When it comes to ‘point and click’ adventure games, Sam & Max often sit at the top of the genre. Whether it is the classic LucasArts game or the Telltale games released in the mid-2000s, they have all been of high quality. However, in the last ten years, there has not been a single new game in the series. Sam & Max have made plenty of cameos and guest appearances over the years but have not had a full-fledged video game since the release of Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse in 2010.
But that has all changed. Skunkape Games, seemingly out of nowhere, have brought Sam & Max out of the shed with a remaster of their first Telltale adventure: Save The World. The game is not a full-blown remake like many other games released in 2020. It serves to improve the graphics, remaster the soundtrack, update the interface and make it easier to play on PC. The remaster is also available on Switch.
If you are a gamer that needs constant action and dislikes downtime in games, this will not be the game for you. But if one needs a funny, relaxing adventure starring the best freelance police in gaming, this is the game to play!
Sam & Max is a ‘point and click’ style adventure game. The main gameplay revolves around solving puzzles and finding solutions to the arbitrary problems that Sam & Max come across as they solve cases. Sometimes they have to interact with people, interact with the environment and use items in the environment. Sam & Max are freelance police that solve cases. A different case every episode.
There are six episodes in the game and each has its own subplot, but there is a general larger plot at hand here. In each episode the stakes raise higher and higher as the plot gets crazier, . A majority of the game is the story and dialogue. The player will go through several minutes just listening to what characters have to say to each other. The writing is hilarious with several funny moments to each conversation. While not every joke hits home, and some have aged as well as milk, the game is quite funny. Sam & Max make loads of references to the 2000s and most of them hold up even nowadays. Other characters are similarly witty, charming and funny. Their involvment in Sam & Max‘s antics is baffling to them.
This superb writing leads to some excellent plots in each of the episodes. The overall story is quite strong as well. Adventure games are only as good as their plot, its characters and the writing. Sam & Max Save The World absolutely delivers on that front and even more so than its gameplay. The gameplay, while not poor, just is not one of the standout points of the game. It’s simple to understand which is good as a majority of these puzzles will have the player scratching their head. Regardless, the gameplay has aged just fine as ‘point and click’ adventure games are generally timeless.
The presentation of the game is not really timeless. The old game looked quite poor, even for when it was released. The original game barely looked above a Nintendo 64 game so these new graphics are nice on the eyes. The game embraces a more comic-book style look. The character models do not look all that much better than the original games and still are somewhat stiff. The environment and lighting have been given the biggest facelift. The lighting is a nice touch and the environments have a lot more detail present in them than ever before. The frame rate and load times were superb as well with no real issues. While the presentation looks dated and will not really impress anyone in this day and age it is important to remember that this is just a remaster of the original game.
Something that will always stand the test of time is the music. The soundtrack is truly great with some really standout jazz throughout. You can also bop to some of the new tracks as well. I have been listening to the music from this game for over a decade now and will continue to. It is arguably the best music in any adventure game along with the sequel to this game. The music has always been a highlight of the series.
What has never been a highlight of Save The World is the way it reuses environments. Some areas are used in every single episode multiple times. It can become rather stale especially towards the end when nothing is changed about these environments. This is not a large issue but can lead to some repetition. Additionally, they use the same joke in many of these areas when interacting with the environment. While that could be a minor annoyance, this is amplified by the change in voice actor.
In episode one, Max had a different voice actor from the rest of the series and all the jokes that stem from episode one have his old voice actor which is really jarring. Another minor gripe is the obtuse puzzles. There are many that go way off into the left-field, not making much sense to any sane individual. Other than that, I have no other complaints with the game. It is still a solid adventure game that stands up quite well.
Overall, if you need a solid adventure game to play in 2020, this is one of the best. The new graphics are a nice touch, the game is still funny, it has superb music, and is a fun time all around. While there are some minor annoyances here and there nothing truly detracts from the game and it was a fun trip down memory lane. With this game only at a £15.49 ($20) price point it is hard to not recommend. Skunkape Games also have announced they plan to remaster the following two Sam & Max games in the future.