Return to Monkey Island Review - IGN (2022)

Return to Monkey Island

Newer and wiser.

Return to Monkey Island Review - IGN (1)

ByRyan McCaffrey

Updated:

Sep 23, 2022 9:09 pm

Posted:

Sep 19, 2022 4:00 pm

(Video) Return to Monkey Island Review

Return to Monkey Island is the adventure game equivalent of Spider-Man: No Way Home. No, wait, don’t go! Hear me out: most would agree that No Way Home is an excellent, very fun movie – even for a kid who’s never seen the Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films. But if you have made those movie memories with the Peter Parkers of the past, then No Way Home taps into something more: nostalgia, even eliciting genuine emotion at various points.

Return to Monkey Island, which very notably puts series creator Ron Gilbert back in the franchise’s director’s chair for the first time in 30 years, is a similar ride. It's a funny, beautiful, polished, and well-paced story packed with plenty of puzzles that are both hilarious and challenging for anybody who appreciates a good adventure game. And Return wisely offers "Guybrush's Scrapbook" in the main menu, as a fun, visual way to recap the previous Monkey Island games that's narrated by Guybrush. But for those like me, for whom the earliest Monkey Island games were a formative part of our gaming youth, this reunion with wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood feels like coming home. To this end, I loved the not-so-hidden Trivia Cards scattered around many scenes, testing your knowledge of the franchise.

The most obvious way that Return to Monkey Island differs from its predecessors is in its art style. Gilbert could’ve gone the pixel-art route to pluck some extra low-hanging nostalgia fruit, but instead he’s gone with a much bolder modern look. I’ll admit: I didn’t love it when I first saw it. It’s a jarring departure from the games I love, but then again, so was the first post-Gilbert Monkey Island game, the Curse of Monkey Island, which used a Disney-cartoon-like style that I adored. Return’s art direction is more abstract, but somewhere along the 11 hours it took me to complete the story I grew to love it. It uses a large swath of the color palette, and its over-the-top character design matches Monkey Island’s sense of humor nicely.

The delightful music could easily fool you into thinking you’re still in 1991.

(Video) Return to Monkey Island - How Guybrush's Scrapbook Recaps the First 2 Games

But while you’d never confuse Return to Monkey Island with any other game in the series at a glance, the delightful music could easily fool you into thinking you’re still in 1991. Composers Michael Land, Peter McConnell, and Clint Bajakian return with another pleasantly Caribbean score, and it goes a long way toward making this feel like a proper return to Monkey Island. The same goes with the voice cast, headlined by Dominic Armato as Guybrush Threepwood, who brings a restrained, straight-man sensibility to a game filled with often-absurd scenarios, though he isn’t afraid to sling a bit of sarcasm when the situation calls for it. Everyone in this world knows Guybrush is a well-meaning mess, but they can’t help but root for this hopeless underdog and be friends with him anyway. Armato’s performance is a big reason why I felt the same way; there’s an innocence to Guybrush that shines through.

And what of the plot? Return is set just after Monkey Island 2, but it’s framed in a clever way I didn’t expect. That showed me a new side of Monkey Island: its big heart, which becomes quickly evident in the playable Prelude that I won’t spoil here, and keeps getting called back to throughout. Its overarching story involves – what else – the search for the Secret of Monkey Island, and that quest revolves around Guybrush’s never-ending rivalry with the zombie-pirate villain LeChuck, and their love-not-really-a-triangle with Elaine Marley. In fact, Return obsesses over the foundational mystery far more than any of its predecessors did, and it’s played up to repeated comedic effect. Our decades of wondering if Gilbert will ever reveal the real Secret of Monkey Island is mirrored in the game, with even Guybrush’s wife Elaine musing about why our hero continues to cling to it. In the process, it revisits familiar locations like Melee Island and of course Monkey Island, and takes us to new ones; just as it also brings back familiar faces (like Murray!) and introduces a host of new characters. Shout-out to Locke Smith, who you’ll visit on several occasions and who is well aware that her very name is a pun.

Happily Puzzled

An excellent story and memorable characters are just one half of the classic puzzle game equation: the other is a series of puzzles that are both challenging and satisfying to solve, serving as the bedrock of any great point-and-click adventure. Return serves up a hearty helping of them here, always including a thread of comedy running through the traditional question of which item you should use on what person or location at every turn. Solving puzzles is as satisfying a dopamine hit as ever, and the 2022 iteration of Monkey Island has learned to avoid the infamously obtuse “adventure game logic” that so often made people bounce off of the originals back in the day.

