• Publisher: 3909
  • Release Date: Oct 18, 2018
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 88
  2. Negative: 17 out of 88

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  1. Oct 30, 2018
    8
    It's like a child of Life is Strange (first one) and Sudoku. You have your chart to solve and magic maggafen to play with time. Graphics are... demanding. You will probably need a glasses after playing it but it's the legacy of sudoku games right?
    Overall it's a good game. Interesting and unique. My eyes hurt but I'm entertained (not in ancient Rome style, more like after a really good
    It's like a child of Life is Strange (first one) and Sudoku. You have your chart to solve and magic maggafen to play with time. Graphics are... demanding. You will probably need a glasses after playing it but it's the legacy of sudoku games right?
    Overall it's a good game. Interesting and unique. My eyes hurt but I'm entertained (not in ancient Rome style, more like after a really good coffee at obscure last minute shop waiting for a train).
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  2. Oct 20, 2018
    10
    The art style of this game is amazing. People don't understand how much work went into this game. The story is great along with the puzzle mechanics of this game. Some of them get really hard at the end. To me, this game is worth 20 dollars. I spent more on not so feature-rich games at $60+. I strongly recommend this game if you like murder mysteries with a puzzle element.
  3. Oct 23, 2018
    7
    A graphical wonder. An art piece. Looking and walking around the world scenes, I felt as if i was walking around some type of art gallery. The feeling you get when you piece together a non trivial fact is also amazing. But enough praise...let me talk about the things I personally didn't like.

    I didn't buy the main gameplay loop. It felt dragged out. Unnecessarily slow and time wasting,
    A graphical wonder. An art piece. Looking and walking around the world scenes, I felt as if i was walking around some type of art gallery. The feeling you get when you piece together a non trivial fact is also amazing. But enough praise...let me talk about the things I personally didn't like.

    I didn't buy the main gameplay loop. It felt dragged out. Unnecessarily slow and time wasting, especially nearing the end. You really don't have much to 'do' in the game, apart from walking and 'pressing e for a new chapter of the story'. The mechanics for finding out connections between different people and filling out your 'insurance notebook' was fun, but as I have said, revisiting some earlier scenes, walking around the ship, looking for that last body...It all felt like a chore and not like fun detective work.

    This might be considered a spoiler, as I will outline the main gameplay loop:
    1. Find body, press E.
    2. Travel in time, to see the moment of death of the body.
    3. Figure out some clues about the story. Your task is to name the person that died (based on logs, overheard conversions, place of death etc.) and how he died, but the latter usually is pretty obvious, as you can clearly see his moment of death.
    4. Find next body, repeat.

    As such, the first few times, this loop was jaw-dropping. Something completely new, fresh, meaty...but after the halfway point, I got really tired in the whole "slowly walk to the next body, and press E" business. And I mean really walking, as there is no sprint, fast walk or anything...So, if you want to revisit a memory (a death of one of the bodies), you have to each time walk up to it, and press E.

    And that very rapidly started to feel...unnecessarily slow. I loved the detective work, the assumptions, sometimes wild guesses that proved right, but it all felt a little bit buried under the monotonous gameplay.

    Have Papers Please as an example: Throughout the game, the loop is always the same: You either stamp ENTRY or DENY. But every day on the job is a little bit different. The rules constantly change a little bit.
    In Return of The Obra Dinn, the rules don't change. They are the same from the start, all the way to the finish. And I believe that there is a missed opportunity here, for an epic masterpiece.

    As a side criticism...I didn't like to the story in the end. I would really love it, if it was grounded in realism, with a hint of fantasy. But it was the other way around.

    Pros:
    +Presentation: Unique graphics, music sound, voice overs, atmosphere 10/10
    +Cool detective work with the notebook

    Cons:
    -Unnecessarily slow gameplay, especialy near the endgame (no sprint, no 'fast travel to memories' etc.)
    -No gameplay progression. The first 10min of the game are the same as the last 10min, when it comes to mechanics.
    -Story. For me, to much fantasy, not enough pirates / swashbucklery.

    Summary: Worth a buy for the spectacle and visuals. Not the gameplay.
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  4. Nov 7, 2018
    0
    can't change the controls... unacceptable... can't play with the default ones.
    thank god for refunds
  5. Oct 23, 2018
    10
    One of the best games I have ever played. It combines a beautiful aesthetic, wonderful atmosphere, a stunning story that constantly intrigued me and some very interesting and unique mechanics. When I spent almost three hours just trying to work out a few fates approaching the end of the game and then I suddenly picked up on something tiny I hadn't before and everything slotted together —One of the best games I have ever played. It combines a beautiful aesthetic, wonderful atmosphere, a stunning story that constantly intrigued me and some very interesting and unique mechanics. When I spent almost three hours just trying to work out a few fates approaching the end of the game and then I suddenly picked up on something tiny I hadn't before and everything slotted together — was a truly wonderous moment.

    I would highly recommend Return of the Obra Dinn to pretty much anyone who likes logic puzzles or working things out, and to anyone interested in mechanics or a story you uncover yourself. I personally game quite a bit and love this type of game, however I also know a couple who don't play many games and are running through this together and are having an absolutely brilliant time.

