Choosing a difficulty in a video game is always a little bit tricky, especially when you haven’t played the game yet. Most players tend to simply go with “medium” or whatever the “intended” average experience is, but players are often left scratching their heads when given either too many options or when the aforementioned “intended” experience is unclear.
In Return to Monkey Island for Switch and PC, the player is given a choice between two difficulty options when loading a new game for the very first time: Casual Mode or Hard Mode. Because Return to Monkey Island is a puzzle game, the differences between the two options aren’t totally clear at the offset in the ways that something that’s a little more straightforward might be. Here’s what you need to know about both options before starting your game.
Return to Monkey Island: Casual Mode
The text that accompanies Casual Mode in Return to Monkey Island reads, “all the story and all the fun but with casual puzzles for the busy on-the-go player.” While this is a little vague, it still captures the essence of the mode. When selecting it, you’ll be getting the same story as in Hard Mode, but with slightly different, simpler puzzles. Typically, this just streamlines a lot of the puzzles, requiring you to complete fewer steps, and making the bigger puzzles a bit more bite-sized. If you’re new to puzzle games, the Monkey Island series, or are just looking to play the game for the story, Casual Mode is the setting for you.
Return to Monkey Island: Hard Mode
With that information about Casual Mode in hand, understanding Hard Mode just means mostly the inverse: puzzles are tougher, have more steps, and may take a few sittings to complete if you’re really stumped. Additionally, there will be more puzzles standing in the way of you and your goals which, for puzzle lovers, is a dream come true, but for those looking to easily experience the game’s story, might want to be avoided. Additionally, playing Return to Monkey Island on Hard Mode means that the game will give you fewer prompts on the game’s controls. As mentioned above, however, playing on Hard Mode won’t alter the story and you’ll have the same experience as if you were playing on Casual Mode.
The Hint Book
Playing on Hard Mode doesn’t restrict your access to the Hint Book either. The Hint Book is an in-game tip sheet available to players playing the game on both Casual and Hard modes that can point you in the right direction if you’re struggling with a puzzle. You won’t have it in your inventory at the start of the game, however. To get it, go to the Voodoo shop in Low Street as soon as you make it to town at the beginning of the game. Talk to the person inside the shop and she’ll give you the book.
Although the Hint Book won’t flat out tell you what to do, you can use it to get a general understanding as to what goals you should be working towards as you progress throughout the game.