Alan Smithee

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1 – iPad Review

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I haven’t played most of the various incarnations of the Monkey Island series. It’s one of my biggest shames, and yet at the same time a boon because I can now go back and enjoy a series that I missed out on.

It’s no secret that the staff of WPR is full of old school PC gamers (many of them are current gen PC gamers) that cut our teeth on the old point-and-click adventure games that were so prevalent back in the late 80s and early 90s. Hell, I was a Sierra zombie for YEARS (still am) who consumed every iteration of their _____ Quest series…King, Space, or Police you can bet I played it.

With the advent of touch devices taking the world by storm I knew that it’d be a short leap for these classic series either seeing a reboot, remakes, or re-releases as they lend their UI to the devices like the iPhone and iPad so well. That’s where this review comes in, as Telltale Games has recently decided to port the Tales series over to the iPad, and spoilers be damned, it’s glorious.

I won’t kid you, I already owned the first episode of Tales of Monkey Island but was unable to play it due to my computer being on the lowest of the low end for system requirements that it played entirely too choppy and slow for my liking. Thank Crom that it got ported over the the console of the computer world, Apple and it’s mobile configures iOS.

The story for the game is your standard fare as far as a Monkey Island game is concerned, you command Guybrush Threepwood as he attempts to rescue his wife Elaine Marley-Threepwood from the undead hands of LeChuck the Demon Pirate, only this game starts right off with a huge battle between the two. The events that follow this battle foreshadow the entire 5 episode arc, but for the sake of this review, I’ll just discuss the first episode.

Essentially the battle leaves Guybrush wifeless, shipless, and with an infected voodoo hand that has a mind of it’s own (think Evil Dead). He’s stuck on Flotsam Island and is in desperate need to find a way off the island that leaves all travelers stranded due to the lack of winds to carry people away from the shore. His biggest hope lies in commandeering a patchwork ship called the Screaming Narwhal and figuring out how to change the winds.

Gameplay-wise, the touchscreen of the iPad lends itself very well to this genre and the multi-touch adds even more as you can have one finger on the screen dragging the virtual analog stick to move Guybrush around and still have the ability to click on items or characters. There’s not much changed from the PC version of the game as far as I can tell from the videos I’ve seen. This tells me that A) My home PC is bollocks and needs to be replaced because B) My iPad can run games better than my PC.

The area where this game truly shines is in the audio and writing. As you’d expect from LucasArts and Telltale Games, the voice acting is top notch and the dialogue is some of the most witty I’ve seen yet and considering that all of the other Monkey Island games were incredibly funny, saying that this game stands above them is no small comparison.

GRAPHICS: 85%
SOUND: 94%
GAMEPLAY: 75%
OVERALL: 85%

Finally we come to the area that most of the gamers from my generation get hung up on, the graphics. Tales appears to run in full HD and as my wife and daughter quipped while I was dinking around with it, “What cartoon are you watching on your iPad?” The game looks that good, it appears to play out as a fully 3D pirate cartoon.

All in all, this game series on the iPad makes for some really good times and since it has that ‘old-school’ flavor to it and has some hard to figure out puzzles, it has me coming back time and time again to try something new. It’s a real blast to play and I can easily see myself picking up the other 4 chapters of this series as I finish them. This series is worth every penny.

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