Return Of The Obra Dinn is a stylish first person adventure

Papers, Please was a visually and emotionally unsettling experience that managed to convey in far too vivid detail how even nice people could succumb to corruption and apathy when faced with a threat to their family's livelihood. Best of all, such a powerful game was designed, written, and created by a single man!

And now the creator is back again, this time around with a narrative driven mystery styled after the old first person adventure games from the 80s. Return of the Obra Dinn is currently not finished, but Lucas Pope has released a short gameplay demo showcasing what exactly its all about, and if you have 20 minutes to spare, I'd give it a look.

The Obra Dinn ship

Some of the detail might be lost due to compression, but its a rather fetching art style

The story premise is that in 1802, a merchant ship by the name of "Obra Dinn" sailed away from London bearing over 200 tons of trade goods bound for the Orient. That would be the last time anyone had seen the Obra Dinn, until 6 years later when the ship slowly drifted into port with damaged sails, and no visible crew members. As an insurance adjustor for the East India Company, its your job to find a way to board the ship and recover the captain's logbook in order to figure out what exactly happened with the crew, but more importantly, the cargo.

Given that its not a very long demo I will abstain from going in depth about the story, but suffice to say, it has managed to catch my attention. As for the gameplay, its very similar to the modern adventure games in the sense that you walk around, poke every element of interest, and see where exactly that leads you, all the while enjoying a rather fetching aesthetic.

Return of the Obra Dinn features a first person perspective

First rule of adventure gaming: rub your hands on everything

If you've played any of the previous versions of Return of the Obra Dinn, Pope has detailed what exactly changed from those relatively "ancient" iterations of the game:

New intro sequence (voiced dialog, start on ferry, clearer watch quest)

Vignetted flashbacks

Fully modeled top deck

One new music track, remastered the rest

One additional flashback

Take a few steps below deck

Pause/settings menu

There is currently no release date set for Return of the Obra Dinn, but given the intriguing setting, and the developer's pedigree, I'd say its well worth keeping an eye on.

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