Jules Verne's Return To Mysterious Island
It's like carrying a pocket vacation.
Myst came out two months ago and iPhone owners can't get enough. Now Chillingo has an alternative for those seeking something different with Jules Verne's Return To Mysterious Island, a video game sequel inspired by the author's 1874 novel. In it, you guide a young and beautiful castaway who washes ashore onto a strange island. You'll need to wander around to figure out where she is and why she's there.
Return To Mysterious Island takes up lots of space (256 MB, to be precise), but it's put to good use. The first thing you'll notice are the breathtaking visuals. They're still images that you can rotate a full 360 degrees by dragging your finger along the sides of the screen. They're not just lifeless matte paintings, either, as birds fly overhead and waves wash up on the shore. Every part of the island is worth checking out, from the dark, ominous caves to the lush, tropical outdoor settings.
In addition, the audio is unexpectedly good. The castaway provides narration throughout, letting you know what she's thinking or what she remembers. Ambient noises add to the presentation, from the cawing of seagulls to the creaks of an old windmill. It would've been nice to hear more music, though. The same 30-second riff plays continuously throughout the game.
Gameplay, however, is Mysterious Island's coolest feature. There's tap screen exploration, similar to Myst. However, there's also an innovative item management system where you'll open up your inventory and use items to move ahead. Furthermore, items are combinable to create new tools. A two-branch twig and rubber cord, for example, forms a powerful slingshot that's perfect for hitting animals and other enemies; a tutorial guides you through this system when you first start up the game.
You'll also need to solve various puzzles. Some are easily figured out, like activating a switch. As you get further into the game, however, they grow more complex, requiring one (or more) items from your inventory.
Chillingo did a great job with Return To Mysterious Island. It won't appeal to everyone, but if you like mystery solving and gazing at beautiful sights, book yourself a trip.
What's Hot: Remarkable visuals and audio, manageable item system, it'll take time to get through the game.
What's Not: Some frustrating puzzles, people looking for an action experience may want to pass, lackluster music.