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1802: the merchant ship Obra Dinn becomes lost at sea. 1807: the ship drifts into port at Falmouth with no living soul on board, and all the crew and passengers dead or missing. An insurance investigator for the East India Company's London Office boards the ship in order to determine what exactly has happened. To this end, the investigator uses a magical pocketwatch called "Memento Mortem" which allows to view the moment of any person's death.

Return of the Obra Dinn is a first-person detective game. The player's task is to determine the fate of each of the 60 people that were on board the ship. The player can explore the entire ship, from the upper to the bottom deck (although some locations are initially inaccessible). Whenever the player comes upon a corpse, he can use the Memento Mortem to view the moment of the person's death. This allows the player to hear the last few things said in the person's vicinity, and explore a time-frozen diorama that depicts the exact moment of their demise. Additionally, if the diorama includes any older visible corpses, the pocketwatch can be used to generate an illusory image of these corpses elsewhere on board, which in turn can be used to access their death scenes. In doing so, the tragedy of the Obra Dinn is slowly reconstructed, death by death.

Each discovered death scene is entered into an initially blank log-book. The player's task is to fill in the identity of the deceased person, the means of their death, and (if applicable) their killer. To help in this endeavour, the log-book includes a list of names of all people on board, several group portraits, and a map of the ship; it also allows to quickly review certain details from previously seen death scenes.

Determining the identities and fates of the people on board is not easy, and often requires careful consideration of the clues present in the death scenes. For instance, the player may need to identify the people's roles based on their behavior, clothing or relationships with other people. At other times, he might need to carefully examine several successive death scenes in order to reconstruct a sequence of events. Whenever three people's fates are identified correctly, the game acknowledges this and the correct information is marked as such.

The game uses a graphical filter that mimics retro 1-bit graphics, such as those found in early Macintosh games.


Return of the Obra Dinn Windows A suicide with a gun has taken place, while a certain woman's body is resting in the bed
Return of the Obra Dinn Windows The doctor is trying to help the crew member without legs
Return of the Obra Dinn Windows The dialogue phrase during the events allow to understand the Chinese origin of the person
Return of the Obra Dinn Windows Crab-like monsters are on the main deck

Promo Images

Return of the Obra Dinn Screenshot
Return of the Obra Dinn Screenshot
Return of the Obra Dinn Screenshot
Return of the Obra Dinn Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "奧伯拉丁的回歸" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "奥伯拉丁的回归" -- Simplified Chinese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A one-of-a-kind nautical investigation adventure Windows krisko6 (745)

Critic Reviews

TechRaptor Windows Oct 29, 2018 10 out of 10 100 Nintendo Switch Oct 21, 2019 9 out of 10 90
PC Gamer Windows Oct 19, 2018 90 out of 100 90 Macintosh Oct 23, 2018 18 out of 20 90
Nintendo Life Nintendo Switch Oct 24, 2019 9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars 90 Windows Nov 19, 2018 8.9 out of 10 89
MAN!AC PlayStation 4 Dec 16, 2019 86 out of 100 86
Cubed3 Nintendo Switch Nov 09, 2019 8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars 80 Nintendo Switch Nov 08, 2019 80 out of 100 80 Windows Oct 24, 2018 80 out of 100 80


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  • The Game Awards
    • 2018 – Best Art Direction – Won
    • 2018 – Best Independent Game – Nominated

  • TechRaptor
    • 2018 – Best Writing – 3rd place
    • 2018 – Best Visuals – Nominated
    • 2018 – Indie Game of the Year – 2nd place
    • 2018 – Game of the Year – Nominated

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Contributed to by Kam1Kaz3NL77 (257516) and firefang9212 (66474)