Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn screenshot

First Impressions: This game is set in a first-person environment. The progression of the game makes it feel like a mystery/puzzle game, since the players needs to piece together all the mysteries of the Obra Dinn’s history. The Obra Dinn is a ship that from what I understand came back after being lost for a long time. There is interesting history of the ship, and someone has started writing a book to explore the ship’s mysteries. He only partially completed it, and so the player needs to finish it by exploring the ship, discovering interesting pasts, and recording it in the book. 
 
People who like detective/mystery like games will probably enjoy this one. 

 

Going Further: The goal of the game is to find out what happened to all 60 people that were on the Obra Dinn. This is accomplished by finding their dead bodies, and using your pocketwatch to look at the brief events leading to their death. The player also needs to be able to associate every corpse with his/her name, which can be deducted via what people said in the events displayed by the watch.  
 
An interesting game design decision is to teach the player about a mechanic of the game after the player executes it for the first time. This means that the player goes into the game pretty confused, since he isn’t given any instruction on how to progress or what to do. However, as the player gets past the first couple hurdles, this teaching system allows the player to learn at his own pace, and feels progression whenever the game cuts him off to explain something. 
 
There is one specific death that was very hard for me to infer based on the visuals given. I couldn’t tell if the sea monster struck him, or if he exploded due to the audio talking about “powder” before having an explosive sound go off. I understand that the minimalistic graphics lend to the style of the game, but nevertheless I felt its limitations on conveying information. 

Platform
Reviewed by
Ardamax