Return To Monkey Island – A Classic Reborn

Anyone alive in 1990 will likely have played The Secret Of Monkey Island. The classic point-and-click adventure game was widely praised, and renowned for blending razor-sharp humor and challenging puzzles. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge followed in 1991, continuing the trend of point-and-click excellence. Further games did follow but without the original creator Ron Gilbert.

Notably, the primary question of the original games’ plot, what Big Whoop actually is, was never answered. Not surprisingly fans have clamored for a new game for decades. Ron Gilbert at first insisted he would never make another Monkey Island, declaring that gamers had moved on from point-and-click adventures. But as times changed, and a new appreciation for retro-style entertainment blossomed, Gilbert decided to dive back into the Monkey Island mythos.

Classics Never Die

Return To Monkey Island was released on 19th September 2022, more than 30 years after the original. The game received universal acclaim, once again proving that true creativity never goes out of style.

Although having significantly updated graphics, Return To Monkey Island is a true point-and-click adventure on par with the original. The primary focus is quirky characters, excellent dialogue, and a strong leaning into self-aware comedy. Lead character Guybrush Threepwood is also back, along with numerous other familiar faces.

That Return To Monkey Island works so well is nothing short of incredible, given how little has changed since the original. Lest it is forgotten, in 1991 the internet was virtually nonexistent, something like an online casino welcome bonus would have been seen as Sci-Fi inspired, and the average PC was less powerful by far than a smartphone.

 Reliving The Glory Days

From the word go it’s clear that Ron Gilbert hasn’t lost any of his talents. His iconic writing style shines in every second of gameplay, without a single line of dialogue lacking some sort of bite. It’s almost tragic to think that now, such impressive writing is rare.

Gilbert also hasn’t pulled any punches as far as the puzzles are concerned. It has become the norm for game puzzles to be insultingly easy, but that wasn’t the case in 1991. Gilbert has deftly brought 1991 puzzles into the modern era, daring players to actually use their brains. Yes, everyone has easy access to online walkthroughs these days, but it’s the thought that counts.

All in all, any fan of the original will relish the chance to dive back into the Monkey Island universe. Hopefully, some of the younger gamers will also be lured into giving it a shot.

The End Of A Timeless Saga

Gilbert has stated that Return To Monkey Island is the end of the franchise, once and for all. If this is or isn’t true remains to be seen, but he, at least, won’t be making another. It’s heartbreaking that the end of the franchise most likely also means an end of traditional point-and-click games. At least those in the style of the early 90s. Where did the time go?