Return to Monkey Island – Gamescom 2022

The puzzle structures and solutions don’t really tread new ground, but none were so abstract as to leave me wondering how the heck I’d have ever come up with the solution once I figured it out. And while nothing ever frustrated me to the point of wanting to quit and try again later with a refreshed mind, I did occasionally get a bit stuck in the mud, as is par for the course in these games – such as when I had to use an “apology frog” to win back the favor of Melee Island’s governor, Carla. So I made use of Guybrush’s always-available hint book here and there, and I quickly learned I didn’t need to swallow my pride entirely before resorting to it. It’s a very welcome evolution of a feature first introduced to the series in LucasArts’s 2009 remasters of Monkey Island 1 and 2, and it feels guilt-free to use because it’s not simply a tome of spoilers like using a walkthrough.

Instead, it gives you hints layer by layer, nudging you in the right direction but still preserving the feeling of satisfaction you get from eventually solving the puzzle yourself. Only once, in fact, did the hint book tell me something I genuinely didn’t want to know at that moment. The new To-Do List also helps you keep track of everything you’re currently working on trying to solve without making it feel like you’re being led around by the nose.

Monkey Island: The Complete Playlist

Here's the entire Monkey Island series, from 1990's "Secret" to 2022's "Return". Log in to track which ones you've played and completed.

See All

The Secret of Monkey IslandLucasArts
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's RevengeLucasArts
The Curse of Monkey IslandLucasArts
Escape From Monkey IslandLucasArts
Tales of Monkey IslandTelltale Games
Tales of Monkey Island -- Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming NarwhalTelltale Games
Tales of Monkey Island -- Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner CayTelltale Games
Tales of Monkey Island -- Chapter 3: Lair of the LeviathanTelltale Games
Tales of Monkey Island -- Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush ThreepwoodTelltale Games
Tales of Monkey Island -- Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate GodTelltale Games
(Video) Return to Monkey Island - A Look at the Hint System

Verdict

After decades of believing that we’d never see Gilbert get to make his Monkey Island 3, I was in no way disappointed with Return’s conclusion. In fact, it moved me, and made clear that Gilbert cares as much about these characters as we fans do. I expected Return to Monkey Island to be funny. I expected it to have good and often-zany puzzles and hilarious puzzle solutions. You can see that in its writing, its acquired-taste art style, and its delightfully upbeat music. But I didn’t expect it to have such heart. Monkey Island has been known almost solely for its comedic prowess over the past three decades, but Return reminded me of why I first fell in love with Guybrush Threepwood in a way that will have me thinking about it for a long time. What longtime fans get out of it is definitely going to be markedly different from what newcomers take away from it, but I can say that Return to Monkey Island meant a lot to me before I ever clicked to start a New Game, and it meant far more after the end credits rolled.

Return to Monkey Island Review

EDITORS' CHOICE

Review scoring

amazing

Return to Monkey Island expectedly comes packed full of smartly crafted puzzles, funny dialogue, and memorable characters. But as series creator Ron Gilbert returns to the series’ director’s chair for the first time since 1991, it unexpectedly offers a lot of heart, too. It is an adventure gamer’s delight.

Ryan McCaffreyReviewed on PC

(Video) Return to Monkey Island Nintendo Switch Review - Is It Worth It?

FAQs

Is Return to Monkey Island for kids? ›

Return to Monkey Island is rated by PEGI at 12 and above and by the ESRB at Everybody 10+.

Is Return to Monkey Island a sequel? ›

Devolver Digital and Lucasfilm Games (what an odd couple, am I right?) recently announced Return to Monkey Island, a new sequel to the classic adventure game series. Ron Gilbert, one of the figureheads of the original Monkey Island and its first sequel, is… making his return with Return.

How long does it take to finish Monkey Island? ›

Powered by IGN Wiki Guides
Single-PlayerPolledAverage
Main Story4616h 39m
Main + Extras1217h 38m
Completionist1527h 28m
All PlayStyles7346h 59m

What is Ron Gilbert doing now? ›

In 2013, he announced that he would move on from Double Fine Productions, after releasing the game The Cave with them. In 2017, he announced Thimbleweed Park with Terrible Toybox, serving as writer, designer, and programmer since 2014.

Should I play Return to Monkey Island? ›

Still, the payoff of the game's final act — and the entire journey that leads up to it — makes “Return to Monkey Island” a game well worth your time. Monkey Island is a series that has been surprisingly resistant to the sequel escalation that affects other long-running video games franchises.

