Plot: What’s it about?
If you’re even a casual fan of point & click adventure games, then Sam & Max Hit the Road probably spend a lot of time in your CD-ROM drive. The game was a genre classic, loaded with insane humor, colorful characters, and just great moments. Sam & Max would return when Telltale Games picked up the license and now, we have Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space, the second season of the freelance police’s new hi-jinks. A collection of five episodes is what we have here, each one a substantial journey, so there’s ample content in this release. The stories here are great fun, letting the characters do what they do best. This means obscure pop culture references, Max’s insane antics, and just an unsettling vibe most of the time. At a time when a lot of games sacrifice story for action, these episodes unfold one hilarious scene after another. If you’re on the wavelength to appreciate Sam & Max, these episodes pack an incredible amount of entertainment.
The games are a throwback to the classic era of point & click adventures, in which you investigate the screen, locate clues, talk to folks, and interact with whatever you can detect. This means a good deal of puzzles and I don’t mean “turn the crank” puzzles, but real puzzles that require a little thought now and again. The puzzle designs are never going to tax your brain into exhaustion, but they will make you use your noggin, usually to craft creative solutions. If you’re just interested in the story, don’t worry about getting stuck, as you can always slide the difficulty and get more clues. The games winds up feeling like an old school adventure game too, as Telltale Games delivers an experience as only they can. Between the sharply written story and creative puzzles, Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space is just a flat out awesome release. You’ll laugh, you’ll think a little, and if Max has a say, you’ll do a few spit takes as well. So if you’re a fan of Sam & Max, classic point & click adventures, or you just want to laugh until it hurts, Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space is highly recommended.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes have fun, colorful visuals, but still have a throwback texture. So don’t expect cutting edge graphics, as these look good, but not razor sharp with a lot of depth. But to me, the visuals nail the vibe the game wants to establish, so I don’t mind the graphics at all. The overall design is great, with good looking characters and well detailed environments, so overall the episodes look quite good.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack follows the trend of the visuals, effective, but not going to dazzle audiophiles. The music is fun, the sound effects are suitably off the wall, and the voice work is on the mark. So you might rave about the technical merits, but all of the needed elements are in place and sound good. And in the case of a Sam & Max game, the voice work is crucial and since that is well handled, we can all relax.
Supplements: What are the extras?