When last we left our hero, Guybrush Threepwood, an unseen assailant held him at sword point. After a brief recap from the Voodoo Lady, Telltale Games’ Tales of Monkey Island: The Siege of Spinner Cay picks up right where the events of Launch of The Screaming Narwhal left off.
In five to six hours of game play, players will collect golden summoning idols, fight the Pirate Hunter Extraordinaire Morgan LeFlay, get caught in an epic battle, and team up with the unlikely allies. As a whole, this chapter’s puzzles are more difficult than its predecessor, and range from combination to item replacement. One particularly devious puzzle involves supplying a trio of pox-ridden pirates with a fake turtle idol – players will need keen eyes for that one. As usual, a built-in hint system provides audio clues if and when necessary.
Like Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, players can choose between WASD keyboard navigation and a mouse-based compass system for movement. WASD navigation continues to remain the more fluid and natural feeling of the two control schemes.
The Siege of Spinner Cay features a unique, aquatic visual flair, with a colorful assortment of androgynous merfolk and ornate stone buildings reminiscent of lost city of Atlantis. In addition to impressive artistic design, the in-game audio is as strong as ever, thanks to fantastic voice acting courtesy of Dominic Armato and series newcomer Nikki Rapp. Michael Land’s rousing score rounds out the audio well.
A cast of memorable characters is crucial to adventure games. In this regard, SOSC strikes a near-perfect balance between familiar faces and newcomers. Guybrush, Elaine, Van Winslow, and the Marquis de Singe all return, while bumbling henchmen Trenchfoot and Hardtack, the nefarious Captain McGillicutty, and a pirate hunter named Morgan LeFlay make their debuts.
The lack of a progressive hint system is the game’s biggest drawback. The built-in hint system gives players a nudge, but each puzzle has only one hint associated with it. Gamers new to the adventure genre will get stuck, since puzzles often rely on a single component for that “aha” moment. With a bit of imagination and patience, those moments will come. When they do, they feel like an epiphany.
Tales of Monkey Island: The Siege of Spinner Cay is one of the most clever, entertaining, and downright fun adventure games available. It’s bigger, longer, and more difficult than its predecessor, setting a high standard for the rest of the series to follow. If you’ve not yet set sail on Guybrush Threepwood’s latest adventures, The Siege of Spinner Cay is a great point to start.