In 1990, Ron Gilbert created the seminal point-and-click adventure Mystery of Monkey Island, It won hearts and did not let go for 32 years. In 1991, he concluded Monkey Island 2: Lechak’s Revenge On a banging rock. In 1992, he left LucasArts, and the secret third part of his trilogy went down in legend like a sunken ship. Fan communities for some decades theorized and imagined where the story would be going, desperate for confirmation from Gilbert or his colleagues.
In 2013, Gilbert wrote, “I’ve always envisioned the game as a trilogy” – he could only create one with “absolute control over what”. [he] and the only way to do that is to own it.” In 2015 he wrote, “Monkey Island is now owned by Disney and they have shown no desire to sell me the IP.” Last gasp of fans what if? was snuffed out. He mourns the annual April Fool’s Day on his blog, proudly living “Fool’s Day Free” for 18 years. He once tweeted, “If I ever get to make another Monkey Island, I’m going to announce it on April 1st.”
On April Fools’ Day 2022, Ron Gilbert joked, “I’ve decided to build another Monkey Island.”
And here we are. To say return to monkey island The hotly anticipated doesn’t quite capture the mental and emotional pilgrimage of aging gamers who were swayed as children by a pair of demonic eyes taunting the shores of Loot Island. this one event gameAnd perhaps the only conceivable phenomenon is sport – a hopelessly stagnant genre – despite a few scattered bright lights over the decades.
But what is this “return”? Return to the Past: Regressive Fan Service for 40-Somethings? A return to commercial interests: Submerged Monkey Island to accommodate post-sequel to questionable canonism? Or maybe… Perhaps… a return to form for the graphic adventure genre – when you didn’t know what point-and-click would do next, and were you excited about what you did?
Horrible Toybox, directed by Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, has set out to deliver something new, but at the same time, the whole game is pondering the question of “what Is Secret of Monkey Island?” – the rallying cry of giant monkeys around the world. We’re invited to join Guybrush in parallel campaigns for both the in-game Secret™ and some bigger, extraterrestrial mystery, which is exactly what we Have been craving all these years, and have any of them ever existed.
It is immediately clarified that the returns are going to be dependent on its history. The title screen menu directs players to a scrapbook that provides an overview of the story so far. it covers politely every monkey island game, but it is clear which ones are given priority. Monkey Islands 1 and 2 get a stunning multi-page retelling through illustrations painted in Return’s new art style, with every buckle lovingly washed. monkey island curse There is a neat spread of high-level plot points… and there were two other games.
Some of the most sensitive of Monkey Island fans will find out selective Respect for Gilbert’s later works. Perhaps it was our imagination, but gentle little digs were made on the direction the story was taken, with particular interest in how Elaine Marley was portrayed. When Guybrush sees an image of Ellen frozen in a statue in The Curse of Monkey Island, her comment that Lechuck “thinks of her as furniture” could easily be directed at the writers of that third game. It is emphasized on every occasion that Elaine in the first two games never needed a save by Guybrush. It’s ironic that Gilbert and co-writer Dave Grossman should work hard to save him here.
Looking back so far in the series, Return to Monkey Island feels fantastically fresh. It masters the nostalgia all around it and confidently adapts it to the fabric of its story. There’s a slew of new characters that instantly won our hearts – friend and foe – and the grand scale of adventure allows Space to bask in reimagined versions of familiar places, along with new locations filled with mystery and fun. Also mixes tons. The jokes and broad silly-seriousness are newer than before since 1991, choosing the right moments to recall classic lines but not make them the main attraction. The new art style speaks for itself and is brilliant in motion—and of course, cut for metafictional jokes as well. The variety of perspectives on the action, the depth of the visuals, and the mouth-watering intricacies of the characters’ tiny worlds are outstanding.
But the biggest win is probably the new interface, which provides a framework for every aspect of the game to hang together in a rich player experience. On the Switch (and in addition to touchscreen support), this is accompanied by direct joystick controls from Guybrush, using ‘R’ and ‘L’ to highlight interactive elements and cycle through them. It offers the exploratory experience of hovering the mouse to examine the scenery – the first pleasure of reaching a new area.
In a graphic adventure sense, there is no “action” – there is no on-screen selectable type of action to apply to objects in the world. However, in a more general sense, the verbs are infinite. Where some modern graphic adventures have reduced all interaction to “the thing to do”, Return to Monkey Island displays text to show what would happen by pressing a button. So instead of always seeing “Walk to…”, “Pick up…”, “Talk to…”, “Look at…” etc., Guybrush says “Brave…”, “Steal.. .”, “Clean the air …”, “Praise the excellent …” etc. It is regarded as another place for writers to play – a place for more jokes, surprises and rewards for progress.
The combination through this interface of graphics, writing, excellent voice work, and the gleeful reworking of new ideas and music is sublime. There is a strong sense of authoritative control over the entire experience, with everything flowing together to provide a coherent vision – a story of fun, adventure, liberation and sentimentality, acted through carefully designed and inspiring puzzles, set pieces And fitted with sides kept us laughing.
Given the depths of the well of fan obsession, it would have absurd Don’t draw on him to return to Monkey Island. It would have been absurd not to play for him, especially given the clamor for Ron Gilbert’s follow-up for his first two games. Likewise, it would be absurd to put this reliance on the game’s roots against it. Yes, for those who are not longtime fans of the first two matches Will Have a good time with Return to Monkey Island, but Terrible Toybox leverages the incredible storytelling ability of fan enthusiasm to deliver something rare and fantastic for those in the eye of the target audience. If that’s you, go ahead and add a score to the score below.
Maybe Return eventually found a way to exist for the remake-as-a-style multimedia craze, but if that’s the case it hasn’t affected the game: It’s crafted with complete integrity and an infectious glee. The scene that has been done shines upon everyone.
Coming back to Monkey Island reaches your heart, sabotages your desire to know The Secret, and binds it in front of your face. As hard as it is to accept that The Secret of Monkey Island™ will always have been a McGuffin, it’s painful to think that your 30 year old crave Monkey Island 3 just might be the same. Delighting as you tremble, Returns presents your transfixed gaze an unprecedented point-and-click adventure, bubbling with passion and fun. All the way, you’d expect, painfully, that the big reveal is coming – and then…