Return to Monkey Island: Game Review

Return to Monkey Island: Game Review

The Monkey Island series of games does not have the richest, but interesting history. The director of the first two parts was Ron Gilbert. The sequel ended with a cliffhanger that left the audience with a lot of questions. Gilbert could not answer these questions, since he left LucasArts back in 1992, and further games in the series, created without his participation, told about other events. Now, more than 30 years later, Gilbert has managed to return to his brainchild. In Return to Monkey Island, he not only decided to continue the story of the second part, but tried to make the games he had nothing to do with canonical. The result turned out to be brilliant, but it can already be seen that at least one of the components of the novelty caused an ambiguous reaction from the audience.

Return to childhood

Although Return to Monkey Island will be enjoyed by those who are unfamiliar with past games, for fans this is a real gift with a lot of fanservice. They again find themselves on the island of Razni, meet familiar characters, see how they and the establishments on the streets have changed. Stan’s used ship shop, for example, is abandoned with its windows boarded up, but Wally’s cartographer shop is still open.

Advertising banner from sponsors

For those who do not remember the content of past games, there are plenty of reminders. The main character – the permanent Guybrush Threepwood does not miss the opportunity to remember his adventures when he stumbles upon some object. Either he will see the ship from the first part of the series, then in dialogues with his wife Elaine and other heroes he will mention something that you forgot or didn’t know about.

Return to Monkey Island Guybrush Threepwood

At the same time, the novelty does not roll into endless fan service. In addition to numerous references, it is full of funny jokes that will not make you laugh out loud, but will easily cheer you up. Although banal jokes are sometimes encountered (joking about long license agreements with stretched remarks is bad manners), you read and listen to most of the dialogues with pleasure. When Guybrush asks the voodoo lady about her name, which it’s time to name after so many years, even those who did not play the old Monkey Island will understand the joke and smile.

The central story is devoted to how Guybrush is trying to finally uncover the secret of Monkey Island. But he doesn’t have a team or a ship, and the eternal enemy LeChak set himself the same goal and is ready to travel much better. Find pirates? Get a ship? Get to LeChak in the team? Guybrush finds a solution pretty quickly, and after that the adventure begins with a variety of locations, some of which have not yet been seen in the series.

Return to Monkey Island LeChak

The community has been arguing for a long time about the visual style of the game – they say, the graphics are “hipster”, it would be better if the artists chose the classic version, as in the latest Leisure Suit Larry. Frankly, the graphics also seemed strange to me, but in the game itself it looks great or you quickly get used to it. The locations were especially successful, bright, juicy and lively – for example, in the forest you see insects flying past the camera. The characters are adorable, and the close-ups of their faces add momentum to the dialogue.

When the game came out, talk about the visual style faded into the background and fans started talking about the ending. So far, not everyone has managed to pass the novelty, but it is already noticeable that everyone has a different attitude towards the final. Spoilers aside, Return of Monkey Island ends exactly as the game from the creator of LeChuck’s Revenge and Thimbleweed Park should have ended. If you expected something else, you will be disappointed. If you are ready to put up with the author’s vision, and not immediately condemn it at the sight of the credits, then you will like this ending. I belong to the second camp – I think this ending is the best for the game and the whole epic.

Return to Monkey Island pirates

Modernized classic in Return to Monkey Island

But there is no dispute about the gameplay – this is a classic point-and-click quest in the spirit of the old Monkey Island. We add items to the inventory, communicate a lot, interact with objects. The puzzles are mostly not tricky, but that’s for the best – quests have always been distinguished by illogical riddles that were impossible to solve without hints, and here you rarely find yourself in a dead end.

Return to Monkey Island puzzles

If problems still arise, a hint book is available almost from the very beginning of the game. These are hints, not solutions – Return to Monkey Island reluctantly paints the necessary actions, at first giving only hints. But if they are not enough, then you can quickly move on to the solution and not suffer.

This is not the only attempt to modernize the genre. The character can run around the locations if you double-click on the selected place (sorry, it climbs slowly). And you don’t need to deal with pixel hunting thanks to the button that highlights objects with which you can interact.

Return to Monkey Island gameplay

The main feature is the presence of difficulty levels. They make the game accessible to everyone. In the simplified mode, puzzles require fewer actions, and in some cases, do not exist at all. The difficult mode throws up more riddles – it comes to the point that even the cards indicating the path to the goal change in each passage.

It turns out a standard adventure game with amenities. Apart from a couple of tedious “quests within quests” in the second half of the game, it’s hard to find fault with the novelty. Its atmosphere takes you back many years, when such games were more popular and eventually became classics. Perhaps the non-standard visual style and controversial ending will just help Return to Monkey Island to be remembered.

Return to Monkey Island quests


Return to Monkey Island is a very soulful quest made by people who were obviously interested in returning to this universe. There are no attempts to bring something new to the genre, thanks to which it would come to life. But in this case, nothing of the kind was required: fans have long wanted to see a new Monkey Island from the creator of the series – and they got it. Now they have to decide whether they are happy with the ending – and this may take a few more years.

Pros: a heartfelt story filled with old Monkey Island references; mostly good jokes, many of which will be understood even by those unfamiliar with the series; good puzzles, the conditions of which change depending on the level of difficulty; the visual style is very pleasant; a great soundtrack that perfectly complements the atmosphere; well-voiced characters; the hint system first dispenses with hints, and does not give a solution.

Cons: the ending will not appeal to all fans; in the second half of the game, running back and forth over trifles is a little tiring.

Questions about this game:

When is Return to Monkey Island release date?

Return to Monkey Island release date – Sep 19, 2022.

Who is developing Return to Monkey Island?

The Walt Disney Company acquired the rights to Monkey Island when it bought Lucasfilm in 2012; In 2019, Gilbert was in talks to create a new Monkey Island with designer Dave Grossman, who worked on the first two games. The return to Monkey Island was announced in April 2022.