Why is Monkey Island Popular? ›

The Monkey Island series is known for its humor and "player-friendly" qualities. The player cannot permanently place the game in an unwinnable state or cause Guybrush to die without great effort.

Is Return to Monkey Island the final game? ›

Return To Monkey Island Being The End Of The Series Is "Unlikely", Says Ron Gilbert. The Monkey Island series might not be over after all.

Does Return to Monkey Island ignore? ›

That said, it doesn't ignore the events of all the games that came after Monkey Island 2 (none of which the aforementioned Ron Gilbert was involved in). How it does that should be interesting to see, but Gilbert has provided some curious hints.

Is Return to Monkey Island a point and click? ›

Return to Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game developed by Terrible Toybox and published by Devolver Digital.

Does Monkey Island have multiple endings? ›

Return to Monkey Island has multiple endings depending on the choices you make at the end of the game. On this page, you can find a detailed description of the known endings, as well as the steps you'll need to take to unlock them.

Why is it called the Monkey Island? ›

Local fishermen would come to the island and pay to fish. Even back then, money was colloquially known as 'monkey', hence 'Monkey Island', because if you were coming to the island, you were going to spend a lot of money.

Can you walk to Monkey Island? ›

While you can't walk or hike to Monkey Beach Phi Phi you can rent a kayak and cruise just around the bend to get there.

What did Ron Gilbert say about Monkey Island? ›

For many years, Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert said he'd never make another game in the series unless he owned the IP. The LucasArts franchise was acquired, along with the rest of the company, by Disney in 2012, and since then, Gilbert has made some attempts to get the rights back.

Will Ron Gilbert make another Monkey Island game? ›

Crazier still: In 2022, 30 years after his last Monkey Island game, Ron Gilbert announced he is making a new Monkey Island game, Return to Monkey Island. A game that will resolve the cliffhangers and provide resolutions to the events Monkey Island fans have been stewing over for the past 30 years. This is a big deal.

Who made Thimbleweed Park? ›

Which Monkey Island game should I play? ›

For players to get the full picture, they'll need to first play through The Secret of Monkey Island, the original 1990 graphic adventure game. The general plot of The Secret of Monkey Island sees players control Guybrush Threepwood, a charismatic young man whose only goal in life is to become a pirate.

Should I do Iki Island before beating the game? ›

You'll be able to start Iki Island after completing the first act in Ghost of Tsushima. But for the sake of story purposes, the best time to play Iki Island is after finishing the main story. This is to ensure that you have all of the required armor and skills, since the new DLC area is filled with dangerous enemies.

Can you start a new island without deleting your old one? ›

Animal Crossing: Starting A New Island Makes Deleting Your Save Worth It. Animal Crossing: New Horizons only allows one save file per Nintendo Switch, so players will have to hit delete if they want to build a new island.

How long are the Monkey Island games? ›

The estimated time to complete all 12 The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition achievements is 4-5 hours. This estimate is based on the median completion time from 849 TrueAchievements members that have completed the game.

Is Monkey Island an RPG? ›

If you're in search of an adventure RPG, then monkey island would be a good choice for you. It's one of the most unique games out there, and it's a lot of fun to play.

Why did Monkey Island close? ›

Monkey Island, the man-made mountain just inside the South Gate and home at one time to more than 70 Guinea baboons, was quietly closed last week after its three remaining inhabitants were euthanized “due to quality-of-life concerns,” according to a press release. The baboons ranged in age from 22 to 27 years old.

What was the last one piece game? ›

One Piece Fighting Path

Did winds meet? ›

Where Winds Meet is set during the beginning of the Northern Song Dynasty period of Chinese history, at the end of the 10th century C.E. The player takes on the role of a wandering swordsman during this age of war and conflict.

What was the last Dead island game? ›

Escape Dead Island

Did Return to Monkey Island sell well? ›

Return To Monkey Island Becomes Fastest Selling Game In The Series. What grew from many years in waiting has become a stellar opening month for Return to Monkey Island.

Is The Secret of Monkey Island difficult? ›

The Secret of Monkey Island isn't the hardest adventure of all time and it's definitely a walk in the park if you've played any of the Discworld games, but it's still possible to get stuck in the game (though there's only one place where you can actually get into an unwinnable state).

How many hours is Secret of Monkey Island? ›

The original "The Secret of Monkey Island" takes about seven hours according to HowLongToBeat and "Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge" takes about seven hours as well.

