Return of the Obra Dinn


#1

After I saw this on SavePoint stream, I immediately bought it and played through the whole thing in a span of 2 days. I loved it. I think the best description is detective sudoku and it works soo well. I also enjoyed the story and I had a ton of “a-ha” moments. But it isn’t without its fault. Having to backtrack to the bodies to go back to a diorama or not being able to listen to the audio through the book. But overall great game!

Wondering what the rest of the Waypoint community thinks


#2

Is this game only available on Steam?

The demo was on itch.io, but the full game seems to only be on Steam. Even Pope’s own website only links to the demo.


#3

For anyone that would prefer to avoid paying Steam but also wants to play this excellent game it is on Humble Store.


#4

Yeah, these were the biggest frustrations for me too. Luckily the ship isn’t really all that big, so backtracking isn’t a huge chore, it’s still a little annoying. But also like you said, still a great game!


#5

The backtracking wasn’t a problem for me so much as it was just anticlimactic. All the exciting “oh shit” moments happen in the first third of the game and it only really has those one or two tools in its belt to build a story. The later two thirds feel more like things are winding down as you fill out identities, but the actual events you uncover aren’t as thrilling or fresh after those first few chapters. We could have done without “Loose Cargo” entirely and in the “Bargain” chapter, the interesting thing that happens there is in the first two memories, not the three that come after.

The whole game is an explosion at first, with a long settling of the smoke that comes after.


#6

I haven’t finished this, but have to agree. There are so many great reveals at the beginning had me so hungry for more, but then the puzzling out identities became all that was left that it slowed things to a crawl for me. I feel like I’m decent at puzzle games, but there’s just so much that feels cryptic that it’s a bit overwhelming.

I like this mechanical layer on it’s face, but it definitely slows things down. Loose Cargo seems kinda confusing, but maybe there’s something more revealed about that later on.

Definitely dig this game a lot. The visuals and blending of the weird with the expected are great. But it’s a bummer how quickly things slow down.


#7

I have a couple of identities remaining, but while I agree that the story beats are front loaded, I’ve loved the back end work of just figuring shit out once all cards are on the table. Poring over the documents, slowly figuring out how things work and how to separate a name from another is exhilarating. You really get to feel like an investigator, which almost no detective games succeed at. I appreciate how much work it must have been to make 60 puzzles like this over dozens of scenes, without leaving many obvious hints or making it too easy.


#8

The unfolding of the story in the first half was pretty well complemented by the unfolding of the networks of relationships in the back half, I thought. I did end up going back to a few specific memories about a hundred times, but I didn’t really feel like I was backtracking as much as attacking different problems that happened to be in the same place.

I’m kind of embarassed that there were more than a few people at the low difficulty rating that I got almost last. Those ratings didn’t line up so well a lot of the time, but that’s probably just me.


#9

i agree about the ratings, they seemed to fluctuate over the course of the game in ways that made no sense to me. like the knit cap guy goes from one arrow early on to three arrows for the remainder, which seems like it should be impossible? if it’s actually (technically) possible for me to deduct an identity that early on then how would additional information make it harder? i adored basically everything else the game had to offer, the ratings system is my main sticking point.

i think the backtracking can be a bit of a bummer but there’s something to be said about traversing the physical space repeatedly and how that added to my experience of the investigation. i loved the feeling of being intensely familiar and comfortable in that space by the time it was time to go


#10

I can’t remember the number of times I bookmarked knit cap man, thinking “This time, I’ll get him!” and then figured out something else unrelated without making any progress on him. He was definitely the hardest in the game for me. That said, he was one triangle the whole time for me. I don’t actually think I ever saw a rating change, that’s weird.


#11

Okay. I finally sat down and worked on the investigative side last night. I must not have been in the right mind-space for it before, because it. was. awesome. Completely flipped how I was feeling about it before.

I was whooping and clapping when I’d get an “ah-ha” moment, switch something around, and get that sweet confirmation feedback note. Or even to just tentatively put out a hypothesis and have it confirmed felt amazing. Really glad I didn’t look up stuff in a guide and just took time to dive back into the game.

It also helped that the scenes were replaying in full for me. Before, when I returned to scene, I must have been accidentally skipping the voiced part and going straight into the visuals. But then voices would still be playing, and it was disorientating. Again, I must have been hitting skip on accident because. I didn’t have that problem last night.

Goodness, that was a blast having those pieces come together. I mentioned this on the Discord, but it really felt daunting at first and then to have things start to fall into place felt glorious.

My only two gripes about the game were 1) (and this was brought up in the discord as well) how some of the causes of death seemed a bit ambiguous at first, which led to you feeling uncertain about your choices; and 2) as JackNackle says the story reveals in the “Bargain” chapter are somewhat interesting at first, but overall feels like a bit of a letdown. There’s a handful of questions that you’re still left with and I kinda wish there was a bit more on that bone. I don’t think I needed everything fully wrapped up, but a little more diving into a couple key characters might’ve helped.

Otherwise, I really dug this and really glad I pushed through the initial change in pace. Probably going in my top games of the year, as the experience overall was fantastic and really left it’s mark. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.


#12

Just finished a couple days ago. I loved how engaging the game was even after I’d gone through all the memories for the first time. Usually in puzzle/adventure stuff the bit between getting all the information and coming up with the solution is a slog, but there are so many leads to follow up on in Obra Dinn that you’re pretty much always right on the verge of figuring out something important.

Was also struck by how cleverly the narrative is set up - obviously the whole thing being told (more or less) in reverse solely through the moments of death is incredibly cool (and must have taken a whole lot of effort to put together) but what I ended up really appreciating was how the investigation tells the story from the outside in, in a way. You board the ship with a stark list of names and then walk through a parade of horrible deaths, but that last phase of putting all the pieces together forces you to look closely enough to get a sense of who these people actually are. I was definitely also a little underwhelmed by the ending and Chapter 8, but in retrospect having the game end on a few understated character beats (RIP Martin :disappointed_relieved:) feels more appropriate given the way you experience the rest of it.

Also for anyone who might be interested, Pope has been keeping a massively detailed devlog at TIGForums with a ton of cool behind-the-scenes stuff (including a bunch of technical details about the 1-bit dithering that flew completely over my head and this timelapse video of drawing all the crew sketches based on the original 3D render). Really made me appreciate the staggering amount of work that goes into making a game this intricately detailed.


#13

I really, really love Obra Dinn. I played it over the course of a few days when it came out and absolutely loved it. The striking art, the wonderful music, the extremely satisfying-to-solve puzzles, and the cleverly told story are all fantastic.

At first when I started playing it I had thought that it would’ve been nice if the journal let you jump directly into the various memories but over time I changed my mind on that. The time spent walking around from one body to another wasn’t really all that bad and, since I wasn’t taking any physical notes, it gave me a moment to review and organize my thoughts about the person I was trying to solve. The one sort-of exception to this is that there are a couple of memories that I wish were easier to access. There’s maybe three or four that you can only get to via other memories and I could never remember which to go in to to get to the one I wanted.