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Return of the Obra Dinn

Developer: Lucas Pope Publisher: 3909
18 October 2018
Return of the Obra Dinn - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.19 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
1,295 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#67 All-time
#2 for 2018
When a merchant ship drifts into a port in Falmouth after vanishing several years ago, an insurance agent is sent to investigate the mysterious lack of crew. Using clues and given resources, piece together the fates of every former crew member through glimpses of past events that occurred on-board the ship. Deduce fates based on the clues you've acquired through thorough investigation, and keep an eye out for shady characters lurking in the shadows; tales of mutiny and betrayal are to be discovered on the "good ship" Obra Dinn.
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best showcase why indie games are great
The pixelated black-and-white style of "Return of the Obra Dinn" sets it apart from other games. The process of reverse-engineering what happened on the ship is unique and engaging, creating an experience that feels refreshingly different. All these elements come together seamlessly, making it a game I practically binged through from start to finish.
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anybodynow 2024-05-03T07:26:54Z
2024-05-03T07:26:54Z
4.5
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Played this in it's entirety over the course of two nights (which, can I just say, what an excellent length for a game like this!) with a friend who I now realise may be the world number one Lucas Pope fan internationally. He spent the entire game geeking out, trying (and occasionally failing) to restrain himself from spoiling crucial parts that he was excited about. It was an equal parts annoying and electrifying environment for a mystery game. The game itself is a thunderous accumulation of aesthetic force, in which pope wrangles every single possible element of dramatic tension out of a relatively flimsy plot, utilising nothing but stationary (and colourless) 3d environments, silent film-style title cards, and a seemingly impossibly skilled array of voice actors to do so. The music is the real secret (by which I mean not even vaguely secret) weapon, combining with perfect editing rhythms to position the player within their very own dvd boxset detective drama. I called the plot here flimsy because it is. But the most frustrating element of the game (and the biggest problem, including the inevitably repetitive nature of the gameplay / obvious total lack of replay value) is probably that this only reveals itself to be the case right at the end. Because information is revealed in such an invigorating and disjointed manner throughout, the actual story of events as you discover them is really compelling. But the conclusion can't help but leave a little to be desired. Nevertheless, this is probably the single best detective game ever made, and the only one I've ever played in which 'detecting' is rendered the deeply complex logic puzzle it should be, as opposed to a dialogue tree with obviously wrong answers.
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henryvines 2023-10-20T11:42:23Z
2023-10-20T11:42:23Z
4.0
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it's wonderful
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yoitu 2023-09-28T18:32:25Z
2023-09-28T18:32:25Z
›80%
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this game goes from great to horrible once you actually beat it

the gameplay was SO good that I found myself so absorbed into what I was doing that I just beat the whole game in one go around

but like.... THATS IT? what kind of fucking idiotic story is this like the whole time I was under the assumption that the extra chapter was going to be some kind of all encompassing thing but it just tells me information that I pretty much already just inferred while playing the game for fucking 9 hours

like what is the fucking point of finding all the fates of all the passengers if ultimately I have as much of a grasp on the story as I did when I was like an hour in

what did I gain from spending 8 entire hours finding all the rest of the fates?

maybe I'm just bad at this because this game had me STRUGGLING to find information for some people and I felt so happy once I beat it only to just like sit there looking at the credits with my mouth wide open and my hands on my head

I was going through so many emotions trying to find all the fates because in my head there would be some kind of reward for doing so and like don't get me wrong I had a TON of fun doing so, but like WHAT WAS THE POINT??

hearing everyone compare this to outer wilds makes me SO mad, because outer wilds has an ending that made me FEEL SOMETHING, this game just left me empty inside and now I want my money back
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voomex 2023-06-30T07:03:56Z
2023-06-30T07:03:56Z
2.5
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a confident masterpiece that uses limitations to huge effect
before i share my thoughts:
if the concept (early 1800s nautical detective game) is even remotely appealing to you, do yourself a favor--go in blind. don't read guides, don't watch videos. turn your lights down, pour a hot drink, light an oil lamp. play the game.

great. back to it:

i don't even really know what to say. this is one of the most impressive games i have ever played, and at the end of 9 hours it has planted itself firmly in my all-time top 10.
obra dinn is an amazing accomplishment of non-traditional storytelling, player trust, and world-building. it's a masterclass on how to use limitations to your advantage, from the limited but incredible art style to the sparse but impactful score to the very limited but eminently functional range of verbs available to the player. it accomplishes everything it sets out to do with confidence and style. hugely impressed by pope and his small team. papers, please was wonderful but this has truly blown me away. can't wait to see what comes next!
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Return of the Obra Dinn is among the most popular and revered indie titles of the past decade and it's really easy to see why: extremely aesthetically pleasing style, unique gameplay, unique location/atmosphere, it checks a lot of bullet points you'd hope to find in the world of independent games.

