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Return of Obra Dinn tips: Spoiler-free advice to help you solve what happened

Some gentle advice in elaborate whodunnit Return of Obra Dinn.

Return of Obra Dinn is a game about investigating a ghost ship and trying to work out what went wrong. All the crew are missing, presumed dead. What happened?

You get to the bottom of that question by moving in close and working your way from body to body. The questions are always the same - who was this person and what do you think killed them? - but the game is very good at hiding the answers from you, even from the off.

Rather than watching the ship's dark history unfold, you have to catch glimpses of it. You'll hear little audio snippets and then you'll get to view the static dioramas of murder that follow just after the audio.

Over time, you'll be able to start piecing things together, but as you're finding your sea legs, here are some spoiler-free The Return of Obra Dinn tips to consider from the off.

And if you haven't played the game yet, don't worry - our Return of the Obra Dinn review can help.

Use the book to help deduce who is who

You record your findings in Obra Dinn in a magical book that will eventually tell the story of the ship's fate as you steadily fill it in. But the book also has some basic materials about the ship that will allow you to get a footing on the basics.

There are maps of the ship, alongside with pictures of the crew in (somewhat) happier times, and even a glossary of nautical terms. All of this stuff is useful.

When you're trying to work out who the people you're witnessing in the dioramas are, think about the supplemental material in the book.

For example - is it possible that people in the photos are sitting next to other people who do the same jobs? Are there giveaways on the clothes that they're wearing that may indicate their rank or occupation? Where are they standing in the ship? Does the map of the ship tell you anything about who sleeps and works in specific spots?

Let's Play Return of the Obra Dinn - Late to the PartyWatch on YouTube

Take your time

Often a person's identity will only become clear long after you've been asked who they are and what killed them. The same goes for their actions at the time of their death. Don't guess too much. Ideally, you shouldn't be guessing at all, in fact. Write down your answers only when you're absolutely certain. That said, you cannot progress unless you get them right - but being certain will save you questioning yourself later.

Poke around

The dioramas are often a little roomier than they seem to be at first. Don't be afraid to wander away from the core action being depicted. Who's listening around a corner? Who's lurking up in the rigging? Even the game says there are set witnesses, there might be more people hidden out of view - but still important to deduction.


The audio is full of clues, and not all the clues are available in the transcripts that handily turn up in the book. What accents are you hearing? Can you cross-reference these with the nationalities of the people on board the Obra Dinn as listed in the manifest?

Occasionally, someone will refer to someone else by name, but that's far from the only information you should be listening out for.

Take notes

In the real world, that is, not just in the magical book. There are a lot of people on board the Obra Dinn, and some relationships will only become clear over time. You don't want to forget the little details that seemed potentially significant but didn't make sense at the time.

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