LucasArts, the creators of The Secret of Monkey Island, released their beautiful game for the iPhone around a week ago after many hints were given for the game being released. I’ve played extensively with this game, and I believe I can lay down a final verdict on this game. Reading this SEGA? This is a port done right.
Rehashed: I really, really like the fact that LucasArts ported over a rehashed game to the App Store and not just a straight port with the original graphics. Some may have liked the original graphics, but for me, the new ones absolutely rock.
Not An Emulator: One thing that SEGA is notoriously know for doing is putting an ROM into a sluggish emulator, then releasing that for $4.99. LucasArts’s Secret of Monkey Island is a game that’s actually a game and not emulated. The special edition is specifically made for the iPhone, and the game was most likely made from scratch.
Upholds the Spirit: Ports of famous games like Golden Axe are usually either sluggish, input bad controls, or does not fit the multitouch iPod screen. Because of these factors, the ports of these games usually fail to uphold the nostalgia and awesomeness felt in the past. The Secret of Monkey Island does a wonderful job upholding the spirit of the game, and the fact that you can play with the classic graphics makes it even better.
Shake For Hints: Stuck? One factor that seems to present in almost all adventure games is that you don’t know what to do. In The Secret of Monkey Island, you have the ability to shake for hints when you’re stuck. There’s no need to search for guides on the Internet or download long Word documents. The “shake for hint” feature greatly increases the fun factor of the game and leaves a user enjoying the game more than being frustrated.
Controls: I found the controls for The Secret of Monkey Island not natural at all. The pointer felt more like a mouse than something that’s on a touch screen since you have to drag the pointer around. I’m sure most of you will get used to these controls after a while, but the dragging just feels so unnatural. If you’re reading LucasArts, please make the controls so that it feels like I’m playing on a touch screen.
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is an extremely well done port with rehashed graphics and hours of gameplay. This isn’t a watered down version of the game, and it surely isn’t a sluggish or unresponsive port. LucasArts did an excellent job with making the game for the iPhone, and I am so glad that they actually took the time to make a new game rather than port it directly. There’s also an option to change the look to the original, retro graphics so that older players will still feel that nostalgia. Of course, controls can be proved so that it feels natural on an iPhone or iPod Touch, but the controls don’t bother me much compared to how much the game delivers.