Solving the mystery of a 19th century ghost ship will take you to some strange places as the PC classic comes to Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
At least when Return Of The Obra Dinn came out on PC last year the fact that it’s the latest from the creator of Papers, Please inspired some level of interest and confidence. But Lucas Pope’s dystopian classic has never been released on consoles and so it’s less likely people will know who he is or why they should be excited about such an odd-looking game as this. But please believe that this is, once again, one of the best games of the year.
The Obra Dinn is a fictional ghost ship that arrives in Falmouth during the early 1800s with all 60 crew members dead. You play the role of a shipping agent sent to investigate what has happened, in what is easily the best detective-themed video game there’s ever been.
That’s not necessarily to disparage other detective-themed games, such as the recent L.A. Noire: The VR Case File, because creating a game in which you have to work everything out yourself is extremely difficult, in terms of providing a challenge that’s not either pointlessly easy or offputtingly difficult.
Return Of The Obra Dinn’s solution is a magic pocket watch which allows you to see and hear a snapshot of what happened a few moments before each crew member’s death. Time is then frozen and you’re able to investigate the crime scene, filling in details and making logical deductions.
We feel confident in saying that nobody is going to guess what happened ahead of time, which makes Obra Dinn a fascinating and hugely satisfying puzzle game to work through. Its ‘1-bit’ art style is meant to be reminiscent of both old ‘80s era Apple games and contemporary illustrations of the 19th century; it’s highly stylised but strangely beautiful and, as you might imagine, the Switch and other consoles have no difficulty replicating it from the PC original.
The controls were obviously made for a mouse and keyboard, and were a little clunky even then, but otherwise this is a fine conversion that allows everyone to experience one of the strangest but most inventive games of recent years.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL FULL REVIEW OF RETURN OF THE OBRA DINN
Return Of The Obra Dinn Switch review summary
In Short: The best detective game ever made, that tells its unpredictable story through a mix of idiosyncratic visuals and equally unique puzzle gameplay.
Pros: Clever gameplay mechanics make being a detective challenging yet approachable, with a well-balanced series of puzzles and a peculiar but highly compelling story. Excellent graphics.
Cons: The interface was always a bit awkward, especially in terms of using the notebook, and it hasn’t got any better on consoles. Some dodgy voiceover accents.
Formats: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
Developer: Lucas Pope
Release Date: 18th October 2019
Age Rating: 16
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