Coming to you from the maker of Papers, Please, the indie smash hit that simulates life as a mid-level Eastern European bureaucrat during the height of the Iron Curtain, Return of the Obra Dinn is a downloadable adventure game that combines narrative and puzzle-solving for a unique experience that is both compelling and chillingly original.
How to Download Return of the Obra Dinn
You can download the game either from GOG.com or Steam. To start, simply click on the Download button below the review.
The Game Review
Published and developed by 3909 LLC, Return of the Obra Dinn takes place aboard an East India Company ghost ship with the player tasked with discovering what exactly killed the crew and passengers. Of course, along the way you’re going to be solving all kinds of puzzles and finding out information about the East India Company ship’s passengers and crew.
A massive trading company during the height of mercantile dominance of the world, the East India Company had far-flung trading posts all around the world. This detective title not only draws upon this rich history but uses it in a decidedly gothic way with a montage of themes that seem ripped straight out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. This is because that book begins with many of the same themes and Return of the Obra Dinn does a great job at evoking that same eerie feeling.
Using a combination of “deductive reasoning” and time travel, Return of the Obra Dinn allows the player to go back into the past and witness events from the perspective of one of the 60 passengers on the ship.
You discover how they are killed and by whom, helping the player not only solve the mystery but also telling a deep narrative at the same time. Told from a first-person perspective, the game uses a graphical style reminiscent of PC games from the 1980s with monochromatic dithering dominating the visual field.
Information discovered over the course of the game is collated for the player’s convenience and helps in making the kinds of leaps of logic necessary to solve the game’s mysteries. Puzzle solving isn’t just a feature of Return of the Obra Dinn – it is core to its gameplay. How and why each person died, in addition to who they are, is central to solving the larger puzzle of the game.
Unique graphical style aside, this is a fairly indie title that also has aspirations towards something else. It is almost artistic in its depiction of gameplay and altogether unique in terms of how is presents its core objective.
That said, it isn’t for everyone and is largely devoid of action. Gamers who enjoy puzzle solving and mystery will find a lot to love with Return of the Obra Dinn, but the rest of us might be put off by its strange graphical style and somewhat complex puzzle solving elements.
- Excellent puzzle-solving gameplay that is reinforced by the narrative
- Unique graphical style that is reminiscent of PC games of the past
- Tons of stuff to learn and deduce in what is a very engaging experience
- Graphics could be interpreted as gimmicky
- Puzzles are very complicated
- Narrative gets lost in what becomes a gigantic puzzle game