Return to Monkey Island

Cover Art - Return to Monkey Island
Return to Monkey Island is an unexpected, thrilling return of series creator Ron Gilbert that continues the story of the legendary adventure games The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games.
Platforms Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac OS
Developer Terrible Toybox
Publisher Devolver Digital
Player Count 1

Game Review

No Review Yet

Journal Entries

September 26th, 2022

Oh, I have missed the old-school point-and-click adventure games. I have been waiting for Return to Monkey Island since its announcement. And this week, that release date finally arrived. I ended up playing on the Switch, and upfront Return to Monkey Island on Switch is fine. The controls are a little flakey and have some quirks.

I decided to play on Switch because I needed to walk away from the PC for a while. Finding things of interest to interact with is the heart of a point-and-click, but using a controller as a mouse can be frustrating. On the Switch, depending on where you stand there are areas highlighted to select. It works, but the positions are tricky to line up. They can disappear completely once you choose one option. This is my biggest complaint about Return to Monkey Island on Switch. It may also apply to other console releases in the future.

But that is the only downside I have met playing Return to Monkey Island. I am loving the game, and intend to take my time enjoying it.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Melee Island
Welcome back to Melee Island

The first choice of the game is playing in casual or hard mode. I jumped straight into hard mode, for the full Monkey Island experience. After playing for a few hours, I ended up looking up what the difference is.

The short version I found without spoilers – some puzzles are quicker to solve in casual mode. Not easier, only that you don’t need to complete some extra steps. As Return to Monkey Island has an inbuilt hint book, I would suggest playing straight on hard mode.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Finding the map may be different on casual
How you get this map may be different on casual mode

If you have never played the series, I think you will be OK jumping straight in. There is a scrapbook with the highlights like Le Chuck is your rival and Elaine your wife. Other bits and pieces have come out in gameplay that I was aware of. Not enough to be exposition dumps, but enough to let you continue knowing there is backstory.

For example, the joke about explaining Loom will be lost on new players, but it has no impact on gameplay. If you played Monkey Island, you know who I am talking about. If you haven’t, there is enough to let you know that there was joke and don’t stress.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Ask him about Loom
Do you remember Lucasart’s Loom?

I have had a lot of fun playing the game, and I am currently in the third act of the game. Because Return to Monkey Island isn’t a week old, I won’t go into any more detail this week. But if you were curious, I can’t recommend it enough. I am having a ball playing, and have had multiple instances of laughing out loud.

I can’t recommend Return to Monkey Island enough.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Even the preorder joke might go over some players heads
Even the preorder bonus is a deep-cut joke on gaming in general

October 3rd, 2022

Work had been a large obstacle to gaming last week. The largest part that disappointed me about this was the lack of Monkey Island time. Once work was complete, I had a solution. This made Sunday a deep-cut ‘Return to Return to Monkey Island’ time!

Continuing Act 3, I spent a fair bit of time running around Monkey Island finding clues about LeChuck. You need to find out some personal facts about LeChuck to break a spell. A little bit of commentary about cryptography and social engineering there?

In any event, I enjoyed exploring the island. I also laughed at quite a few creative solutions to get the required information!

20221003 - Return to Monkey Island - Funny Deaths
I got a little confused and kept waiting for Sierra’s “Funny” deaths

One optional part of Return to Monkey Island has been the trivia cards. Some have been ‘have you been paying attention’ type questions. Others have been facts about the series overall. I have been doing well with these ones, but I have messed up a few in-game questions so far.

On the Switch, I don’t know if I want to find all the trivia cards. It’s not that I am not enjoying the challenge. I spoke last week about the occasionally frustrating controls with the Switch. I assume the inevitable Return to Monkey Island console releases will have the same quirky behaviour.

Missing an item because the interface decided you aren’t in the right spot is frustrating. Doubly so if it’s a collectable. It’s not a huge negative to the gameplay experience, but it isn’t a seamless bump either. Hopefully, Return to Monkey Island can continue to work on this aspect over time.

20221003 - Return to Monkey Island - Trivia
Some test my memory more than others

I am looking forward to finishing Return to Monkey Island soon. Worst case, I will be playing on Switch on the way to PAX Aus later this week! I can think of worse ways to amuse myself on a flight.

One thing though – the title of Act 4 sounds like a normal day at work for me though!

20221003 - Return to Monkey Island - Part 4
Things have a way of doing that

October 17th, 2022

In the lead-up to PAX Aus, I enjoyed resting up. This is where Return to Monkey Island on the Switch came into its own. Napping and playing on the Switch meant I could rest and enjoy a long-awaited game at the same time. Of course, I had to finish Return to Monkey Island.

And finish it I did. Without going into spoilers, I feel the fourth-act puzzles were easier to solve though. It is possible I was ‘in the groove’ and had the logic down by this time though. Either way, I was enjoying Return to Monkey Island’s pacing and puzzles.

20221017 - Return to Monkey Island - Beneath the Monkey Head
What secrets will the Monkey Head reveal this time?

The pirate LeChuck and the new Pirate Leaders had me running in circles. Being the ‘bad guys’ though, they messed with each other just as much. This also gave me the chance to reacquaint myself with locales from previous games.

Return to Monkey Island is a terrific play on words in so many ways. I would love to go into more detail, but doing so will take some of the shine and surprise off any first playthrough. And I do think many will enjoy Return to Monkey Island, and the Monkey Island series as a whole.

20221017 - Return to Monkey Island - Double Triple Cross
Bad guys double and triple crossing each other – who would have guessed?

I must say the finicky control scheme in handheld mode annoyed me more than in docked mode. It wasn’t because the highlights didn’t appear more in handheld mode. Playing on the smaller screen I found myself bringing the screen up to my eyes more to see if there was a highlight. This could be my eyes though – I am getting older.

If you are playing in handheld mode only, take a little more time to look at the screen. You need to make sure that you can investigate everything to get the most out of Return to Monkey Island.

20221017 - Return to Monkey Island - Behold My Stuff
In the words of Skurge – “Behold! My Stuff!”

There is a solid chance I will pick up Return to Monkey Island on PlayStation. There are achievements in-game, and they are not complicated. Especially as I know what I missed! A solid afternoon enjoying Monkey Island and earning a Platinum seems like a fun weekend in the future.