Review | Return to Monkey Island

Originally published at: Review | Return to Monkey Island - XboxEra

The long-awaited sequel Return to Monkey Island is heading to Xbox Game Pass after debuting a few months back on PC and Switch. Ron Gilbert returns to lead a team in attempting to recapture the magic of the old SCUMM Engine classics. Have they succeeded?  Yes!  Let’s dig into how they pulled it off.

 Cursed Obsession

The game starts off with you controlling Boybrush, son of Guybrush and Elaine, in a cute and funny tutorial section. Soon though you’re back into our “hero’s” memories as Guybrush Threepwood tells the tale of when he finally found the Secret of Monkey Island. For fans of the original series and new players alike, there is just enough backstory and exposition to get you caught up if need be, alongside a healthy dose of callbacks to tickle you right in the nostalgia bone. In the end, the story is all about the cost of chasing one’s obsessions and how you can lose sight of that which truly matters.

Old enemies like LeChuck are back along with new ones like the vicious Captain Madison. Throughout my 9 or so hours in the story, I laughed more than I had in a video game than I can ever remember. The writing and voice acting really is spectacular and carry the game. A lot has been made about the graphical styling, but I love it. Everything is highly stylized with deeply saturated colors. Playing through on first on PC it ran at an extremely high framerate and the animations were smooth as butter. The same held through for my time on a Series X. My favorite parts were the cuts to high detailed zoom-ins a ’la Ren & Stimpy cartoons. 

Hint Books Rule

The best part of Return to Monkey Island for me is the hint book. I played on casual mode because I don’t hate myself. This offers up a handy hint book that helps you when the game forgets logical solutions for a second. At first hints are nice and vague and simply point you in the right direction. Only a few times did I need to keep asking for specific solutions which is a massive improvement from the days of Discworld and having no clue how to get the monkey it’s gosh darned BANANA. From what I can tell there is no way to fail any objective or die in the game outside of purposefully leaving Guybrush in the ocean during the game’s few underwater segments which is a big plus for me!

It’s your typical point-and-click adventure with tons of dialogue which is all spoken. If you prefer the old-school style you can turn off the narration and just have text or use both as I did for the video review. The music is excellent, hitting all the tones I remember from the first two games while adding depth to each scene. It’s never in the way or overly cutesy and I could sit on the main menu screen all day listening to it with a big dumb grin on my face.

Performance-wise on PC, it’s extremely stable and I had zero bugs or issues. You’re given a large number of save slots to use and loading is extremely fast, in the milliseconds every time. I’d say my only issue with the game is the large amount of backtracking you need to do, though I know that’s a staple of the genre, and how a few of the puzzle solutions felt off compared to most.

In Conclusion

Return to Monkey Island is great. It takes the adventure game to new heights of hilarity with a clever narrative, fantastic stylized graphics, wonderful music, and a huge amount of heart.

Reviewed on *Xbox Series X, PC
Available on Switch, PC, Xbox, PlayStation
Release Date November 8th, 2022 on Xbox
Developer Terrible Toybox
Publisher Devolver Digital
Rated T for Teen


welp, hit “public” instead of “unlisted” on YouTube. All footage is from the PC version so I didn’t break the embargo at least :doge:


come on

Really looking forward to this. I know it will be great fun but I really, really hope I can get over my dislike for the artstyle.

Good review, Jesse!


So excited for this one, as it will take me back to some of my early gaming days too.


Casual mode in a adventure game and a hint book? Isn’t that overly easy? Or do you not get a hint book in the other difficulty mode?

No idea, but if it’s not appealing for you then hardcore mode is the way to go!

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Hmmm, I see. Well, I’ll just go try it out and if it’s not for me I’ll go for casual too. :slight_smile:

I do remember back in the day with those point and click adventures like Indiana Jones and Sam & Max, Beneath a steel Sky and so on how unclear many of the puzzles often were. Day of the Tentacle for example, had to have a solution/walkthrough ready all the time, lol. Not every puzzle made sense, at all. Still love the genre though.

Reminds me that I still have all the Deponia games in the backlog too and Blacksad.

This one is a lot better for being logical, only had to use hints a few times.


Music to my ears. Now let’s hope the art style won’t bother me too much, just like Mort I’m not super fond of it.

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Now available on Game Pass, btw.


you also get the hint book in ‘hardcore’ mode

i already played it at release on Steam. I would say the puzzles on ‘hardcore’ mode are more logical and easier than in previous Lucas Arts games with better flow. The hint book gives you not just the answer to a puzzle, it hints you to the solution in multiple steps. its really well done and quite context sensitive.


I started playing it. Still not a fan of the art style, just too simplistic, and especially when you get the close ups of characters, nah.

But it’s not a deal breaker. I really like how you can look back at conversations you’ve had.

As for hint book, is that the “todo list”?

No, the hint book is a separate inventory item (gained after playing for a bit).

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Very good to know. Because I was kinda reluctant to check out the todo list. But that list is something new for this genre, cool.

Yea pretty much all the todo list is is a bullet point list of stuff you’ve been told in conversations that tell you what to do next.

Minor early puzzle spoiler as an example

For example you get a find a mop one after talking to the gang plank guy after they tell you you can’t get the job without a mop

The todo list helps you if you are lost (can happen a bit in chapter 4) and can’t remember the current objectives. The hint book gives you tips and nudges you toward a solution to a puzzle. Both are good additions and make the game very streamlined.

Still, you can die in this game and a funny scene plays afterwards.

You think I’ll be able to finish it before Pentiment if I start it tomorrow? I’m not exactly the fastest gamer.

The achievement for completing it under 2 hours says yes.

On a more serious note, depends on how good you are with point & click adventures and how willing you are to use the hint system. It took me a bit over 10 hours on hardcore mode without the hint book. 1 or 2 chapters per day are absolutely possible, that should be enough for Pentiments release day.