We don’t normally cover point-and-click adventure games on our site, but Return to Monkey Island is a special exception. Incorporating elements like voodoo, ghastly pirate curses, and a series antagonist who’s literally risen from the dead more times than we can count, it’s a game that has more than enough adventure, comedy, and light-hearted horror to justify mentioning.
Return to Monkey Island marks the unexpected return of series creator Ron Gilbert and continues the story of the legendary pirate adventure games The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. This latest entry is developed by Gilbert’s Terrible Toybox studio and published by Devolver Digital in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games.
It’s been many years since wannabe pirate-turned-swashbuckler Guybrush Threepwood was last locked in a battle of wits with his nemesis, the zombie pirate LeChuck. His true love, Elaine Marley, has turned her focus away from governing and Guybrush himself is adrift and unfulfilled, having never found the Secret of Monkey Island. Hip, young pirate leaders led by Captain Madison have shuffled the old guard from power, Melee Island has taken a turn for the worse, and famed businessman Stan has been imprisoned for ‘marketing-related crimes’.
Banter with old friends and new faces on familiar islands now under dangerous new leadership. Then, take to the high seas and explore the new and unknown as you work your way out of tough predicaments. Clever puzzles, bizarre situations, and devastating ripostes are all that stand between Guybrush and glory.
- Return to Point & Click Swashbuckling – Bringing classic point-and-click gameplay to the modern-day, intrepid pirates will solve puzzles and explore the islands with a clever evolution of classic adventure game controls. Context-sensitive interactions, reactive dialog trees, and an easy-to-use inventory system make pirating a breeze.
- Embark on Archipelago Adventures – Navigate the sometimes-friendly confines of Melee Island, a familiar place that finds itself under new management by leaders who have put the squeeze on old friends and new faces. Venture out into uncharted lands like the aptly named Terror Island and the chilling outposts of Brrr Muda to make allies and enemies alike.
- Created by a Legendary Crew – This new chapter in the Monkey Island series is helmed by the iconic series’ creator Ron Gilbert, who is joined by game co-writer Dave Grossman, art director Rex Crowle (Knights & Bikes, Tearaway), and composers Peter McConnell, Michael Land, and Clint Bajakian (Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge).
When screenshots for the game were first released, I’ll admit I was a little shocked by the art style. Since then, however, it’s grown on me. It has a storybook quality similar to that featured in games like Broken Age and Child of Light. Ron Gilbert said that he didn’t want to make a retro, throwback game but instead “wanted the art in Return to Monkey Island to be provocative, shocking, and not what everyone was expecting.” I’d say he succeeded. I also have faith that the developers know what they’re doing and trust that their decisions fit with the type of game they want to make.
Beyond the visuals, the characters, puzzles, and dialogue all seem to have the same high standards of quality we’ve come to expect from the series. After waiting for what seems like an eternity, we finally get to experience Ron Gilbert’s vision of “Monkey Island 3a.”
Return to Monkey Island releases today on Switch and PC via Steam for a very reasonable $24.99. The developer has yet to confirm what other platforms the game may appear on in the future or whether there are any plans for a physical release.
You can check out the official launch trailer below.