the mythical salesman Stan S. Stanman.
What we liked.
We will find the point and click adventures but with revised and updated gameplay. The game for PC and Nintendo Switch will appear simplified compared to the previous chapters. In this sense there is some modernity. You will not be forced to hear all the dialogue, the passages are more linear, there is the notebook that reminds you what to do, there is even a casual mode where you can focus on the story rather than the puzzles. In short, you will not waste time hovering the mouse over each pixel to search for the clue or object you need.
What we didn’t like.
The choices of artistic direction but it is a really subjective question. The writer preferred the first Guybrush Threepwood, the one all pixelated. The real and only flaw is all too simple. The advice is not to delay and choose Hard Mode. The best memories are the ones where you struggled the most.