The highly-anticipated point and click adventure game revival Return to Monkey Island is ready to go on PlayStation 5. Check our Return to Monkey Island review!
The highly-anticipated point and click adventure game revival Return to Monkey Island is ready to go on PlayStation 5. It’s a return to form for the long-running and beloved series that last saw a new installment way back in 2009 by way of the Tales of Monkey Island episodic adventure from Telltale Games, which made its way to PlayStation 3 as a full season in a single go. And yes, we most certainly got to review Tales of Monkey Island on Sony’s console! It’s now 2022, and it’s once again time to go on a new adventure with Guybrush Threepwood, Elaine Marley, and the evil ghost pirate LeChuck.
We’re getting a true-to-form point and click experience created by Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, along with art director Rex Crowle – from Knights and Bikes and Tearaway, alongside composers Peter McConnell, Michael Land, and Clint Bajakian, who worked on Monkey Island and its sequel, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. The developer proper is Ron Gilbert’s Terrible Toybox – who you might remember from the excellent old-school infused Thimbleweed Park. It’s another great game published by Devolver Digital.
Return to Monkey Island offers two difficulty settings. One is what we’d usually call the standard experience, and it’s billed as the Hard Mode. If you choose it, then you’ll need to locate additional items and solve some extra puzzles here and there to eventually complete your quest. The second one – Casual Mode – will offer an overall more chill experience with not as many steps for solving each puzzle, which is a lot easier for those without a lot of expertise with point and click adventure games.
Return to Monkey Island uses a very interesting art style that helps to make every single character you meet stand out. It’s also a great choice for the locations you explore since it pays homage to the classics in the franchise while giving us a point and click adventure game fit for the 21st century. We once again get to enjoy the excellent performances of Dominic Armato as Guybrush Threepwood and Alexandra Boyd as Elaine Marley, with Jess Harnell joining the cast as LeChuck, who you’ve heard in hundreds of projects, with highlights including Wakko Warner from Animaniacs, a bunch of voices in Doc McStuffins, Crash Bandicoot, Roger Rabbit in the Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin ride, and many more!
The story begins by way of an extended tutorial during which Boybrush – that would be the son of Guybrush and Elaine – is playing with his friend Chuckie as they reenact Treepwood’s adventures. After completing this prologue, during which you’ll learn all of the basic gameplay mechanics for controlling your character, finding out more about this and that, collecting items, using said items to solve puzzles, and more, Boybrush will mention to Guybrush how, during The Secret of Monkey Island, he never did find the aforementioned secret. This prompts Guybrush to tell his son the story of how he went on an adventure to find the secret of Monkey Island.
As the story goes, Guybrush was set on finding the secret of Monkey Island when he learned that LeChuck was also aiming to find said secret. Without a ship or a crew for it, Guybrush travels to Mêlée Island to try and gain the favor of the Pirate Leaders so that their patronage can take care of all the costs associated with said endeavor. Unfortunately, there are new Pirate Leaders to deal with, and they’re not thrilled about having to deal with you. With no ship and no crew, the only course of action is to get onboard LeChuck’s ship to then try and steal the book and its crew.
You’ll control Guybrush Threepwood with the left analog stick as you walk around each area. Press and hold down the R2 button to speed things up and make Guybrush run. The X button can be used for interacting with other characters to start a conversation or to check any of the many points of interest in each area. You can cycle between any hotspots near you by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons and can also use the right analog stick to change the selected hotspot. The items you collect will be added to your inventory, which you can open by pressing the Triangle button. You can go into your inventory and select an item to then use it with another item or with a character.
The game has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy, and it includes 24 Bronze trophies, 12 Silver trophies, and 3 Gold trophies. Some of the trophies will unlock as you progress through the game, but there’s a big chunk of them that are very much missable. A handful of them can be unlocked as you play through more than one chapter, which is good news! Several of the trophies can be obtained during the first and fourth chapters of the game, giving you a chance to fix some of your mistakes. With some creative use of saves, you can end up getting all trophies in a single run, as long as you pay attention to what I’m about to mention next.
There’s one set of trophies in particular tied to finding and answering 100 trivia cards, which act as the game’s collectibles. Each of the trivia cards will present to you a question about the series, referencing previous entries in the franchise or being directly tied to the content in Return to Monkey Island. Once you collect the trivia book, you’ll be able to search for the many trivia cards you can find during your journey. Trivia cards will spawn at specific spots, so once you’ve collected them, you should immediately answer their questions so that new cards can respawn a handful of minutes later. Those that are new to the series might have a bit of trouble answering all of them correctly, so you might want to check this Return to Monkey Island Trivia Cards Guide.
It’s been over a decade since the last time we joined Guybrush Threepwood on an adventure, but the wait has certainly been worth it! I greatly enjoyed my time with Return to Monkey Island. The solid writing, the new art style, and the performance from the cast make for a very memorable experience. Return to Monkey Island is out on PlayStation 5 with a $24.99 asking price, and it’s a must-play for adventure game fans – and one that Monkey Island fans – and point and click adventure fans – need to add to their collection ASAP.
This Return to Monkey Island review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Devolver Digital.