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Return Of The Obra Dinn Review

Return of the Obra Dinn sails onto the Nintendo Switch this month giving players another chance to discover the mysterious fate of the vessel and its crew. In 1802 the Obra Dinn set out from London to the Orient but never reached its destination. It’s now 1807 and the ship drifts back to Falmouth port with no crew and damage to the sails. It’s your job to use logic and reasoning to determine what terrible fate fell upon the crew.



Return of Obra Dinn is a first-person puzzle and logic game where you’ll need to use your top-notch detective skills to get to the bottom of things. At the beginning of the game you’re given two items, one being a blank journal that you’ll gradually fill with information about the crew and their fates, another a mysterious pocket watch that, when used near a corpse, can show you how that person died. Using the pocket watch only shows you so much so you’ll really have to pay attention to each and every detail you hear and see in the deceased’s memory and draw your own conclusions based on the limited information.

Don’t expect the game to hold your hand on what to do and rarely will the murderer be explicitly depicted. This left me scratching my head quite a few times and having to replay a person’s death over and over again. When I did correctly assess a crewmember’s fate it felt like I really had to work for it. It was a rewarding feeling like I actually solved a crime.



There’s quite a bit of spooky stuff in this game, which makes this a perfect game to play during October. I played this game in my bed before falling asleep, which I don’t recommend as it gave me some pretty messed up dreams. Obra Dinn has its fair share of gruesome deaths as well so if you’re a bit queasy, be aware.

The presentation is extremely minimalist with only black and white visuals. The color palette can be changed, but it will still be high contrast. This really took a strain on my eyes. I noticed that I couldn’t play this game for too long, otherwise my eyes would start to hurt. So if your eyes are sensitive it might be difficult to fully enjoy the game. Messing around with your brightness settings might help.

Although the game is in black and white it boasts a great deal of detail with the character designs and the ship itself. Each of the faces is depicted well enough to be distinguished from one another.



Every death scene is fully voice acted, which helped a lot when determining who was who because each character has a different accent or way of talking. This makes it necessary to play the game with headphones in handheld mode to properly understand what’s going on. It also gives you greater immersion in the story and more engaged with the gameplay.

I noticed that playing in handheld didn’t strain my eyes as much as when I played it on my TV, perhaps because the smaller screen size was easier on my eyes. Regardless, the game looks fine docked or undocked with no noticeable frame rate difference.

Accompanying the game’s eerie gameplay is its creepy soundtrack. The music perfectly sets the mood for murder and death. I personally love the little jingle that played every time I brought out my pocket watch to travel back in time. This is another reason to play Obra Dinn with headphones on.

Just in time for Halloween, Nintendo Switch owners can experience Return of the Obra Dinn, which was universally praised when it released for PC last year. Now you can enjoy insurance mysteries on the go or curled up in bed under the covers! Just don’t strain your eyes too much like I did!



Return Of The Obra Dinn Review
  • 7/10
    Graphics - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Gameplay - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Lasting Appeal - 8/10

Final Thoughts: GREAT

Discover all the thrills of being a real life insurance investigator with a supernatural pocket watch in the minimalist designed Return of the Obra Dinn; now on the go!


Tony Matthews

Tony has been gaming ever since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn how to read. His greatest accomplishment is not just having played the entire Kingdom Hearts series but also understanding it.

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