I have always been under the impression that any Telltale game that came out before The Walking Dead: Season 1 was terrible. Now I’m not saying I was wrong, but I am fairly sure that there is grounds to me being wrong. Mainly because of this game, Sam and Max: Beyond Time and Space. It’s a well known series, but I don’t really see much talk of it nowadays. Has it got a lasting impression? Or is it just one of those games you forget about the very next day.
One crucial detail that was needed to recapture the early days of the Sam and Max series was the humour. Once you have the humour, you’ve pretty much got everything you need to be making a Sam and Max game. For me, the humour is very hit and miss, but that’s pretty much all games. Don’t get me wrong, there were some absolute gems of jokes in this game. But is that enough? Well, not really.
For me, I found the background jokes to be funnier than the actual written lines. I think that may just be a personal preference though, because the actual lines were great. But for me, background jokes are something that you have to make sure you notice. Because of that I was missing the actual jokes but noticing some stuff that was possibly a lot funnier. I suppose it works out as an even trade in that regard then.
What I was not expecting was how great the art and graphical style for the game really is. Now I should point out that I have unfortunately not played the older games in the Sam and Max series. One of the reasons for that is, well, I don’t like puzzle games. So playing through a puzzle game that looks like it’s been created in Microsoft Paint (god rest its soul) is not on my to do list.
Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the graphical styling of this game, and I’m happy to say it was enjoyable. I mean, that’s a hell of a lot more than can be said about the controls of this game. Hold A to move around? No thanks, I don’t think so. That should not have been as big an issue as it became. See, it’s probably because I kept forgetting that you couldn’t just walk around with the analogue stick.
For such a small problem, it did cause a hell of a lot of trouble. I mean, it shouldn’t be such a hassle to get from point a to point b. It takes a hellishly long while to get from one place to another and I can’t help but thank the backwards control scheme for that. But I wasn’t going to be taking any chances in regards to the story. As usual, I had a helpful guide opened up right next to me as I played through this game. Let’s be fair, what else were you really expecting?
Still, that’s really my only major concern with the game. Sure, there are some smaller bits and pieces here and there, but the game was just a lot of fun. I truly adored the compatibility and charisma between both Sam and Max. The voice actors for both respective roles give it their all and without a doubt manage to create a great atmosphere. Sam, the level headed dog and Max, the over crazed, gun wielding bunny rabbit. Such an odd pairing should never work, but it absolutely does.
I mean, that’s what the Sam and Max series is built on, right? We care for these characters because they’re just that damn funny. They’re never really in any true danger, but at the same time if something were to happen to them there’d be a riot. For me, Telltale hit the nail right on the head with how they handled these characters. They didn’t try any mind blowing plot mechanics that would hinder us from enjoying the relationship between the comedic duo.
As I stated previously, this game is a puzzle game. But it’s not just any puzzle game, it’s my least favourite type of puzzle game. Yes, it is in fact the point and click adventure game. Now I’ve played some dreadful point and click games over the past year, but Sam and Max is good. Maybe it’s thanks to that guide I mentioned earlier, which provided both a walkthrough and achievement guide. Without that, I would have been lost. When it comes down to point and click games, the most logical solution is never the next step forwards.
I’m going to make myself sound like a moron by saying this, but puzzle games do make my head hurt. Not in the sense that I’m so baffled by the puzzle I just can’t carry on but because I get frustrated. When the answer to your puzzle is to throw the apple at the right degree angle to land it on a plate so that it opens a door is your most logical solution, you lose me. Sam and Max never does that. If I’m honest I could have more than easily done this game from start to finish without the guide.
Sam and Max is fun. What more can I really say? Well, you’d be surprised considering I still have another hundred or so words to fill out. I played this game through the Xbox Game Pass on my Xbox One, so maybe the Xbox 360 version is a tad different in the right areas.
Overall though, it’s a very fun experience that I would absolutely recommend. It’s one of those nice little arcade games that takes up your whole day. Because of that, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and you have a nice little experience because of this. The chemistry between both Sam and Max is more than enough to keep me playing past the point of no return. Even with some dodgy at best controls and background jokes funnier than the actual jokes.
Who knew a game about a dog in a suit and a maniacal bunny could be so funny.