Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
  1. 100
    Whether or not you've ever experienced Monkey Island's ridiculous puzzles and eccentric characters, this is a great opportunity to explore the reemerging world of adventure gaming.
  2. I found the game as refreshing as a bucket of ice water on a sweltering evening. The animation and still art is better. The story is top notch. The music and voice work is as good as it always was (excellent).
  3. Even at this early stage (1 of 5), Tales of Monkey Island earns a full recommendation for adventure fans that are pining for the days when games had a strong mental challenge and the payoff was completely hysterical lunacy.
  4. The best parts of old adventure games are still there, and the tiresome bits have been trimmed out. All in all, this is the best adventure game interface ever.
  5. A well-deserved fresh of breath air puts more wind in the sales of a beloved franchise.
  6. Well worth picking up for fans of the original and newcomers alike, and I think it'd be a perfect introduction to the genre for just about anyone.
  7. The difficulty of the problem-solving you're tasked with is perfectly pitched, and if you do get stuck, the very subtle hint system may be all you need to help you along. You never feel overwhelmed and the gameplay doesn't become tedious or as frustrating as it can in other adventure games.
  8. It is a worthy successor to one of the finest adventure series ever to sail the seven seas. Here is to hoping Telltale can keep the Jolly Roger flying as high as it does here throughout the full length of the Tales season.
  9. 90
    The game is a joy to behold.
  10. Following excellent Sam Max, Strongbad and Wallace & Gromit episodic series, Telltale Games has done it once again. Tales of Monkey Island's first episode, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, is a "yo-ho-ho and a barrel of laughs" P&C adventure game.
  11. This short but delightful chapter offers a great entry point to the series and is worth replaying again once all the upcoming chapters have all been released.
  12. Already it’s better than both the Wallace & Gromit and Strongbad series, and makes a move on some episodes of Sam & Max.
  13. And I dare say it's the best title Telltale game released so far.
  14. Tales of Monkey Island is a worthy successor to the classic series which might not surpass parts one and two, but comes close to three. There are just a few minor issues, but personally I can't wait for Episode 2 to arrive.
  15. An amazing purchase. From the spot on comic humor, to the amazing voice acting, everything adds up to a worthy investment.
  16. Tales of Monkey Island is a blast to play, but feels a little short, even for episodic content.
  17. PC Gamer UK
    More fun than a barrel of monkeys, and a fine follow-up to at least the last couple of Monkey Island sequels. [Sept 2009, p.73]
  18. Overall, the first outing in the Tales of Monkey Island series feels a lot like riding a bike for the first time in over a decade. Sure, you may wobble a bit at first and you may not be able to pull off all the same tricks as you could in your younger days, but things ultimately fall into place and it isn't long before you relax into a nice rhythm.
  19. 83
    The most loved adventure franchise of the nineties is back, and this first chapter assures that Monkey Island still have much to offer to gamers.
  20. PC Format
    I don't think this is going to be as good as the new Island series gets either. [Sept 2009, p.97]
  21. Everything here is so Monkey Island, so classic LucasArts. Telltale not only resurrected an old series, but also proved that none of the recent imitators will ever become Monkey Island.
  22. Not as good has the first two masterpieces, the game created by Telltale is definitely challenging and funny, very respectful of the legacy of Guybrush and his friends. The new 3D visuals are good and punchlines, jokes and puzzles are well devised and let you enter smoothly in the world of LeChuck.
  23. 80
    Monkey Island is back. This first episode is a strong start, with Guybrush at his best, an amusing script and a barrel of grog to boot.
  24. I was really satisfied with the three or four hours it took me to get through Launch of the Narwhal, and the episode ends on a delicious cliffhanger that has me eager to see what happens in next month's episode.
  25. A welcome return to MonkeyIsland and a promising first episode to a new season of graphic adventuring.
  26. 80
    Telltale hit it right out of the park with the first installment of the series. It has plenty of humor, fun gameplay, nice puzzles and wonderful music and voice work. The only real setback to the game is that the hint system can be too helpful.
  27. The return of the beloved Monkey Island series is something that most adventure gamers have been waiting for. And with the arrival of the first episode, it is safe to say that no one will be disappointed. Telltale Games have done a great job on capturing familiar aspects of the previous games, while bringing some new elements to it.
  28. 80
    It's a new Monkey Island game. Play it if you dig the series, play it if you dig Telltale's other stuff, and play it if you dig adventure games in general. And if you're still saying this genre's dead here and now in 2009, you're just plain wrong. And you probably fight like a dairy farmer.
  29. The first chapter of Tales of Monkey Island was a nice surprise.The mighty pirate Guybrush Threepwood is back and for the older fans of the monkey island saga this is a must buy.
  30. Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is the chance to gain back an old friend for veteran gamers and the chance to gain a new one for the others, on the path of pirates.
  31. The control system can be labeled as interesting (sweeping the mouse around the screen to guide Guybrush around is one of the worst control schemes I’ve ever encountered) but thankfully this can be swapped for WASD keyboard controls.
  32. Crucially, it left me wanting more. If Telltale can mix their own identity in with the old Monkey Island magic they've conjured up, we're going to be in for a real treat over the coming months.
  33. Although this first chapter is part of a larger storyline and of necessity ends on a cliffhanger, it functions well enough on its own to be a satisfying gaming experience.
