Telltale Games has done it again, bringing another dose of bizarre humor, unconventional puzzles and likeable characters to their latest piece of adventure gaming bliss. Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 2 – The Tomb of Sammun-Mak might just have the longest title in history, but everything about the game is just as eye-catching as its moniker.
While Sam & Max vets will be able to jump right into this latest chapter, newcomers will be relieved to know that this installment is a standalone affair. The characters are quite easy to run along with, and very little background is needed to appreciate the easy-going fun that the dog and bunny duo consistently offer.
The premise of Sammun-Mak involves two similar looking characters known as Sammeth and Maximus, who happen to be great relatives of the freelance police duo. The two discover a few silent movie reels that draw them into their ancestor’s world, forcing them to live out the cinematic tale across several varied environments. The gameplay bits normally associated with adventure titles still apply here, as subtle hints are dropped in conversation and repetitively clicking everything in sight will eventually trigger something noteworthy. Sam’s unusual psychic abilities from the previous title returns, as certain puzzles require creative use of these powers to keep the story moving. The player can also use “Astral Projection” to switch the film reels at will, which allows them to find certain clues that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.
One minor irk was in getting to grips with the controls, which differ from the original game’s traditional “click where you want to go” movement method. Now, the arrow keys move the characters, with the mouse coming into play for dialogue and scene interaction. Because of this more console-friendly approach, the PS3 version might have the upper hand over PC, as the controller makes the process a lot more convenient. The PC version does run perfectly however, with its ultra-smooth frame-rate and not-too-bothersome load times.
Thankfully, the conversation in Sam & Max is handled with a Mass Effect-like dialogue wheel, which is impressively implemented and very easy to use. Visually, a film grain effect contributes to the cinematic atmosphere, making it all feel like an old and dated movie. I feel as if the visuals and comedic quality of Sam and Max has evolved over recent seasons, with the characters, environments and items looking much better this time around. Voice acting and dialogue are top-notch, with the well-written conversations giving me a good chuckle or two. Characters, returning or otherwise, were well-represented and easily likable.
So whether you are a long-time fan or a newcomer, I wholly recommend checking the latest Sam & Max series out. The spiffy dialogue and catchy humor are always enjoyable, and the adventuring is just as clever and timeless as ever. While PS3 owners may have the edge this time around, all Sam & Max fans will love what The Tomb of Sammun-Mak has to offer.