Game: Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Party
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows) & Xbox)
Developers | Publishers: Skunkape Games
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 12+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £15.49 | EU 16,79
Release Date: December 8th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Emily Morganti on behalf of Skunkape Games.
The Freelance Police Sam & Max are back on the crime beat in a newly remastered version of their second episodic season. I reviewed Sam & Max: Save the World on the Switch around this time last year. Time to delve into Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space and see what it is all about.
Sam the dog
Like Sam & Max: Save the World, Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space is a remastered version of the second season of episodic Sam & Max games, updated by Skunkapes, a small team of developers.
You take on the role of Sam, the six-foot canine detective, and the annoying Rabbit thingy named Max through five episodes of interconnected cases in the game. While the different episodes feel a little disjointed at first, an overarching storyline comes together at the end. So you’ll want to play the episodes in their numerical order to get the most out of your experience.
Max the Thing
Sam is a deadpan no-nonsense detective, in the vein of Sam Spade and Max is his mischievous partner and sidekick. You play as Sam mostly, though there are times where you can choose dialogue for Max as well.
Sam & Max head out on a madcap adventure for a showdown with Santa Claus, a race to subdue a giant volcano and a face-off with a Eurotrash vampire. In each episode, the pair is tasked with solving a bizarre mystery, with a loose connection between them all.
The episodic format works well for Sam & Max. The format is similar to a TV show, and it gives Skunkape a convenient excuse to recycle characters and locations. It works great for what it is but be forewarned, it won’t feel like a usual epic adventure due to so much recycled material.
Point and Click
Sam & Max is a point-and-click adventure, you click on an object, and sometimes you can add that item to your inventory to use it later on. You can also interact with NPC’s, and you get to choose your dialogue from a list of options.
Most of the puzzles involve using the right items on the right people or objects, and like many games in this genre, the solutions can often be obscure. As a result, completing each adventure takes a bit of experimentation with combinations that don’t make much sense at times. However, I do think that the developers have tried to make the puzzles a little more logical in this Sam & Max game, compared to the first game in the series.
Occasionally mini-games make an appearance; they usually involve driving the pair’s Desoto car down a perpetually moving road to run over items. The mini-games are fine, but they are mainly used to break up the repetitive nature of the point and click.
Everything in the game that can interest Sam & Max can be highlighted with the left shoulder button. You can also change the settings in the menu to increase or decrease the number of hints the game gives you. It’s a nice touch to have, but it also made me think that if some of the puzzles answers weren’t as illogical as they are, you wouldn’t need a hint system.
Humour, Graphics and Controls
The humour in Sam & Max is a two-way street. Either you are going to enjoy it and find it very funny, or it will fall flat. Sam & especially Max makes a lot of acid, sarcastic and zany comments. By the end of the game, I wanted to put a gag on Max as his voice got very annoying to listen to. The game is fully voice acted and it is well done, with the exception of Max’s whiny voice.
With such a large cast of friends and enemies, it can be hard to take it all in. With in-jokes and knowing winks, Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space is primarily aimed at fans of the first instalment, so it’s not a great first place to dive in.
Graphically Sam & Max is cartoonish in looks, it works well for the setting and the style of the game. The game’s controls are an improvement on the first Sam & Max game I played. However, they could still be a lot better. For example, when you highlight an item with the left shoulder button you then have to move the right stick to click on said item, but the stick can jump all over the scene, which makes it a little frustrating after a while.
I enjoyed my playthrough of Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space in the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, about halfway through, the game struggled to hold my attention. But then that could be because I have developed a hatred of Max and his annoying voice. For folk who have played the first remastered Sam & Max game, there aren’t too many new surprises in store for them in this sequel. It’s more of the same zany scripts, storyline, sarcastic and acid humour that fans of the series like.
Final Verdict: I Like It