Every Friday, AV club Staffers kick off our weekly open thread where we discuss game plans and the latest gaming developments, but of course the real action is in the comments where we invite you to answer our age-old question: What are you playing this weekend?
I write a lot about nostalgia in this column – partly because at 38 (and getting older every second) my bones are dust, my beard turns gray, and I miss the gentle kiss of the sun of my distant youth. And partly because whore, but do video game companies love to sell it to us.
Restarting, alterations, retreading, remastering: They’re everywhere these days, sucking oxygen (and cash), selling us our own stories with a sizable margin and, worse, having a shortage of things to say about the source material they are so persistently looting.
So thank the game gods for Return to the island of monkeys, honest to god, free of tricks, continuation of the classic series of adventure games with a pirate theme. Released this week and designed by original creators Ron Gilbert and David Grossman along with the team at Terrible Toybox, Return is a rare thing that does what so many of the last repetitions only promise: pthey serve both as a celebration of the franchise it is based on and a great new game in itself.
Players take on the role of the classic adventure game hero Guybrush Threepwood, who no longer wants to be a mighty pirate, because he already is. (Kind of.) Now it comes in a gorgeous new art style – looks a bit like moving paper dolls and fits perfectly with the game’s colorful tone – but still voiced by TV show Dominic Armato’s vet, Guybrush is eager to try again to figure this out. the actual Secret Of Monkey Islandbecause all the disclosures from the last five matches turned out to be red herring. (Meanwhile, one of the great things about Return that is, while it is generally accounted for as an immediate follow-up Monkey Island 2, the last game where Gilbert was the lead designer, pays tribute to all of Guybrush’s Caribbean adventures. Take heart, Tales of the Monkey Island fans!)
The pursuit of the titular secret will of course involve a series of tasks, usually distributed in groups of two. or threeand it almost always involves tricking someone out of valuable possessions. (Guybrush is, after all, a pirate and an adventure game hero.) It’s worth noting right away that designing a puzzle is not necessarily ReturnStrength: Even with the more difficult difficulties offered, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out what’s coming next, and LucasArts’ old school lateral thinking opportunities are quite rare in the field.
Where Return however, it stands out in its writing and presentation. It is a joy to return to this world – not only in such locations as traditional ones TO ME the starting point of Melée Island, which have been painstakingly recreated, but full of jokes and consequently a light version of island life that has always been the subject of trade in this series. Gilbert and Co. aren’t afraid to play blockbusters – you’ll come across Wally, Elaine, and Lady Voodoo within the first hour of play – but they’re not bound by the past either. Monkey Island it was always just as toned as any particular plot involving root beer or evil Australian real estate moguls or whatever the hell the villainous Ghost Pirate LeChuck is to date. And it is in recreating this sound that the Terrible Toybox has made worthy continuation With Monkey Islandlegacy, not mere alterations. And if you are new to the show, a beautiful, fun, cheerful adventure awaits you, full of good jokes and great voice performances.
All that, and Gilbert and Grossman give each other a good punch, as if they are explaining what the hell is going on with the ending Monkey Island 2just 30 years after it drove us crazy.