Why was Monkey Quest shutdown? ›

Monkey Quest closed on September 26, 2014, due to a "shifting focus towards other digital and mobile experiences." The app Monkey Quest: Thunderbow was removed from the App Store on July 31, 2014. After the game's discontinuation, numerous attempts at resurrecting the game have been made.

How many acts does Return to Monkey Island have? ›

The game has five acts to get through, along with a prelude section that serves as a fantastic tutorial. Whether you're a series veteran or a newbie trying to see what all the fuss is about, Return to Monkey Island's story will keep you engrossed.

Can you kayak to Monkey Island? ›

Cayo Santiago, also known as Monkey Island, is shaped like a lower case r, and is a research colony/habitat to a bunch of Rhesus Monkeys. And you can kayak out to the island for up close viewing of the Monkeys! A couple friends of mine booked a kayaking trip to Monkey Island and invited me along.

What game has the most endings ever? ›

15 Games With The Most Possible Endings, Depending On How You Play
  • 7/15 Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – 52.
  • 6/15 BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend – 62.
  • 5/15 Time Travelers – 71.
  • 4/15 Princess Maker 2 – 74.
  • 3/15 428: Shibuya Scramble – 85.
  • 2/15 Star Ocean: The Second Story – 87.
  • 1/15 Star Ocean: Second Evolution – 100.
25 Feb 2021

What game has a lot of endings? ›

Alternate endings
GameRelease yearNumber of endings
428: In a Blockaded Shibuya200885
Der Langrisser199575
Princess Maker 2199374
Time Travelers201271
93 more rows

What happens if you choose Arasaka ending? ›

Rather than drag all of the players' allies into danger, V and Johnny decide to handle Arasaka themselves. It becomes one last suicide run where they both get to die on their own terms, killing everyone in their path in order to find Mikoshi.

Is Monkey Island a real place? ›

Morgan Island is one of the Sea Islands, located in Beaufort County, South Carolina, just north of Beaufort. It is also known as Monkey Island due to its colony of free-ranging rhesus monkeys, established in 1979.

What is Monkey Island based on? ›

Based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney parks, the game told the story of Guybrush Threepwood, who was on a quest to become a mighty pirate. Along the way, he seeks the mysterious Monkey Island and makes an enemy of the Ghost Pirate LeChuck.

Where is Monkey Island filmed? ›

Documentary series about toque macaques of Sri Lanka.

What should I wear to the Monkey Forest? ›

There is no dress code required when you go to Ubud Monkey Forest. However as a sanctuary filled with actual temples, be respectful of the local attire and make sure you are covered. Avoid spaghetti straps and wear a tank top or T-shirt. Cover your legs and wear a sarong, skirt or loose-fitting pants.

How long do people spend at Monkey Forest? ›

How long will it take? Monkey Forest is the perfect attraction for all ages and most visitors spend around 2 -4 hours here.

What do you do on Monkey Island? ›

If you want to go and explore the Monkey Island, boat trips are an ideal way to go while participating in different activities. During these types of tours, you can watch, feed and play with the monkeys; swim in the Amazon River and admire the rich vegetation with walks nearby.

Is Escape from Monkey Island canon? ›

However, Return to Monkey Island developers Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman just assured fans that all the titles in the franchise will remain canon.

How did the monkeys get on Monkey Island in Puerto Rico? ›

The island, known locally as Monkey Island, first became home to these unlikely inhabitants in the late 1930s, when primatologist Clarence Carpenter brought about 450 of the monkeys by ship from India to the 38-acre island to study their social and sexual behaviors.

Can you go to Monkey Island Puerto Rico? ›

The island is not open to tourists, but you can get a view of the monkeys from the water.

How many Monkey Island games were there? ›

There have been a total of five games in the series, with the most recent outing being Tales of Monkey Island, released in 2009 and developed by Telltale Games.

What happened to the new Dead Island game? ›

Set several months after the events of Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, Dead Island 2 differentiates itself from its predecessors by taking place in the city of Los Angeles, which has been quarantined due to the zombie outbreak. The game is scheduled to be released on February 3, 2023.

Will There Be a Monkey Island 6? ›

Also known as Monkey Island 6 or RtMI, it was developed by Ron Gilbert's Terrible Toybox and published by Devolver Digital and Lucasfilm Games. The game was teased in a blog post by Ron Gilbert on April 1, 2022 before being properly announced three days later on April 4, 2022. It released on September 19, 2022.