Thankfully the puzzles range from properly difficult (with a nice range from "this is a given" to "how was I supposed to know that") but none reach deep into the territory of the worst traits of adventures games (not clicking a specific pixel to progress for example or completely non-logical puzzles solutions).

The only trait with these games that remains is any replay value: despite the title, you can not RETURN to the Obra Dinn. The game is beaten once it's done with little new material to discover on a second trip. Outside this, the narrative of the horrifying creatures (both human and non-human!) that exist on the Obra Dinn has the ability to come on a bit too fast leaving you with a giant ship with a bunch of puzzles and no ongoing narrative to push you further after you've discovered each cut scene. Even the finale for completing the game is not immediately satisfying with the casual lovecraftian beast reference reference which for me, felt more empty than the rest of the references in the game.

That's minor gripes for a game that's otherwise an essential adventure game from the era. If you haven't tried it and like this genre, I urge you to play it. When's the next game Pope?
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unj 2021-03-19T18:29:23Z
2021-03-19T18:29:23Z
4.0
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Catalog

rengoestar Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-24T21:26:06Z
2024-05-24T21:26:06Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Sharpstick Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-24T16:17:54Z
Windows / Mac
2024-05-24T16:17:54Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
longestseason Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-23T17:26:55Z
2024-05-23T17:26:55Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
steam
Kimmu Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-22T08:45:49Z
2024-05-22T08:45:49Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
niallquinn Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-19T22:52:30Z
2024-05-19T22:52:30Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
asdp Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-19T18:36:44Z
2024-05-19T18:36:44Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
to play.
pinkpi Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-18T07:43:40Z
Windows / Mac
2024-05-18T07:43:40Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SphoricusII Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-17T01:35:52Z
2024-05-17T01:35:52Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
steam
anybodynow Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-15T23:35:49Z
Switch
2024-05-15T23:35:49Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
evil46 Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-15T16:28:03Z
Windows / Mac
2024-05-15T16:28:03Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
roman_cancel Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-15T02:56:21Z
2024-05-15T02:56:21Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
FellowInternetTraveller Return of the Obra Dinn 2024-05-13T08:56:45Z
Windows / Mac
2024-05-13T08:56:45Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Previous comments (36) Loading...
  • ac_church 2022-11-10 16:39:17.472017+00
    hey folks, is this a good game to play with my non-gamer partner as a co-pilot/viewer? we both love mysteries
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    • Previous replies (2) Loading...
    • hopeascendchaos 2023-02-23 18:51:46.064545+00
      thatd make the game even better probably
    • ac_church 2023-03-27 06:39:10.961841+00
      yep, it was a great choice! what else should we try?
    • HannahHunted 2023-04-20 02:19:07.93463+00
      if you liked this, maybe Case of the Golden Idol
    • Convalescence 2023-08-31 07:39:46.792218+00
      agreed with golden idol. ^

      could also recommend Riven and Outer Wilds
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • weston69 2022-12-05 15:37:25.513599+00
    one of the most creative games ive ever played, but one with absolutely zero replay value. damn i wish i could experience it again
    reply
    • dontwannaknow 2023-02-27 20:52:26.406692+00
      buddy wants procedurally generated puzzle games
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Skillager1 2023-01-06 05:49:04.167737+00
    This was really boring and repetitive
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • palceu 2023-03-20 01:55:45.983817+00
    brilliant gameplay loop and narrative structure, but the story itself felt pretty boring to me, a bit disappointing coming from papers please
    reply
    • Convalescence 2023-08-25 08:07:51.449134+00
      I need a new Lucas pope game to marry the best of both papers please and this. Would be absolutely mind crushing gamer goodness
    • AntonL1kesPotato 2024-01-17 18:29:37.47023+00
      the story is it's main weak point i'd say every other aspect is done well
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • HeatherMadhouse 2023-05-25 19:31:13.832543+00
    is it bad if i don't think that this is as good as papers please?
    reply
    • heavymetalthunder 2023-06-06 09:02:10.26008+00
      nah i feel same
    • Convalescence 2023-08-25 08:08:20.364167+00
      I’m a huge sycophant for this game and honestly I can see it too. papers please is fucking fantastic
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • marachi 2023-07-31 17:32:22.415094+00
    Can't believe I was able to solve one of the indentities thanks to the end credits and I keep wondering if that's intentional
    reply
    • unj 2023-08-01 15:47:29.56003+00
      I'm pretty positive that's a way to confirm something, yeah, but it can be logically deduced too.
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Crazystone 2024-01-17 20:00:07.814387+00
    Lucas Pope proved that boring profession is boring in papers please and here he proved that interesting profession is boring
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Alpoea 2024-04-14 05:06:45.868653+00
    It's fun actually
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
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