Monkey Island Tales 1 in Review – LeChuck is back and he’s… human?

Few franchises have enjoyed such a cult status as the famous Monkey Island series by LucasArts. While the original trilogy is simply above all praise and the remastered versions of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge (TMA Review) have already found their way onto iOS, the PC version of Escape from Monkey Island was a flop. That’s why when Telltale announced they were going to take over the series from LucasArts, the entire Monkey Island community held its breath. And only with the release of Monkey Island Tales 1 could fans finally breath…

Monkey Island Tales 1 is a hallmark Telltale episodic point-and-tap adventure. We meet Guybrush Threepwood, the mighty pirate™, already all grown up and still married to the beautiful Elaine. Fighting the evil LeChuck yet again, Guybrush blunders the mystic potion in an attempt to defeat his foe once and for all… instead turning him human. LeChuck immediately takes off with Elaine, leaving Guybrush with zombie-hand syndrome and wrecked on a remote island.

Monkey Island Tales closely follows the groundwork laid by the founders at LucasArts two decades ago, but with a few dashes of  classicTelltale. The episode may roughly be broken up into several sections, with 3 distinct tasks required to be completed in order to continue on with the storyline. The puzzles aren’t particularly difficult, though they embrace the classic wacky logic of the franchise. And to further help you on your adventure, Guybrush will occasionally utter helpful hints on what to focus on next when idle. For purists this can be turned off in the menu by the way.

In addition to the classic item and dialogue based puzzles, you’ll encounter the hallmark treasure hunting ones as well. No mini-games thankfully as it would obviously throw off the atmosphere of the series. Speaking of which – Monkey Island Tales 1 has plenty of it. The developers have no reservations when it comes to making fun of both the classic pirate and pop culture stereotypes. The dialogues are hilarious and Guybrush is as charming as ever, even a little less inept. Halt your angry e-mails, I said – a little. You’ll get to meet all sorts of colourful characters, including a pirate glass-blower fixated on making and selling unicorns, a mad doctor cutting off his patients’ limbs in the name of science, a collector of pirate dolls and of course, our favourite voodoo lady.

The technical side didn’t fare all that well transitioning to the smaller screen of the iPhone, however. Even with the lack of Retina quality graphics, the performance is quite choppy on an iPhone 4. For some reason the audio suffers the most with constant stuttering and de-synchronization between the picture and sound. So much so that despite the superb music and voiceovers, I had to at times play with it off to avoid headaches. The controls at least work nicely and intuitively.

Despite the aforementioned technical issues, I’m thrilled to finally see Telltale starting to bring their excellent adventures to the iPhone. And if they focused some more on optimizing the engine I would be even more happy. After all, games like Infinity Blade or Shadowgun with much higher quality graphics run just fine on it. Still, the opportunity to experience the latest adventures of Guybrush on my iPhone 4 is second to none and picking up Monkey Island Tales 1 should be a no brainer for anyone, especially while it’s currently FREE (no telling for how long!).

Note: Monkey Island Tales 1 HD for the iPad is also available on the App Store.

With this I declare Monkey Island Tales 1 officially touched!

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Monkey Island Tales 1Developer: Telltale Inc
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:4.2
Price:$4.99App Size:336.46MB
  • Atmospheric and genuinely funny
  • Clever puzzles
  • Non-intrusive hints
  • Performance issues
  • No support for Retina quality graphics

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