Is Thimbleweed Park hard? ›

Even though the hard difficulty is harder than the casual mode, I would still not consider Thimbleweed Park to be an overly difficult game. I wouldn't consider the game to be easy either but if you have played a lot of point and click games you probably aren't going to be stumped by most of the puzzles.

Is Thimbleweed Park a good game? ›

It's not a comedy like Monkey Island, and its voice cast doesn't always do the best job of breathing life into the humor that's there, but its occasional how-far-can-I-take-this conversation trees and densely packed puzzle chains make Thimbleweed as deep and memorable of an adventure game as I've played in years.

Is Thimbleweed Park free? ›

Thimbleweed Park™ Available for FREE NOW!

Is Islands of Adventure good for 4 year olds? ›

The Islands of Adventure are generally kid-friendly with suitable rides on Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, the Wizarding World, and Seuss Landing. The Seuss Landing area is perfect for very young kids, but most of the park is entertaining for the younger crowd.

Does Islands of Adventure have kid friendly? ›

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort is one of the best parks in Orlando for families with small kids and preschoolers. There are play areas where kids can climb and explore, fun rides that kids and parents can enjoy together and special interactive experiences.

Is the island OK for kids? ›

The MPAA rated The Island PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexuality and language.

What age is island of adventure good for? ›

All ages can enjoy this ride, but those under 48 inches must be supervised.

Which park is better Universal or Islands of Adventure? ›

If you are contemplating Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios for adults, then you would consider Islands of Adventure more. However, if you want fun for the whole family, Universal Studios is perfect for slightly more shows and kid-friendly attractions (especially for those under 5 years-old).

What is better Universal Studios vs Islands of Adventure? ›

The easiest way to tell the difference is that Universal Studios is based more on movies and TV shows, whereas Islands of Adventure is where the fantasy and thrill rides are. The most unique park of the three is Volcano Bay, which is a fully themed water park that feels like you've discovered your own paradise island.

Which Universal park is best for Harry Potter? ›

When it comes to which Harry Potter park is better at Universal, Diagon Alley in Islands of Adventure is the clear winner. They have more shops, more merchandise, and the fun of trading your money for Gringotts bank notes.

Which Universal park is best for kids? ›

So which Universal park is better for kids? We find that Universal Studios is the better choice as it has plenty of kid-friendly options when it comes to rides, shows, and character meet and greets! We feel like Islands of Adventure does have some great rides in Dr.

What is the best age to go to Universal Studios? ›

I think the Universal parks are more appropriate for older children (say from the age they need an adult ticket -10 and up). They have more thrill rides there and more rides that require height restrictions. A lot of the rides seem to have a darker, scarier tone than the rides at other parks.

Do you need a full day at Islands of Adventure? ›

Not all guests are going to spend a full day at Islands of Adventure. We advise spending a full day at both of Universal Orlando's parks, though, and so this one-day plan is built with that in mind.

What age is Smile? ›

Smile Age Rating: What Ages Can Really Watch This One? Smile is rated R for strong violent content, gory images, and language.

Is Yes Day suitable for 6 year olds? ›

Because of some questionable content and the possibility that children might copy some of the activities and behaviour in the story, we don't recommend Yes Day for younger children. Rather, it's best enjoyed by older children and parents.

Is Yes Day suitable for 8 year olds? ›

Lots of laughs but needless mature content. Watched this with my 7- and 10-year olds. On the whole thought it was a pretty good "family" movie - meaning, entertaining for the kids and the adults.

Should you wear a bathing suit to Islands of Adventure? ›

Our advice: Wear sandals and a bathing suit unless you want squishy socks and wet underwear. Check out other must-see attractions in our picks for the 12 best rides at Universal Orlando.

Which Universal park is better for adults? ›

Which Universal park is best for adults? We find Universal's Islands of Adventure to be the best Universal Studios park for adults. It simply has the most exciting roller coasters and newest attractions.

Which Disney park is best? ›

Without question, Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney World Resort's best theme park. It opened in 1972 as Disney World's original theme park. Today, Magic Kingdom remains Disney's crown jewel and the single most popular theme park in the world.

Videos

1. Is Monkey Island the Funniest Game Ever Made?
(IGN)
2. Return To Monkey Island Review
(GameSpot)
3. Return to Monkey Island - Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer
(IGN)
4. Return to Monkey Island - Exclusive Extended Gameplay
(IGN)
5. I recommend: Return to Monkey Island (Review)
(Skill Up)
6. Return to Monkey Island - 12 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy
(GamingBolt)

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