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Return to Monkey Island Review for PlayStation 5

The “Monkey Island” franchise isn’t something I put too much thought into as I got older. They were just a computer game I used to play in my youth, while I enjoyed them, I was constantly gravitating to the next shiny new game, slowly forgetting about those point and click adventure games I spent so many hours playing. When I heard the franchise was coming back with “Return To Monkey Island” I thought “that’s pretty neat. Those games were pretty good from what I remember, maybe I should play them again.” Perhaps a few months ago I put on “The Secret Of Monkey Island” and “Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge” nearly back-to-back. I was flooded with such nostalgia and grew an immense appreciation for the game’s director Ron Gilbert had accomplished all the way back in 1990. My excitement level went through the roof when I had grasped how big of a deal it was that Ron Gilbert was coming back to this series. After getting myself all hyped up, does “Return To Monkey Island” deliver? It really does, in so many ways.

Return to Monkey Island Review for PlayStation 5

The story surprisingly takes place right after the events of the second game. If you aren’t interested in going back to play the first two titles, the game offers you a nice little scrapbook that summarizes the events so far. You still play the swashbuckler Guybrush (who continues to be a really great and fun protagonist) and your old foe LeChuck is still up to no good. This time LeChuck finds himself a map that will lead him to the secrets of Monkey Island. Guybrush has learned that the secrets are locked away and requires five keys to unlock them. Thus begins our fun little nostalgic journey filled with many returning characters I was happy to see along with some very pleasant new additions.

The most notable difference between this latest installment and the originals is the new art style. It’s very different from the previous games and while I was very much enjoying the pixelated look of the old games during my recent playthroughs, this fresh new look is actually quite beautiful. Everyone is still very cartoony, but with a cool abstract twist. The use of color in this 2D space is very bold and vibrant. It wasn’t long before I began to love this style more. Not only that, the overall presentation of “Return Of Monkey Island” looks and feels extremely polished. I have nothing bad to say about the writing or the voice cast. It’s witty, funny, and even charming whenever they need to be. Dialogue and story beats often hit on all cylinders whenever they’re needed.

So, like any point-and-click adventure game, there are constant puzzles that need to be solved. Oftentimes puzzles can hinder the game’s enjoyment depending on how well they’re implemented. I must say, this game made me feel really smart quite a few times, the level of satisfaction completing these puzzles and continuing on with the story is very high. If you get stuck on a puzzle, early on in the game you are bestowed upon a hint book that, well, supplies you hints on how to solve them. What’s really cool is these hints don’t even spoil anything for you, it just helps you on the right path, which I really dug.

Overall, “Return To Monkey Island” is a masterclass on how to do point-and-click adventures the right way. People who are not fans of the genre would be missing out if they never gave this one the time. I can easily see this becoming the gateway drug for many to get back into the genre. With an amazing set of characters, lots of laughs, and even heart, I was thoroughly charmed and I hope it does the same to you.


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Related: Reviews by Nick Navarro

Gaming since I was given an original Nintendo as a kid. I love great storytelling and unique ingenuity. When both collide in a single game, I'm a happy gamer. Twitter/IG @NickNavarro87