For a franchise that has been going since I was 8 years old, Monkey Island has had a surprising degree of longevity. Whilst I’m sure some of this is fuelled by the nostalgia of those in the age group most likely to have iPad level disposable income, a large part of the franchise’s continued success is the quality of the gameplay and story telling.
In the tradition of the great old movie serials with cliffhanger endings, Tales of Monkey Island unfolds over five chapters with each episodic installment raising the stakes.
In Tales of Monkey Island, hapless pirate Guybrush Threepwood embarks on a quest to find the voodoo exfoliating artifact, La Esponja Grande, after accidentally releasing the pox of LeChuck on the Caribbean’s unsuspecting population (and his wife, Elaine). Along the way, Guybrush fends off a relentless pirate hunter, matches wits with a malicious marquis, overcomes fearsome foes with sabers at sea, and is nearly digested by a giant manatee while hunting down the pox-eliminating sponge.
Unlike movie serials, however, Episodes 2-5 are available for £3.99 per episode on the AppStore straight away, so there’s no need to wait week by week for them to make up an ending.
Whilst I don’t enjoy Monkey Island in the same way I used to (and as I was 8 at the time that’s for the best) the gameplay, story telling and general humour have evolved in such a manner that I can still enjoy it 20 years later.
The first episode of Monkey Island Tales HD is available for free on the iPad until July 22nd.