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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
4.17 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
790 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#70 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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Title
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

graveyard_digital Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-10-03T18:44:18Z
2022-10-03T18:44:18Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Robo1662 Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-10-03T18:07:07Z
2022-10-03T18:07:07Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dar3sarn Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-10-02T14:39:48Z
2022-10-02T14:39:48Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ThorUK3 Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-10-02T02:39:18Z
2022-10-02T02:39:18Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Spageti Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-30T17:15:14Z
2022-09-30T17:15:14Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
brigadafantasma Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-28T05:15:28Z
2022-09-28T05:15:28Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jamure Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-27T12:19:58Z
Windows / Mac
2022-09-27T12:19:58Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
quote Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-26T16:58:29Z
2022-09-26T16:58:29Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
marakasii Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-24T20:56:50Z
2022-09-24T20:56:50Z
0.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cheeese5358 Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-23T07:13:22Z
2022-09-23T07:13:22Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
HumblePanda Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-22T13:54:33Z
2022-09-22T13:54:33Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
serpedi Return of the Obra Dinn 2022-09-22T07:28:32Z
PS4
2022-09-22T07:28:32Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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Single-player
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  • Previous comments (28) Loading...
  • WinterMirage 2021-09-04 01:56:38.17436+00
    Good, but not great. The whole "checkmark after every set of 3 correct answers" just leads to blind guesses later on. I feel like it would have been more interesting If there were some fates that were deliberately impossible to solve.
    reply
    • unj 2021-10-13 20:42:29.795705+00
      Deaths that would be unsolvable would be maddening. And you have to leave before you can solve everything.
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • alliterativeAlpinist 2021-12-29 18:00:52.03551+00
    How is this not on the charts? Entry was created more than three years ago
    reply
    • batubalci 2022-01-14 19:29:48.78405+00
      if that's the rule how is disco elysium on the charts?
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • wallrooseyes 2022-01-03 23:25:36.184701+00
    i think i would enjoy it more if my brain wasn't made of tin foil
    reply
    • LILY69420 2022-02-11 05:28:50.569117+00
      same here. i relied very heavily on guessing a lot of the names which ended up hampering my enjoyment at the end. pretty much everything else about the game is top notch though
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • HiroM 2022-06-18 09:17:41.269613+00
    Papers, Please was a 7, this a 9 so naturally the next Lucas Pope game will be an 11.
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • TheRealJimMorrison 2022-06-30 23:25:19.146892+00
    I just remembered how insanely attractive Lucas Pope is.
    reply
    • to_noid_or_not_to_noid 2022-07-16 22:20:08.613636+00
      Can't believe I actually went and looked at an IGN list to see if there are any other notable game devs who are hot.

      (personal preference: Josh Sawyer...?)
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Philippsburg 2022-07-05 00:40:00.450961+00
    Got addicted to the feeling of getting a set of 3 fates right. Wonderful game.
    reply
    • Convalescence 2022-08-29 18:41:12.813077+00
      I honestly think a big part of why I love this game so much is largely because each time I solved 3 fates was one of the most satisfying feelings I've ever had playing a game
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • to_noid_or_not_to_noid 2022-07-16 22:21:43.0562+00
    One of those games you wish you could play for the first time again.
    reply
    • Convalescence 2022-08-29 18:42:13.009922+00
      not only this, but it's one of those games that you can't ever really play again (other examples: Outer Wilds, Riven)
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • quote 2022-09-26 17:00:27.736723+00
    Never been on a farm charlie?
    reply
    • Convalescence 2022-09-29 16:10:11.667795+00
      work fast! the wind is ALIVE
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
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