Return to Monkey Island has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. The greatest trick it manages to play, however, is to pick up where Monkey Island 2 left off, 30 years prior, and do so while feeling entirely natural. Not a beat is missed, not a shred of strange discomfort. It just works. Older players will slide into this game’s embrace like an old, battered sofa. And it feels like home.
It has other tricks, however. Return to Monkey Island isn’t the third Monkey Island game in truth, of course – but it’s the third from series creator Ron Gilbert. Return has things to say about the canon of the series, given this presents itself as the third Monkey Island game despite being the sixth to actually hit store shelves.
There’s a neat subtext throughout about what stories really mean to us all. The decades between Monkey Island 2 and this new story has clearly given Gilbert time to reflect on the originals, the games which are likely to headline his epitaph regardless of what he does in the future – and the end result is fascinating and heartening.