  34. Easier than the classics, but not without difficulty. We got properly stuck once and found the rest mildly challenging. [Sept 2009, p.112]
  35. Total PC Gaming
    A promising start and an engaging, enjoyable adventure in its own right. [Issue#23, p.58]
  36. Pelit (Finland)
    Has potential that can be tapped in the consecutive episodes, if emphasis is put on more inspired character design and wittier repartee. [Aug 2009]
  37. 79
    The episode's biggest weakness is the clear lack of any kind of grand finale. While the music swells once you leave the island, the finale lacks epic triumph and the denouement amounts to a cliffhanger, leaving more questions than answers.
  38. It's a short ride, and not something you'll probably be playing time and again. For what's there, Chapter 1 certainly delivers an adequate adventure for a classic hero. It just seems like something new could have been done with it.
  39. A fun and throughout enjoyable kick-off for Telltales new adventure series - but as an actual Monkey Island game, it does not fully satisfy. There are only a few characters to interact with, the plot is really not that interesting and the 3D graphics are a bit low on detail. Voice acting is superb, however - Dominic Armato really hits the mark in his performance of Guybrush.
  40. All together Tales of the Screaming Narwhal is a title, which appeals to players of the older generation, who played the other Monkey Island games. Short, but a good adventure!
  41. And Guybrush is so likeable-in that pestering, caddish sort of way-that I want to know what happens to him. That, really, is what a serial game should accomplish; to leave players hungry for more.
  42. As this is a classic adventure game, the story is a big part of the experience. As such, the pace will probably feel somewhat slow to those who've never played this type of game before. I wouldn't put the story on par with that of the original Monkey Island, but it's certainly better than average.
  43. In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1 we miss the pleasant sense of humor of The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2, and its great pace. But Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is an acceptable first entry for a new franchise that, with its 5 chapters together, could result in a nice game.
  44. It's a good adventure game, but for veterans of the series it's still disappointing. It's obvious that Telltale tried to make the best out of a small budget, but Monkey Island deserves better than that. It hurts to see the greatest adventure series being cut into little pieces.
  45. In anticipation of that potential, every adventure fan should consider this an essential play, and go into it with the understanding that this is a very good and very fun game-just not the best Telltale has to offer.
  46. It's great to have an old friend back in the spotlight where it belongs.
  47. Despite a rather forgettable supporting cast, Telltale makes up for it with consistently excellent puzzle design, and occasional flourishes of comedy genius.
  48. It's a great return from a beloved saga, but it can be better on next installments. Control is a bit though and it lacks a bit of the charisma from previous entries.
  49. PC PowerPlay
    Wholesome adventure fun for Threepheads and newcomers alike. [Oct 2009, p.78]
  50. Tales of Monkey Island is a great new chapter in the Monkey Island-series. It's a fun addition to the episodic games that Telltale Games offers and will satisfy the hunger of fans of the series. It's only a shame that the quality of the original series never will be achieved again.
  51. PC Zone UK
    While it's no classic, every Monkey Island fan should be playing this. [Oct 2009, p.68]
  52. It's not as engaging or memorable as we remember the originals to be, and the puzzles won't blow anyone away, but it's still hugely exciting to play a brand new Monkey Island game, such is the enduring popularity of the early 90s classics.
  53. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    We anticipated a flawless successor of the legend and we got a great and funny adventure game…but we expected a better one from the creators of Sam & Max series. [Aug 2009]
  54. Edge Magazine
    There's enough skill on display to suggest that these tales might actually be worth telling. [Sept 2009, p.99]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 81
  2. Negative: 8 out of 81
  1. sLm
    Feb 11, 2014
    Lots of Spanish references, and not a single game translation of the game in Spanish. Dumbasses... And by the way, the "j" in "Esponja" is notLots of Spanish references, and not a single game translation of the game in Spanish. Dumbasses... And by the way, the "j" in "Esponja" is not pronounced /dʒ/, but /h/...
    Full Review »
  2. NathanM
    Aug 19, 2009
    In general the humor and the attitude is all general... This is to say it "feels" like playing a classic Monkey Island In general the humor and the attitude is all general... This is to say it "feels" like playing a classic Monkey Island Adventure...however the original complexity and difficulty is not present. The sheer number of scenes or locals with which Guybrush must interact simultaneously to solve the puzzles is simply not present. Another lacking feature that no one has mentioned to my knowledge. Where did the "Pick Up" "Open" "Close" "Talk To" "Look At" "Use" "Push" "Pull" go? These options added a great level of depth to the previous games, if even in the form of red herrings, which is lost here. In essence to make a strange comparison... I feel that if we might call the original Monkey Islands "Pokemon" then this latest is more like "Pokemon Snap!" Understand that I am not comparing Monkey Island to Pokemon in content. I am comparing Pokemon to Pokemon Snap in order to more clearly quantify the differential in the level of "gaming depth" between the classic Monkey Islands and this latest release. Same theme, same attitude, but shallower. Full Review »
  3. FediS.
    Jul 12, 2009
    This game is painfully mediocre.. All that is good about it comes from the ideas/music/story of the 4 previous games (Yes MI4 included,sinceThis game is painfully mediocre.. All that is good about it comes from the ideas/music/story of the 4 previous games (Yes MI4 included,since it's very good). The new island's design and all the supporting characters are so dull,badly designed and unoriginal that it justs destroys it, even if it has some good puzzles , probably the best Telltale has yet to offer. Full Review »