Sunday, 26 May 2024

10 Tips for Mastering Puzzles in Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn, the challenging puzzle game created by the mastermind behind Papers, Please, can be quite perplexing. As someone who spent hours delving into the fates of the crew members, I know firsthand how easy it is to get lost or feel stuck. In this article, I’ll be sharing some valuable tips to help you navigate the game without giving away any spoilers. So, without further ado, here are 10 spoiler-free tips to enhance your Obra Dinn experience and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the game’s mysteries.

Be Prepared to Backtrack…A Lot

In Obra Dinn, unraveling the intricate web of fates requires thorough investigation. Don’t expect to find all the answers by observing a scenario just once. You’ll need to revisit each scene multiple times to establish character relationships and question your initial assumptions.

Start with Chapter Memories

While it might be tempting to jump straight into making educated guesses, I advise against it. Before you embark on your deduction journey, make sure to gather all the journal memories. Play through them, collect all available information, and only then should you begin your quest to solve the fates. Trust me, this approach will save you valuable time and prevent any unnecessary guesswork.

Obra Dinn

Utilize the Sketch

The sketch of the crew, found in your notebook, is an invaluable tool that goes beyond what meets the eye. Take a closer look at it, paying attention to which crew members are grouped together. Cross-reference this with the memories that depict crew members in close proximity to one another. You’ll often discover patterns among crew members from the same country, which can prove useful in the process of elimination when tackling late-game fates.

Pay Attention to Audio Logs

Every memory in the journal is accompanied by an audio log. While some audio logs may only consist of background noise, others contain dialogues that mention crew member names or roles. Don’t overlook these logs, as they can provide crucial information for your investigation.

Look for Flies

To trigger the first memory in each chapter, you need to find the corresponding decomposing corpse. Look for flies on every deck, as they indicate the general area where the first memory can be found. The journal entries also provide hints on where to locate the initial memory for each chapter.

Don’t Be Misled by Death Descriptions

The list of death descriptions at your disposal for determining how each character died is extensive. However, be aware that not all of them are relevant. Some are pure red herrings meant to mislead you. Stay vigilant and use your deductive skills wisely.

Remember, It’s about Fates, Not Just Deaths

In Obra Dinn, the puzzles revolve around the crew members’ fates, not just their deaths. Keep this in mind as you analyze each scenario. Focus on understanding the outcomes and connections between characters rather than solely dwelling on the cause of their demise.

Validate in Threes

When confirming a crew member’s fate, remember that validations occur in sets of three. If you’re confident about an answer but it hasn’t triggered a validation yet, don’t panic. Give it a couple more sets of validations before reassessing your deductions.

Consider All Possibilities

In some instances, the fates in Obra Dinn can be misleading. Pay close attention to each victim and consider all possibilities. Was it a simple accident or something more sinister? Look beyond the obvious and consider every detail when making your conclusions.

Change Your Perspective

As you retrace your steps through memories, try viewing them from different angles. Explore the scenes from new corners of the room or shift your focus away from the main action to investigate the quieter spaces. You never know what hidden faces or valuable information you might uncover by changing your perspective.


1. Can these tips spoil the game for me?
No, these tips are specifically designed to be spoiler-free, allowing you to enjoy the game’s mysteries while providing guidance in your puzzle-solving journey.

2. Are there multiple solutions to the fates?
Each fate has only one correct solution. However, the game allows for multiple deductions and different paths to reaching the correct conclusions.

3. Can I skip chapters or memories?
The game encourages thorough exploration, so it’s best not to skip any chapters or memories. Each piece of information contributes to the overall puzzle.


With these 10 tips in your arsenal, you’re now equipped to tackle the challenging puzzles of Return of the Obra Dinn. Remember to take your time, be patient, and think critically. The journey is just as important as the destination, so enjoy every moment of your investigation. Good luck, inspector!