    I have given this review a 10 as I feel it is so close to perfect it merits no less, however it could be improved. Maybe it's the style I play but I found myself moving back and forth through the book more than I'd like. Once you have confirmed an identity, you can't use the sketch to find out information like crew number or nationality without going back to a different page. I also desperately wanted a way to print out the sketch and manifest to make my own notes on paper, as that would have made it slightly easier to keep track of my notes. These are minor improvements that would make the game faultless in my eyes however, so are not worth worrying about too much!

    Best to go in without any spoilers if possible, it will make what you work out yourself all the more sweet!
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  6. Oct 21, 2018
    9
    Excellently told, non-linear narrative that shows the developers growth as both a writer and gameplay designer. Art style is unique and compliments the narrative and its allusions to old Macintosh adventure, mystery games. Game has surprising length and has replay value, absolutely worth the $20 asking price on Steam
  7. Oct 25, 2018
    10
    Amazing art, story and soundtrack, a must play if you like mystery/detective games
  8. Oct 21, 2018
    9
    Paper's Please-style attention to detail meets Everybody's Gone to the Rapture-style storytelling but with an AMC's 'The Terror'-style setting. And you actually have to use your brain for once. It's a bit fiddly and tedious at times but it's still fantastic. Expertly crafted immersion - the kind of game that stops you being jaded at games.
  9. Oct 20, 2018
    7
    You may think the art style is artistic, but the truth is, the art style is bad. You won't see much and get lost in a plain sight.
    The game is good, the story, the puzzles everything is worth playing. However, this game cost too much. It should cost 5$ instead. It really hurts because my expectations were high (after paper please) and this game is only good. I can't give it more than 7
    You may think the art style is artistic, but the truth is, the art style is bad. You won't see much and get lost in a plain sight.
    The game is good, the story, the puzzles everything is worth playing. However, this game cost too much. It should cost 5$ instead. It really hurts because my expectations were high (after paper please) and this game is only good. I can't give it more than 7 because it lacks something. I feel like I have paid too much for experience lacking something essential.
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  10. Oct 25, 2018
    5
    I cant recommend it to anyone. Unless you like bad games, then feel free to buy it.
  11. Nov 7, 2018
    8
    Return of the Obra Dinn is a triumph.
    A detective puzzle story very unlike any other I have played. The game requires close attention, the ability to sift through information and quite a bit of backtracking. If this doesn't sound like your cuppa tea, then give it a miss.
    I wish I could say I enjoyed every minute in the game, but the first hour was the most exasperating and frustrating
    Return of the Obra Dinn is a triumph.
    A detective puzzle story very unlike any other I have played. The game requires close attention, the ability to sift through information and quite a bit of backtracking. If this doesn't sound like your cuppa tea, then give it a miss.
    I wish I could say I enjoyed every minute in the game, but the first hour was the most exasperating and frustrating experience, however, once I got into a groove of how to negotiate between different scenes and gather information, I was totally overwhelmed by the intricacy and nexus of connections and I felt a part of an organic living system.
    Despite fantastic writing, a superb art style, great soundscape, and addictive gameplay, there are some shortcomings: the aforementioned cumbersome nature of finding information previously missed, and some of the wording of how the characters die, which you have to identify to progress in the game, can be confusing and down to interpretation; what is the difference between someone being "spiked" or "speared" for example. Once I got into the game, I felt it a little short as well.
    That being said, this is a strong contender for my Game of the Year
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  12. Oct 21, 2018
    9
    Return of the Obra Dinn is a refreshing and creative, narrative-driven puzzle game.

    You're given a book with 60 missing people and 9 empty chapters. Your job is to find out what happened to everyone onboard the Obra Dinn through investigating and filling out the empty chapters. Honestly, I didn't even bother reading the book when I first started, but by the end of the game, I memorized
    Return of the Obra Dinn is a refreshing and creative, narrative-driven puzzle game.

    You're given a book with 60 missing people and 9 empty chapters. Your job is to find out what happened to everyone onboard the Obra Dinn through investigating and filling out the empty chapters. Honestly, I didn't even bother reading the book when I first started, but by the end of the game, I memorized almost every name, face, and lives of those 60 people.

    Yes, each character is their own person—all with unique appearances; many with great voice acting (pay attention to accents!). Throughout the game, you'll see firsthand the actions, reactions, expressions, relations, and behavior of each character, all of which may or may not help you in your investigation.

    Where this game really shines is through its innovative method of story-telling and intuitive, logical world. Each scene is introduced with stellar dialogue and audio which encourages you to visualize the events leading up to the clue. Quite frankly, I've never heard more believable audio in any other game. Additionally, since the world is coherent and logical, real-life knowledge is easily applicable. Not once did I ever feel cheated or stumped by the game. Everything just makes sense, even when it might not seem like it.

