hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (iPhone)

2:00 PM on 08.11.2009 // Brad Nicholson

Since the initial “wink, wink” line, we all knew that Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition was bound for the App Store. Launching on July 22nd, we were told that this version of the game would be very similar to its platform counterparts. We weren’t misled.

Because of how close this title is to the other versions, I won’t bother reiterating what the game is about, how the Special Edition additions factor into general play, or get into why the game is so magical. If you’re unfamiliar with Secret of Monkey Island or the Special Edition, you would best be served by reading our original review of the release here.

This review, instead, is about the additions and differences specific to the App.

Hit the break for it.

Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (iPhone)
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Released: July 22, 2009
MSRP: $7.99

The point-and-click adventure genre seems like a natural fit for Apple’s mobile platforms. The interface is conducive to the experience. We click and clack in the Mail App and our Twitter or restaurant-finding clients all day, idly pushing through menus and selecting items with the press of a finger. Most adventure titles work in much the same way and Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition isn’t excused.

SMI: SE for the App Store has all of the things you remember from the not-so-long-ago release on the bigger platforms. It does have a few key differences -- zoom functionality, object-verb contextualization -- that give you the tools to play the game on a smaller platform. This version has issues, most stemming from the lack of platform-specific design change. While occasionally frustrating, the issues don’t kill the vibe or interfere enough with the core game for this to warrant a poor score.

Not long ago, I reviewed this for the PC and Xbox LIVE Arcade. Not much has changed between this mobile version of the game and its counterparts. You can still hear the sharp voice acting, receive hints on the fly, and toggle the visuals between the original version and the new art.

The differences are hardware-related. Many of the fine visual details are lost on the smaller screen. For example, I needed to squint to see the sword nestled on the cluttered shelf in the item store or strain to see a mug of Grogg in the SCUMM Bar. It wouldn’t matter if these items were sheer atmosphere, but they’re not. You will need the mug and the sword to solve a riddle or two. The multi-touch zoom option helps to pinpoint this stuff, but you need to know what you’re looking for.

If you’re unfamiliar with the original, you won’t know what you need from the environment. The zoom option reveals a mash of pixelation and obscures everything else. The uninitiated will be forced to toggle the zoom constantly to find all the little trinkets in the environment. The fresh player will not. The loss of the fine details could be a severe hindrance. Also, the action cursor doesn’t like to cooperate quickly when zoomed -- it’s a chore to be stuck in the zoom state.

Verb commands have been contextualized in this version. As you drag the cursor across the screen with your finger, the game automatically assigns verbs to objects of interest and defaults to movement when nothing is around. It sounds great on paper, but it proves finicky in reality. A man’s stomach won’t register the “Talk to” command, but his upper chest may. Objects play by the same iffy rules.

This isn’t much of an issue. The same UI from its counterparts has come across the platform divide. The menu buttons are large enough to pick without issue, although the related problem from the other version rears its head: it’s hard to combine items fast. But I had little problem delivering the Grog, which is something I can’t say about the XBLA version.

This version takes some time to get used to. I went at it with an App mindset. I expected that I wouldn’t have to fiddle with a cursor and played the game as if it was much more intuitive than it is. LucasArts isn’t trying to pound a square peg in a round hole. This version works fine. Verb commands and the item list can be accessed with a few touches, and moving the cursor isn’t that much of a drag. It just took a while for my brain to register that I was playing a port of a game intended for use with other platforms. After an hour or so, I got into the rhythm again and somehow, even after playing the game mere days ago, loved it all over again.

Secret of Monkey Island is the cornerstone of adventure titles and this port does the game justice. While it would have been nice to have a more specialized version, I can’t argue against what LucasArts created here. This is a solid port and a fabulous way to experience MI on a bus or at work when no one is looking. Give it a spin.

Score: 8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)



Brad Nicholson,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Agent9 avatarAgent9
gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/edB8UKLdSZep8ZSOYF8u[/img]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
So apparently Nintendo is taking down Mario Maker Let's Plays as fast as they can. Good job!
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
Phantom Pain is fucking glorious.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
Anyone remember the cartoon "Freakazoid"? I'm doing artwork for a box for work to hold my supplies, but I cant remember some of the better characters. Freakazoid, Steph, Cosgrove, Candlejack, the Lobe, Caveguy... but who else?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Gotta love all those Dtoid community members that magically appear whenever there's a giveaway.
DSBrad avatarDSBrad
Newest Madden may be one of my favorites. Been taking all my time up.
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
TWITCHTOID! I'll be playing some more PS4 Zombi and then some Until Dawn if'n I want to change things up. Link: [url=http://www.twitch.tv/thedefenestrator]Twitch.tv: TheDefenestrator[/url]
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Bless Wasteland 2's custom portraits [img]http://i.imgur.com/JuWaB1W.png?1[/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Sorting out a bunch of university stuff and going through a bit of writers block. I'm also holding some of my best stuff back for freelancing purposes (uni ain't cheap!), so sorry if my blogs have been a bit lackluster lately. And will be for 4-ish weeks.
gajknight avatargajknight
Been looking for a car to buy today. I swear, I am so sick of my mums voice. "It's too expensive!" "Don't you think it's a little big..." "INSURANCE!" Goddamn woman, chill your beans.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Hey look! I bought some toys and stuff and junk and what-not. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/Mobile%20Uploads/2015-08/IMAG0656.jpg~original[/IMG]
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Yes, it's essentially a trace job, but this is my first piece of pixel art: [img]http://i.imgur.com/N0zmHiL.png[/img]
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Oh for fuck's sake, why is there no Netflix app for my PSTV?
Ben Davis avatarBen Davis
Apologies for the lack of Experience Points lately! I'm taking a short break from writing them, but don't worry. They'll be back soon enough!
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -