GAME REVIEW | Demons & Zombies Galore in Second "Sam & Max" Season
Has there ever been a better pairing in gaming than Sam & Max? The creation of Steve Purcell may have had its origins in comics, but it’s the gaming world where the dog cop and rabbit thingy have thrived beautifully. Thanks to Telltale Games, their popularity was rekindled with the episodic Sam & Max Save the World, which was remastered by Skunkape. The remastering continues with the release of Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, which now graces the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
Taking place a year after the events of Season One, Sam and (President) Max are once again taking on the wildest of cases. Santa Claus gets possessed by a demon, a volcano threatens Easter Island, and the undead overtake the world as they request more episodes of Midtown Cowboys! Meanwhile, Bosco goes missing, with hints that a new threat from the sky and below the ground. Can the weird anthropomorphic duo save the world again?
When you go into a Sam & Max game, you know you are in for a hell of a ride. It may not have the excitement of Telltale’s Walking Dead or Batman episodic games, but they’re certain a lot more entertaining. The banter between our two gun-loving heroes have more jokes and gags jammed into an episode than most Family Guy cutaway segments. However, unlike Brian and Stewie Griffin, this duo actually earns their laughs.
It’s also worth noting that Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space really pushes the envelope with its humor. Season One had a style that was friendly to just about any audience, with there being plenty of kid-friendly humor alongside jokes that’d go over their heads. However, it’s very surprising to hear some of the more risqué jokes that come out of Max’s mouth, as his antics really push the T-rating as close to getting it turned into an M without crossing that line. Consider that a good thing, as every person deserves to experience the insanity that these games deliver!
Season Two also features some new and returning characters not seen since LucasArts’s Hit the Road. Flint Paper — who infamously shot a smiley face in the wall in the 90s game — is tailing Bosco, while also having adventures very similar to Sam & Max. The young lady Stinky now runs the diner, after her grandfather (is murdered by her) went on a very, very long vacation. Jolly ole Saint Nick is possessed by a devil, while the goth German vampire Jurgen loves getting his dance on. Then there’s the mysterious Mariachi singer, who appears whenever a character announces that it’s their birthday.
Much like all the past Sam & Max games, Beyond Time and Space takes the form of a point-and-click adventure. These elements will have you solving puzzles, combining objects, and partaking on some clever Easter Eggs and hidden gags. Very much like the golden era of LucasArts and Sierra adventure titles, it’s worth clicking on every single little thing to discover a new gag that’ll take you by surprise. There are also some mini-games that’ll have you evading thrown bottles on a surfboard, shooting rats in a whack-a-mole game, and running over annoying Muppets and bagpipes for key items needed for the main quest.
However, like most point-and-click games, it can be hard to find just about everything. Fortunately, the remastered version of Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space has a new built-in hint system that’ll aid you in finding the right path to complete the chapters. Players can also skip the mini-games to get the items they need, although I can’t imagine why anyone would miss out on the visual hilarity these bring!
It should also be noted how beautiful of a remaster Skunkape did with Season Two. While the first season had a couple of wrinkles that needed ironing out, Beyond Time and Space is simply gorgeous to look at. From fur on Max’s tiny body to the Frankenstein-ish castle, every part of this game is filled with amazing detail, to the point where it almost looks like a PS5 title! Special props to the new soundtrack, which takes Jared Emerson-Johnson's jazzy original score and gives it a World/Inferno Friendship Society kind of flare!
- Hilarious dialogue
- Imaginative storytelling
- Fun mini-games
- Definitely not for the little ones
Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space is more comedic mayhem from gaming’s most wild duo. The stories are packed with chuckles, and the humorous dialogue constantly one-ups itself. There’s only one reason why you shouldn’t play Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, and that’s if you’re allergic to joy!
Promotional consideration provided by Emily Morganti. Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.