    However, the game is not without flaws. Personally, there is a bit too much handholding. The game tells when you are right as long as you are right for 3 people. This isn't a problem at first, but near the end of the game, guessing becomes very easy. Also, the game tells you when enough information has been given to identify a character. It also tells you how difficult it might be. I was too immersed to notice these advantages during my playthrough, but in retrospect, it'd be nice if there was an option to turn off all hints.

    The ending of the game felt inconclusive as well. Hopefully a future update or DLC fixes this.

    All in all, Return of the Obra Dinn is a fantastic game with elegant story-telling and great immersion. To those complaining about graphics, you'll forget about it after your first clue.
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  13. Nov 1, 2018
    10
    Awesome game. The best PC game of the year!
    Papers please is awesome. I don't think it could be better than it
  14. Nov 3, 2018
    10
    Easily one of the best experiences I had this year. People saying that game "drags" more than it should, but after finishing it I only wish if i could erase my memory and replay it again without bruteforcing certain characters/fates, and took more time with it. Every single soul in this game is a separate puzzle and everything fits in place perfectly if you're observant enough. Music isEasily one of the best experiences I had this year. People saying that game "drags" more than it should, but after finishing it I only wish if i could erase my memory and replay it again without bruteforcing certain characters/fates, and took more time with it. Every single soul in this game is a separate puzzle and everything fits in place perfectly if you're observant enough. Music is beautiful, sound design, mixing and voice acting are just perfect. True indie Gem. The only sad thing is that you have to wait for at least another couple of years until Pope comes out with another Game...hopefully. Expand
  15. Nov 15, 2018
    9
    This is an excellent choose your own pace, murder mystery/puzzle game. The simple aesthetic fits in well with the setting, muting some of the gruesomeness to more clearly show you what is actually going on in each scene. The little details can end up being very important and something as simple as a turn of phrase used in a scene can end up being the difference between identifying a victimThis is an excellent choose your own pace, murder mystery/puzzle game. The simple aesthetic fits in well with the setting, muting some of the gruesomeness to more clearly show you what is actually going on in each scene. The little details can end up being very important and something as simple as a turn of phrase used in a scene can end up being the difference between identifying a victim and not. My only complaint about this game is that there doesn't seem to be a way to go directly into a previously viewed memory directly from the log book. If it's there, it is not obvious how to do it. It would save a lot of time. Expand
  16. Oct 22, 2018
    10
    A game that is 1/2 murder mystery, 1/4 Myst and 1/4 horror all done in a CGA/Monochome Mac demake style with a rich and complex tale behind it. It is an absolute steal at 20 dollars, with shocking twists and turns as the story of this cursed ship slowly reveals itself.

    Highest Possible Recommendation.
  17. Nov 16, 2018
    10
    This game will let your imagination run wild. Explore the ship, the story, enjoy the music, the atmosphere. Let yourself be enveloped in this immersive mystery on board the Obra Dinn.
  18. Oct 23, 2018
    10
    Absolutely loved it!

    The visual treatment, the excellent atmospheric voice performances and audio design, beautiful posing and modelling... But above all... what an achievement in narrative puzzle design. I can't imagine how much work it was to create this. Well, it took 4 years apparently, and it shows. It's just an immaculately crafted puzzle box that rewards observation and
    Absolutely loved it!

    The visual treatment, the excellent atmospheric voice performances and audio design, beautiful posing and modelling...

    But above all... what an achievement in narrative puzzle design. I can't imagine how much work it was to create this. Well, it took 4 years apparently, and it shows. It's just an immaculately crafted puzzle box that rewards observation and attention to detail.

    Plus the telling of the story is so well done, with twists and turns... just a phenomenal achievement.

    I spend 17 hours playing and it felt like about 9. Once I picked it up I had to see it through to the end. It seems insurmountable at the start but the game design is so good it unfolds layer upon layer of difficulty organically based on how much you've solved.

    A truly stunning achievement.

    Plus I just read that Lucas Pope, as well as creating 'Papers, Please', also created one of my favorite iOS games of all time (Helsing's Fire) - makes sense now! Especially the music and setting.

    Highly recommend it - I paid full price it it was worth every dubloon!
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  19. Nov 13, 2018
    9
    Return of the Obra Dinn is incredibly smart, has an amazing atmosphere and tells its story with great intelligence. I liked the way it makes you think, learn more and deal with the puzzle. I think it would be boring in a long run, but for indie game it's awesome.
Metascore
89

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Nov 13, 2018
    74
    It's easy to respect something like Return of the Obra Dinn. Puzzling together clues from each death scene is tricky and rewarding, but the motivation for doing so is lacking. There's no one to care about on the ship, no reason to uncover the mystery other than to prove you've done it, and it holds the game back from being exceptional.
  2. 100
    By hewing close to genre origins, both visually and thematically (though not without some genuine innovations of his own), Lucas Pope has delivered one of the best games of the year, and certainly one of the best murder mystery games of all time.
  3. Edge Magazine
    Nov 9, 2018
    90
    With an eye and an ear for the theatrical, the wonderfully evocative staging turns you into a horrified, fascinated voyeur; you might be late for the Obra Dinn's fateful voyage, but you have a front-row seat to its frequently thrilling demise. [Christmas 2018, p.122]