The Siege of Spinner Cay Review

Towards the end of last month the second episode of Tales of Monkey Island was released and after a few hours dabbling around with it, and several days before I found some free time to write a review. It’s recommended that you read the review I wrote for the first episode since a lot of the judgements in this review will be similar.

Sound (2/5)
Once again, voice acting is great especially Dominic Armato as Guybrush and Alexandra Boyd as Elaine. The only drawback is the sound quality for some of the voice acting can be poor at occasions, especially Elaine who tends to hiss whenever she pronounces “S”. Some research into this on the Telltale forums suggests this isn’t an isolated incident either with previous Telltale games suffering this problem for some users. It’s a pity since adventure games really depend on their artistic merit (aural and visual) and this is a major blow to this episode’s quality. Hopefully the problem will be rectified in future ones although I’m not holding my breath!

Music (5/5)
Once again Michael Land weaves a magical soundtrack for us in the second episode. This episode, even more so than the previous one, really showcases the diversity in his musical styles with dreamy music for the merfolk of the Jerkbait Islands and a re-crafted LeChuck theme that turns the original onto its head.

The Siege of Spinner Cay Gameplay Video

Graphics (4/5)
The same pros and cons exist with the graphics as was the case with the first episode. They appear to have once again used a cookie-cutter when modelling all their pirates but at least they made a bit of effort with the merfolk (although there are two of them who look exactly the same mind you).

Plot (4/5)
I’m happy to say the plot is as good as the first episode so if you liked the first one, you should definitely like the second. The in-jokes galore are back again and most of them occur whenever you encounter a young bounty hunter named Morgan LeFlay – but this is only natural since she’s actually a fan of Guybrush! The rubber tree gag also makes a re-appearance not to mention a short recording of the "I Pirate I Was Meant to Be" sea shanty from The Curse of Monkey Island (which did you know was only included in the English version of the game?.

One of the most interesting aspects of this episode is that you actually have to cooperate with LeChuck in solving some puzzles. This helps the fans learn a bit more about their former adversary’s mindset and how he goes about resolving issues. The episode once again ends with a cliffhanger like the first, but compared to the mystery in the first episode, this one was laugh-out-loud moment for me :).

Like the first episode, this is your typical point 'n' click adventure game, except with 21st century graphics and voice acting of course! I found the puzzles slightly more challenging in this one, having got stuck for a very long time on one in particular. Even though I knew what the general gist of the solution was (and I would be proved correct later) it was just the manner of execution which was my crucial flaw. This makes it frustrating at times yet also more rewarding once you finally figure it out. Getting the difficulty of puzzles in adventure games right is a delicate tightrope to walk; make it too difficult or obscure and people will be too frustrated to continue, make it too easy and the game won’t be very memorable. I think the developers got it just right.

Also as a minor note I finally figured out how to run (hooray!) – this makes the game much more playable since I don’t need to walk everywhere anymore!

Replayability (4/5)
As mentioned in the review on the previous episode, the only replayability that you could possibly get in adventure games is encouraging players to replay the game thanks to the atmosphere generated by combination of excellent dialogue, puzzles, characters, music and graphics. Adventure games can't rely on multiplayer like most FPSs or RTSs do, or multiple classes and quests like RPGs do in order to keep players coming back for more. As far as adventure games go, this series has so far been pretty good in the replayability department thanks to the staple of the Monkey Island series: humour.

Polish (3/5)
I managed to get some occasional CTDs (Crashes-to-Desktop) this time around! Consequently, this episode gets a slightly lower score than the previous one.

Overall - 82%
Not as polished as the first episode of the series but still manages to maintain the laughs.

If you want to get the game, you can purchase it online off Telltale Games.