PC REVIEW: RETURN TO MYSTERIOUS ISLAND

Kheops Studio takes a few liberties with Jules Verne's classic the Mysterious Island with the release of Return to Mysterious Island. Puzzle solvers should enjoy this romp through the strange landscape that hides a sordid past.

Jules Verne was a visionary. His predictions of the future as related through his stories are nothing short of uncanny. But even he couldn't envision all of the developments that would take place in Return to Mysterious Island. This game blends past, present and future elements that all appear to blend rather than clash as they do in some puzzle games. There is a sense of continuity among the various elements that comprise the puzzles. The storyline holds everything together while maintaining our curiosity to resolve the unanswered questions that lie before us.

Mina is sailing around the world alone. She becomes shipwrecked during a storm and is stranded on a foreboding island where she immediately begins her survival odyssey. One of her most important tasks is to locate food. Thus begins the puzzles, which are varied and plentiful. By combining items such as a pole and a worm, Mina is able to fish for food. To cook her food, she will have to learn how to make fire. The puzzles grow in proportion to Mina's development and progress on the island. Eventually the puzzles will reach epic proportions, literally moving mountains.

Keen exploration of the island will help you in solving the puzzles. As you wander, the cursor will change into various icons denoting various items such as clues and tools. You'll have to be thorough. Many items are obscured from view. Some blend in with the backgrounds, others are hidden in the shadows or behind other obstacles. Inventory items will be required later but need to be stored when you locate them.

At first the island appears uninhabited except for the creatures that roam the jungles. There is also an otherworldly entity that follows you in the shadows. I won't give away the surprise but suffice to say that it's a popular Verne character. There are other NPCs that you will encounter including a monkey that will become your companion during most of the adventure. Remnants of a long, lost technically advanced civilization will offer more imaginative puzzles to enhance the standard wood-and-metal mechanical variety.

Scenes of the island are breathtaking. You can almost feel the hot sun warming your face - or is that the radiation from the computer screen as you stare intensely at the problems before you? It's a great way to spend a few winter evenings. There isn't much dialog or musical accompaniment which at least makes for a more realistic experience since you are stranded on a seemingly deserted island.

Puzzle fans that are looking for puzzles that aren't confounding for the sake of just being confounding are advised to check out Return to Mysterious Island.

Click For Media
System: PC
Dev: Kheops
Pub: DreamCatcher
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Shelby
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
2.5
VALUE
2.0