Return to Mysterious Island
If you’re looking for a tropical vacation alongside a healthy heap of mystery, Return to Mysterious Island from The Adventure Company is the game for you. This exploration-based survival game is based on the classic Jules Verne novel, The Mysterious Island. I’m a sucker for anything based on a book, so come along with me and let’s check out everything that makes this game such a great addition to the world of Vernean adventure.
1 - Visuals
Return to Mysterious Island’s visuals may not be the best visuals I’ve ever seen, but they are absolutely 100% suited to the game. The real gift of the visuals comes in the details put into the various items and creatures that you collect and use throughout the game.
From the crabs you pick up at the beginning for food to the scarecrow that surprises you to every bit of food and wildlife that you come across (not to mention the spoiler items you’ll find), the small details put into the items really take the visuals above what you would initially expect.
For visuals, this game gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.
2 - Audio
The island’s audio qualities fully transport you to a mysterious island with unknown potential dangers and wonders around every corner. It’s hard to be transported to a tropical island when you live in Alaska (that’s really quite me specific) but somehow, this game manages it!
From the ever-present somewhat subtle background noise to the rather jarring (in the best way) squawks of animals and scary island sounds, Return to Mysterious Island is a proper representation of what it would be like to find yourself shipwrecked on an island where everything is unknown and anything is possible.
For audio, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
3 - Story/Progression
Return to Mysterious Island’s story works both for an adventure video game and a loose retelling of the original Verne story. I won’t give any spoilers, but if you’ve read the book, you’ll certainly recognize and predict a few plot points when you play this game.
The pace of the story is excellent in that you’re always given the information you need, but the game doesn’t rush you. As a player who likes to take her time, I was able to go through the game at my own pace, picking up information piece by piece without feeling as though I was being pushed forward by the game.
For Story/Progression, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
4 - Gameplay
At first, Return to Mysterious Island’s gameplay is a bit clunky and hard to get the hang of. This is alright, however, because you start out on the beach, and it’s a great starter area to get used to the mechanics of the game.
If you spend enough time on the beach, collecting food and exploring the mechanics, you’ll be well prepared to continue deeper into the island. And it only continues to get more intuitive the longer you play. What starts out as a game that takes some getting used to morphs into a game that flows really well with controls you can eventually manage quite easily.
For gameplay, this game gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.
5 - Context
Return to Mysterious Island would be a good game even if it didn’t fit into the world of Vernean adventure. Because it does, however, it’s quite an excellent game. For any fans of Verne’s novels, having something interactive to work with in relation to the stories is always wonderful, and having a video game that gives you so much to explore is even better.
I will always be a fan of games being made based on books, movies, and any type of story. Part of the joy of the game will always come in the attempt to relate to a beloved story, and Return to Mysterious Island certainly sparks that joy.
Overall, if you’re looking for an adventure game that will also give you a step into the world of classic lit, Return to Mysterious Island is a perfect pick. While the game itself is far from perfect on the scale of all the best games, the design and quality of the game are completely satisfactory, and the story that it pulls you into really drives it home.
I can truly say that I enjoyed my experience with this game. As time allows, I plan on picking up Return to Mysterious Island 2: Mina’s Fate to continue on with this adventurous story.