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Return of the Obra Dinn Review

Game image Return of the Obra Dinn
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Posted: 16 months ago, last updated 7 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


You play a shipping company agent assessing what happened on board a fictional East India Company ship where all the passengers have all mysteriously died. Exploring the ship, you can revisit the moment of death for each body in order to identify each of the 60 crew members and how they died. It’s an imposing challenge that must be teased apart with patience, deductive reasoning, attention to detail and some guesswork.

Rather than leading you by the hand to the answers, the game trusts its players to work things out themselves. It’s not easy, but arriving at a solution thanks to perseverance is hugely satisfying.

Although there is violence in the game, its black-and-white visuals and static scenes make this more palatable than you’d think. If you have someone in the family who loves solving puzzles or won’t stop until the crossword is finished, this is a great game to play with them. Like an Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie novel, the joy comes from knitting together the clues and making instinctive leaps of deduction.

One family I know played this over one long evening, into the night, treating it like a murder mystery party, complete with themed food and beverages. One of the players took it upon themselves to take notes while together they worked through the evidence of each death to discover what happened on board the ship.

DetailsGame Details


Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Dukope


Duration: This game will take between 9 hours and 13 hours to complete.
Players: This is a single player game. Although most people will solve the game in around 9 hours, this depends on intuition and deduction and can take considerably longer.


Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Rated PEGI 16 with sustained depictions of death to human-like characters. The examiner expanded the rating: This game contains sustained depictions of death to human-like characters. Throughout the game the player will relive the last moments of a character’s life. The lead up to the deaths is portrayed only through audio and subtitles. When the death occurs, the scene becomes a still 3D image which you can freely explore and view from multiple angles. Some of the deaths are particularly gruesome, such as a man being ripped in half by a kraken, and a group of men whose necks are being crushed by the claws of a large crustacean. While these images are particularly gruesome, the fact that they are still images, paired with such a highly artistic style lessens the impact of the violence. The audio can be highly disturbing with the sounds of characters screaming in pain and bones breaking.

In the US the ESRB rated this as MATURE with blood, intense violence, language, partial nudity.


Accessibility for this game is as follows:


How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

Cognitive Pressure

Reaction-time Not Critical: Individual game actions don’t need quick reactions.

Save Anytime: The game automatically saves progress or you can save any time, and not lose progress.


How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

Moderate Reading: Moderate reading required.

Text Visibility

Large Clear Text: Text is large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.

High Text Contrast: Text colour contrasts to background.


Large Clear Subtitles: Subtitles are large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.

Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.

All Dialogue is Voiced: All of the game dialogue and narrative can be voiced.


How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.

Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.

Invert X/Y Axis: You can invert the direction required to control looking and aiming.

Rapid Pressing Optional: Quick, repeated button pressing not required or can be skipped or disabled.

Vibration Optional: Controller vibration not used in the game or you can disable it.

Adjust Mouse/Stick Sensitivity: Adjust how sensitive mouse/stick controls are.


How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.


Large Game Elements: Game characters and other elements are large and distinguishable.

Outline Interactive Elements: Characters, platforms and enemies can be outlined for visibility.

Visual Distractions

No Flashes: No flashing strobe effects or you can disable them.

No Screen Shake: No screen shake effect or this can be disabled.

Colour adjustments: Adjust colours of characters or game elements for greater visibility

Clear Interface: The game navigation, maps and information are clear to read, large or adjustable.


How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Play Without Hearing: No audio cues are necessary to play the game well

System Settings

Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: @JonahMonaghan

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Games Like Return of the Obra Dinn

Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Return of the Obra Dinn or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Return of the Obra Dinn, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 16+ or ESRB MATURE 17+ games.

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Image 242 Image 243 Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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