Sam & Max Save the World Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Telltale Games must surely be the darling of those who played and enjoyed the glory days of the beloved point and click adventure genre. Not only are they almost single handily keeping pointing and clicking alive, but they’re also reviving some of the most cherished games of the genre, with the forthcoming Tales of Monkey Island and recently released Sam & Max. Speaking of which, Sam & Max Save the World is six episodes together in one neat value for money package and is available now on Xbox Live Arcade.

Sam & Max focuses on the exploits of the titular dog and rabbit duo. Sam is the more sensible of the two, whilst our “little buddy” Max is psychotic and is always looking for violent means to solve the cases. Like any good double act, the characters are a great combination, and have enough contrasts in their personalities to keep their banter entertaining.

In regard to its puzzles, Sam & Max Save the World is much like all of Telltale’s offerings: it’s not very taxing, but, due to the ensuing comical effects, they’re always fun to solve, but perhaps still disappointingly lightweight for many who enjoyed the more challenging LucasArts games of yesteryear.

Sam & Max has a witty, well written script, read with vigour by a handful of immensely talented voice actors. Whilst it may star a cartoon dog and rabbit it’s sense of humour is largely satirical, with plenty of highly amusing knocks at popular culture. The six episodes can be played in any order you desire, with not having to worry about getting lost, though because of a recurring theme throughout the season, it’s best enjoyed when played in subsequent order.

All of the episodes have returning locations and there’s some with little in the way of new areas to explore, but the charming sense of humour keeps things reasonably fresh. There’s plenty of recurring characters too, but these have new twists to them with every game: Bosco has a new disguise throughout the six games, whilst Sybil keeps changing her career, of course there are also some zany, new characters introduced throughout too.

Telltale Games seem to have a liking for action elements in their games and Sam & Max Save the World continues this trend. Sadly, whilst they’re perfectly serviceable, they’re still, however, some of the weaker segments of the games, proving that action isn’t exactly the developers area of expertise.

The episode Culture Shock sees the Soda Poppers three former child stars hypnotized to spread the word of one Brady Culture. In Situation comedy the duo take part in various TV shows in an attempt to crack a case. The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball sees Sam and Max taking on the teddy bear head adorned Toy Mafia. In Abe Lincoln Must Die a statue of the titular legendary president come to life and Max runs for president, whilst Reality 2.0 has the two taking on the mighty internet, with plenty of amusing game references along the way, and finally there’s Bright Side of the Moon, where Sam & Max head off to the moon. Of course, the episodes vary in quality and I particularly have a penchant for Abe Lincoln Must Die and Reality 2.0, but I did find plenty of laughs and fun contained within all six of the featured games.

Sam & Max Save the World doesn’t require much in the way of brainpower, of which will come as a disappointment for those looking to be challenged on an intellectual level. But the strength of its script, voice acting and its enjoyable puzzles are all in fine working order. The latter are all important aspects of the genre that are sure to please many of the less demanding devotees, of which is simply a nicer way of saying stupider.

No offence taken I hope, after all I’m very much a part of that group myself.