Destination: Treasure Island is an adventure game inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson classic novel Treasure Island (published in 1883). The game takes place after the events in the book. You play as Jim Hawkins, and, thanks to the treasure you found during the events in the book, you’re now the captain of your own merchant vessel. However, one night a parrot flies into your cabin with a message from Long John Silver, pirates attack your ship, and, before you can say “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum,” it’s off to Emerald Island to look for more buried treasure.
Destination: Treasure Island was developed by Kheops Studio, a French developer that makes many adventure games, including Return to Mysterious Island (released in 2004). Destination is actually similar to Mysterious Island. In both games you have to fend for yourself on a semi-deserted island, in both games you’re sometimes given multiple ways of solving puzzles, and in both games it is important to combine items to form tools. For example, with a hook, some string, and a long stick, you can create a fishing pole, which you’ll need for one of the puzzles.
I really liked Mysterious Island, but, unfortunately, other than the similarities I just listed above, it and Destination don’t have much in common. For some reason Kheops Studio decided to make Destination a very casual game, and so not only are the puzzles easy to solve, you also get a lot of hints for solving them. For example, the message from Long John Silver includes a map and a long clue (called an “enigma”) for where to find his treasure, but the clue, rather than being obscure, points a fairly detailed path for where you need to go and what you need to do. The parrot also gives a few hints, and Jim Hawkins himself frequently gives away puzzles, like at one point where you need to disable a pirate, and Jim says, “If only I could scare him!” My guess is, for those of you who have already played the game, when you got to that point you already knew how to solve the puzzle, and Jim’s comments (and many of the other clues) only amounted to excessive handholding.
Now, if I had a choice, I’d always pick a short and easy and pleasant game over a long and tedious and impossible one, so it’s not like I hated Destination or anything. The storyline fits in well with the original Treasure Island and doesn’t require that you know much of what happened in the book, the voice acting is solid, and the locations look nice enough. There’s even a cool set of puzzles where you have to learn to tie knots. The puzzles are really easy, but they work as handy tutorials if you’ve ever wondered how to construct a “sheet bend knot,” a “capuchin knot,” or nine other knots.
So, overall, I’m going to place Destination: Treasure Island in the “nice game” category. It’s not going to wow you or keep you up at night, and I doubt it’s going to make any adventure gaming Top Ten lists, but it’s pleasant and accessible, and I enjoyed it enough during the 5-6 hours I spent with it that I feel comfortable giving it a modest recommendation.