Sam & Max Save The World Remastered is here and this is a remaster of the Telltale Games’ 2006 Sam & Max outing. The duo originally arrived on the scene in 1993 in Sam & Max Hit The Road, so they are a beloved set of characters in gaming. This latest outing, which I played on Nintendo Switch, has gorgeous graphics, classic Sam & Max humour and the game has been brought up to the standards of modern-day games in more ways than one.
Sam & Max are two freelance police officers. Sam is a huge 6ft dog, who looks like he’s just come off the set of the latest Dick Tracey movie and Max is his crazy Rabbit buddy. They are on the case as it emerges that there’s a mass hypnosis scheme going on with Brady Culture, a charismatic leader who’s managed to hypnotise a bunch of former tv stars known as Soda Poppers – and these stars are causing trouble all over town. Sam & Max have to gather clues, collect items and solve puzzles through the six episodes in the game to save the day (or the world!).
The game was developed by Skunkape who are made up of former Telltale employees. They acquired the rights to Sam & Max and wanted to bring the much-loved duo back, and they’ve done a great job. Telltale made the origin ‘Save the World’ game back in 2006, and they went on to produce some of the best narrative games in the business – but Sam & Max were a starting point for many, and it’s great to see the team go back and revive them and bring them up to modern-day standards.
The story in the game follows a similar arch in each episode. Sam & Max are called upon by a collection of characters to help them out with a local problem, then after solving a few puzzles and sorting out some problems it’s time to move onto the next episode. The episodes don’t overstay their welcome, they are full of humour and the puzzles are fun. The humour in the game tends to swing. from genuinely very funny to hit and miss fairly quickly. There’s a scene early in with Bosco, the local shop keeper where he’s listing all the things that get to him, that had me laughing out loud. However, some of the humour can feel a little dated and things can get a bit repetitive when you’re trying to solve some of the puzzles hearing the same lines over and over.
The controls were a bit of a challenge on Nintendo Switch. Normally I play this type of game on PC, where I have the freedom of the mouse, but playing this on Nintendo Switch did take a little bit of getting used to with the joycon. With a mouse, you can drag around on the screen and look for items and ‘explore the screen’ for clues, which is much in keeping with Sam & Max’s detective themes. With the joycon, however, you use the right stick to highlight different areas of interest, while a useful function it did feel much more mechanical than exploration. This definitely wouldn’t be an issue if I’d have played with a mouse.
Sam & Max, as the title suggests, are the stars of the show. They have wonderful chemistry together and they are both well written, bouncing jokes off each other as they verbally battle the other characters in the game. Puzzles in games like this always have a challenge of striking the right balance, and the team behind Sam & Max have done a great job here. The puzzles have just about the right balance of difficulty to keep you interested but they’re not too hard as to put you off. Solutions tend to be on the side of ridiculous (but also funny too) and you definitely feel like you’re inside or directing a living cartoon. It reminded me a lot of the early Lucas Arts point and click adventure games like Day of the Tentacle, in a really good way.
This is a remaster and some features have been included and updates. There’s widescreen and controller support as well as enhanced graphics and audio. The graphics look great, although rather than completely being redone, I believe the original graphics had an upgrade rather than being fully remade. I tested this out on my monitor and also in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch and the game popped from the screen in glorious colour and detail.
The controls have been given an upgrade too. Rather than control Sam by pointing him around the screen, you can control him directly with the joypad. This sounds like a small detail but it certainly made things much easier and also made for a more immersive experience as I felt like I was in there with Max. The touchscreen on Nintendo Switch has been given support too, although I felt it best to play with either the Joycon or the Pro Controller. In terms of the performance of the game, it runs great, again having tested in handheld or connected to a monitor. There isn’t much loading to speak of and it feels really stable and smooth.
Sam & Max Save The World Remastered is fantastic fun. Perhaps you remember these guys from the ’90s or ’00s and you’re playing because you enjoyed their adventures as a kid. Whether you ar new to the series or remember them from the past, Sam & Max offer a fun-filled adventure through a number of episodes and they’ll keep you entertained with their jokes, puzzles and crazy characters. Many features have been improved with the remaster, so if you were on the fence before then I definitely recommend checking this one out.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Steam
Release Date: 2nd December 2020