Return of the Obra Dinn Review

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Posted: 19 months ago, last updated 4 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

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

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @Dukope

CommitmentCommitment

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.

CostsCosts

Return of the Obra Dinn usually costs £16.74 to £18.99.
 

Return of the Obra Dinn

Xbox One £16.74
PS4 £18.99
Switch £17.99
 
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.


Skill Rating: This game is enjoyed by 14+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity. The game requires you to identify and track a large number of characters with scant evidence. The skill here is attention to detail, patience and lateral thinking. The level you need these at means this is a game for older teenagers.


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