Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space
Posted 3 years ago By - Zach R.
Sam and Max have been entertaining PC fans for quite some time now, with their brand of episodic content. The wacky happenings of their world made its way to the Xbox Live Arcade platform recently with the first season, Sam and Max Save the World. Telltale Games is bringing Sam and Max back for its second outing, Sam and Max, Beyond Space and Time. A continuation of the first game, fans of the series will get to play 5 more episodes of point and click goodness. Is it worth the return trip to their world?
The Sam and Max series is the last of a dying breed. Point and click adventures aren’t really in fashion in the gaming world these days, and you’ve got to admire Telltale for going against the grain and doing it right. Sam and Max games are all about puzzling. Find all the right elements of a puzzle, throw in some gadgets and guns, and you’ve got a game that should last players quite a while.
The basic gameplay doesn’t vary beyond the point and click schematics of their previous adventure, (barring some minigames), but the story does continue along the same path. Max is still President of the United States, and there are various running gags throughout the episodes. It’s really the humour that makes Sam and Max as good as it is. While the puzzles are good, without the humourous story to back it up, there’s just nothing holding the game together.
The episodes themselves seem a bit more relevant to each other and the overall story than the previous game did. That is to say, there’s more tying the game together and making it feel more like an actual television series, and less like a bunch of random stories loosely tossed together. From excorsizing a demon out of Santa, to taking a look at the bureaucracy of running Hell, the story just feels tighter, with a satisfying conclusion.
Each episode can be played in any order, with no annoying unlocks being required to get to the next. This is a nice system, as it allows you to play the game the way you want. If you feel like going through in order, that’s perfectly acceptable, and recommended, but if you get stuck and want to see what the other episodes have in store for you, you can check them out at your leisure.
Speaking of getting stuck, the game does have a hint system this time. What’s commendable about this, is that the game doesn’t offer you onscreen hints like other games out there. Instead, the hint system comes in the form of Max. If the story isn’t progressing, he’ll drop hints and make off-hand comments about things that you should be doing. Technically, most won’t need it, but it’s there, and the way Telltale blended it into the game is commendable.
The only knock against the game in general is that the cursor that controls your character and allows you to explore your environment is extremely slow. Unlike on the PC, where you’ll be using a mouse to point and click, you use the left analog stick on the 360 controller, and for whatever reason, it’s just agonizingly slow in comparison. This shouldn’t cause players any problems in the game, as it’s merely a way to navigate around the environments and find the pieces of a given puzzle, but it’s still something that made me wish there were some way to adjust that particular setting.
Graphics and Sound
Simply put, Sam and Max games aren’t about flash. The games look is fairly close to that of some Saturday morning cartoon shows, and the style suits the characters quite well. Levels are excellently designed, though I do wish there was the abilty to control the camera a bit more, as navigating levels can be a bit difficult if you can’t see clearly where you’re going
If you’ve played the previous episodes available, you’ll know what to expect from the voice-acting. All characters are voiced fantastically, with the right emphasis and comedic timing being nailed in most every case. The score once again follows a jazz-like flow. It’s a perfect fit for the series. The musical numbers that have popped-up in the past are here as well, and are just as catchy. Overall a very well put together audio experience.
The current price for Sam & Max runs at about 1600 MS Points ($20). Considering you’re getting at least a solid 12 hours of play-through, (depending on how quickly you can piece together some of the puzzles, anyway), you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. Overall, your love of point and click games is going to be the deciding factor here, but if you’re looking for a game that jogs your brain and tickles your funny bone, you can’t go wrong with Beyond Time and Space.
Don’t let the basic gameplay fool you, Sam and Max: Beyond Time and Space is a challenging, fun and surprisingly funny romp through a genre that hasn’t gotten much love in recent years. Proof positive that a game can entertain without having to resort to flashy animations and complex control schemes.
+ puzzles are implemented better this time around.
+ music and voice-acting are spot on
+ 5 episodes to explore
+ using Max for hint system helps immerse players
- point and click style won’t appeal to the mass market
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Release Date : 2009/10/14
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Telltale Games
Developer : Telltale Games
Category : Puzzle
ESRB : E10+
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