Tales of Monkey Island Episode 1 Review

Our Review by Brad Hilderbrand on December 23rd, 2010
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STRAIGHT PC PORT
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Guybrush Threepwood returns in a great adventure game, albeit the same one he starred in on the PC last year.

Developer: Telltale Games
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Say the words Monkey Island to any classic adventure gaming fan and they're likely to squeal with delight. Many gamers fondly remember leading hero Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, on daring adventures to save his beautiful bride Elaine from the clutches of the dread pirate LeChuck. Gamers got a blast from the past when LucasArts re-released the Secret of Monkey Island in 2009, but Tales of Monkey Island was a brand new series which marked the return of the franchise on PCs. Now, the first game of the Tales saga has made its way to the iPad, and while it's still a lot of fun, it doesn't offer anything PC owners haven't seen already.

The first game in the Tales series finds Guybrush shipwrecked on Flotsam Island after yet another ill-fated encounter with LeChuck. Using traditional point-and-click adventure gaming conventions, our suave hero must find his way off the island and get back on the trail of his arch nemesis and kidnapped wife. The gameplay follows the same formula of Telltale's other adventure games like Sam & Max and Wallace and Gromit, featuring plenty of exploration, lots of tricky puzzles and a heavy dose of humor.

In fact, witty dialogue has always been the hallmark of the Monkey Island franchise, and the same hilarious and irreverent tone is present once more in Tales of Monkey Island. Oftentimes players will find themselves intentionally not talking about the matter at hand just to hear all the uproarious lines read in absolute deadpan style. If you like your games to be funny then you'll be very pleased with what this app has to offer.

The game also looks very nice on the iPad, running on what would feel comparable to medium resolution on a PC. The visuals aren't eye-popping, but they're still crisp and polished. In my own experience I ran into some audio and visual bugs that could usually be fixed by simply relaunching the app, so it may have just been my iPad. Still, it's something to keep an eye out for when you play. The game's control scheme also makes an easy transition to the touchscreen, as navigating the world and managing your inventory is simple and effective.

The title's biggest drawback is that it's a straight PC port so if you've already played the series on your computer then there's really nothing new to see here. All the puzzles are exactly the same, so once you've beaten the game once you can burn through it on repeated plays in less than two hours. It's fun for first-timers, but after that it gets old pretty fast.

If you've never played a Monkey Island game before and love adventure titles this is an easy recommendation, as it's a very solid app. Just be forewarned that the logic employed in the Monkey Island universe is a bit odd, and until you learn to think like Guybrush you may be stuck on a few puzzles for a while. Once it all clicks though the game comes together quite nicely, and by the time you finish you'll be more than ready for Episode Two. Repeat players aren't really needed for this app, but newcomers are surely welcome.

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