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Sam and Max: Save the World Remastered Review December 2, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Reviews.

As a child of the 90s one of the earliest PC games I could think of was Sam & Max: Hit the Road. The antics of a cartoon dog and crazy rabbit working as “Freelance Police” was a charming concept for an adventure game. Lucasarts teased a sequel was in development as late as 2004, but it would get cancelled. Despite incredible name recognition and fond memories of the original Lucasarts PC-game, things were not looking good for the titular duo by the early-2000s, and few people believed a new Sam and Max game would ever get released. In 2007, a small game developer called Telltale Games took a chance with creating an exclusively digitally produced episodic game based on the iconic franchise. This resulted in one of the finest adventure series of all time, Sam and Max: Save the World.

It’s now over a decade later, and Telltale Games no longer exists. The game’s distribution was picked up by the company Skunkape, who have chosen to remaster the first season of the game and rerelease it for the PC and Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look at the game’s trailer:

Editor’s Note: A review copy for the Nintendo Switch version was provided to the site. As per the founding terms of the site we have pledged to review all games provided to us and we were more than happy to oblige the developers in this case.

Sam and Max: Save the World is an adventure game, and because of that requires the player to solve a series of complex puzzles, navigate dialog trees, and bring items from one area to another. I know that sounds like your typical adventure game, but where Sam and Max sets itself apart is with its humor. No, I’m serious, this game is FUNNY! I know the jokes for this game were written over a decade earlier, but they are still just as relevant today as when they were first written. In fact, I constantly found myself laughing and smiling at a funny quip Max, Sybil or Boscov would say, and that is something I badly needed in a year like this.

First up, I want to talk about the game’s graphics and art style. They are just incredible. Skunkape added an extra layer of shadow to all the characters and I would equate the improvement to the polish layer Industrial Light and Magic added to the 2D animations drawn for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Max, for example, no longer has a flat white shade over his fur, but a layer of shadow that realistically changes as he walks around a scene. I think the developers struck the best balance between staying true to the original art style while still making the models fit in the next-generation. There’s also the addition of widescreen support, something the first season of Sam and Max never supported on its original PC release.

Next, I want to talk about the game controls. We played on the Nintendo Switch while in tablet mode, so we are mostly going to focus on that control system. You move with the game’s Left thumbstick, and interact with the A button. Camera angles are fixed (this is an adventure game) but the Right thumbstick can be used to cycle through selectable hotspots on the screen, such as items, characters, or doors. The inventory can be selected with the Y button. Don’t worry, you can sprint by holding down one of the trigger buttons. If you played the original game on the PC, you’ll typically remember the game’s click to select interface, and the Switch version also offers players a similar control option. While in tablet mode you can tap on an area you wish to investigate with your finger, and Sam will respond as if you selected it with the A button. It takes a little practice if you’re used to playing adventure games with a mouse and keyboard, but you’ll pick it up in no time.

You’re welcome to play the six episodes in any order you wish, although you may spoil some story revelations if you choose to play episodes out of sequence. Eventually, you’ll notice the episodes share similar story rhythm, with certain characters coming back each episode with new problems for you to solve. That said, every episode focuses on a different theme, and you may choose to play and/or replay a mission due to your personal love of that theme. Episode 2 is inspired by classic antenna broadcast television stations. Episode 4 is pure political satire, which is something that is just as relevant today as it was over a decade earlier. That Episode remains my favorite, and I’m sure I’ll replay it plenty of times this month. We have a strict no spoiler policy here for our reviews so I’ll leave it to you to discover the themes behind the other episodes for yourself.

Sam and Max: Save the World combines all six episodes of the first season of Telltale’s episodic Sam and Max series in one easy to download application for a price of $19.99 US. If you never purchased the original game and are a lover of adventure games, Sam and Max, or just hilarious stories in general, this game is TOTALLY worth the full $19.99 purchase. If already own the original game on a platform like Steam, and you want to play the remastered version, this version is worth the discounted upgrade price if only for the widescreen support and improved graphics. If you’re an original Telltale account holder, I would say ABSOLUTELY make the upgrade, as you can get the remastered game for free right now on Skunkape’s website. Personally, I’m hoping that Skunkape has the opportunity to remaster more of Sam and Max, in particular the second or third season of the game.

Sam and Max: Save the World Remastered is out now for the PC and Nintendo Switch. Max for President!



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