A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Like other Monkey Island games, this is a comedic pirate tale that doesn't attempt to deliver any messages (even in a subtle fashion). Pervasive themes about family and friendship.
Positive Role Models
Guybrush Threepwood is a noble hero, a good person and caring dad who goes on another adventure to (re)discover the secret of Monkey Island. He may be snarky at times but is a genuine, positive protagonist.
Main hero is a White man, but Return to Monkey Island offers plenty of diversity in color, race, and nationality as well as gender, age, and body type. Black and Asian pirates, shop owners. Carla the Governor.
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Ease of Play
This point-and-click game is easy to control, plus the intro -- playing as Guybrush's young son -- helps ease the player into the "adventure" genre. There's also a hint system in place if you get stuck.
Violence & Scariness
As you might expect in a game about pirates, there's some sword-fighting, along with playful swashbuckling with food and other objects, but no significant violence, blood, or gore. It is fantastical, plus the graphics look like a cartoon.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirtatious comments and romantic interests, but nothing too overt or inappropriate.
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Products & Purchases
References to other games in the Monkey Island franchise, but no hard sell, nor are there in-game purchases (DLC).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes in which people are consuming alcohol, such as in the Scumm bar, presumably drinking mead (beer) out of mugs. Other scenes with a wine bottle, and another early on in the game, with a small animal flying in a martini glass. Guybrush can have a drink too.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Return to Monkey Island is a downloadable comedic point-and-click adventure game (rebooted from the 1990s classic) available for Windows PCs and the Nintendo Switch. There's some fantasy violence, including sword-fighting, but nothing graphic or bloody. People can be seen consuming alcohol, including at a bar, and at a later point the main character can drink as well. There's some light flirtation, but nothing that gets inappropriate. The game does a great job of easing players into the point-and-click style of gameplay, and there's a large cast of diverse characters to be found throughout the adventure.
Is It Any Good?
New or seasoned gamers who enjoy slower, story-based puzzles, interacting with memorable characters, and amusing situations will no doubt fall for this tale's charm. Without spoiling any of the puzzles of Return to Monkey Island, you'll be tasked with an objective, such as unlocking a door, so you'll need to chat with someone who may drop a hint about where to find the key. But when you find the key, it's guarded by someone that perhaps needs to be distracted, so you can pocket it without their knowledge. Or you may find a knife, which you'll add to your inventory, and use it to pick the lock and enter the room. As a generic scenario, this should give you an idea of how these kinds of puzzles work. They're engaging, smart, and never too difficult to solve -- and there's a hint system built into the game, if you ever do get stuck.
The context-sensitive interactions and reactive dialogue trees add even more immersion and depth to your adventure. You really feel like you get to know these characters. Visually, while the development team received complaints early on from passionate gamers, the art and animation is still classic but also more textured and three-dimensional than its predecessors'. The music and sound effects are also top-notch. But it's the clever writing, head-scratching challenges, and memorable characters that will make a long-lasting impression. There isn't much to complain about this A-grade game, but before you buy, make sure you know that it's a slower-paced game that prioritizes dialogue over destruction, and puzzles over pistols. Ron Gilbert and team have done it again.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.