You wake up face down on the beach, sand in your nostrils and the taste of sea water in your mouth. Wait a minute, this isn’t Gilligan’s Island. Of course not, you’re smack dab in the middle of Jules Verne’s Return to Mystery Island for the iPhone/iPod Touch, and you are taking control of Mina, a sailor who finds herself stranded on an island somewhere, and she is hungry. Really. You start the game off by scrounging up materials you find on the beach so you can regain the strength to move some logs that are blocking your path into another area. To do so, you have to gather up the materials to make a fire, some food, and a strong stomach because all you can really find are some assorted seafood and a dead porcupine.
I know, I’ve made the game sound utterly thrilling, but there is a certain level of depth evident in Return to Mystery Island. You will find so many items that it just becomes an encumbrance to be holding them all, but many of them do combine with one another or interact with the environment in some way. For example, in the beginning of the game, you find a metal plaque. Must have been some useless award that was given out, because clearly you don’t care what it was used for, as you combine it with a rock and sharpen it into a knife. You can then take this knife and cut down a vine near the logs blocking your path for some thin rope, or on the grass to get some wheat grain, or on those monkeys throwing rocks at you for a free meal. Okay, I was just joking on the last one, please don’t send PETA after me.
One of my real gripes about Return to Mystery Island is the inventory. Sure, you have multiple pages of inventory space available to you, but if you need to combine items on separate pages together, you’re going to have to place it into your hand slot, scroll over to the desired page, and drop it onto the item. Fortunately, they have a combo bar above the items themselves, making it so you only have to fumble with the pages once!
Return to Mystery Island has wonderful graphics that are beautifully rendered on the iPhone. On my iPhone 3GS, looking around in this wonderful scenery was smooth as butter and I could not complain. The environments are very lush, colourful, and the animations are all very smooth. The graphics are the strongest aspect of Return to Mystery Island and they definitely do not disappoint. There are also some drawn portions of the game, such as story cut-scenes or when you combine two items successfully, which are great additions.
The musical sound track of Return to Mystery Island is wonderful – a subtly oriental feeling about it that fits the environment perfectly. If I were to complain about anything at all, it is that it loops quite a bit, and after a long session of trying to wrack your brain on what to do next, it can get annoying. The sound effects are great, delivering a very crisp and distinct sound.
Jules Verne’s Return to Mystery Island is a wonderful point-and-click adventure game that has wonderful graphics, great sound, and deep and challenging gameplay that will keep you playing for hours. Fans of the genre and fans of Jules Verne novels should definitely check it out.
MustTap Score: Silver TapLooks great and gives out some quality stuff!
Jules Verne’s Return to Mystery Island is a very faithful and well done adaptation of the game onto the iPhone and iPod Touch, very nifty little point-and-click adventure game that sports beautiful graphics and music. A thinker, a challenge, and if you’re into these games or a fan of the series, you should consider buying it.