After saving a momentous commercialized holiday there’s nothing like some sun, sand, and the potential of huge flows of lava to warm you back up after wandering around the North Pole. That’s right: Sam and Max have won a free vacation to Easter Island courtesy of Destiny Travel and Bermuda Triangle air. So dress comfortably, pack a large hat, and get ready to help Sam and Max break those Moai Better Blues.
Sam and Max: Moai Better Blues is the second title in the second season of Telltale Games’s Sam and Max titles(the first was Ice Station Santa) and this one has some changes from the games in the first series that are worthy to mention. Firstly, and most importantly, if you’re regarding this review you’ve probably played your share of adventure games and can remember plenty of times when you were left high and dry in an point and click adventure game by a complex and multi layered puzzle whose steps seemed anything but logical. This was sometimes a problem in the first Sam and Max series but fortunately for us Telltale Games has retooled so that the connections between the puzzles you’re trying to solve have more natural connections. Telltale Games promised this change in Sam and Max Moai Better Blues and they delivered firmly on their promise. The puzzles still take careful observations of the environments and unconventional thinking just the solutions are obvious once you’ve figured them out.
Secondly the landscape of the neighborhood has received a total rework after the events of Ice Station Santa which, in addition to bringing some new and old characters back into the fold. Flint Paper, Sam and Max’s next door neighbor, makes an closer appearance in the newly opened Stinky’s Diner while the new Stinky continually denies her involvement in the disappearance of the old Stinky. That’s a mystery to be solved for later, if at all, because you’ve got more important things on your mind such as a gloomy group of Moai statues, a group of celebrity babies, and the prospect of imminent destruction..but nothing new there, right?
The gameplay that is in place for you to help in solving these problems is the tried and true point and click interface that has served you in such games as Day of The Tentacle and Full Throttle and it serves you equally well here. Some of the screens are a little object cluttered, which can make performing time sensitive puzzles a little complicated, but remember you always have a really big pistol at your command. Use it well, use it well. The mouse also plays a part in one of the new challenges Telltale has introduced into the game and while this requires a certain amount of precision it, and the other puzzles in the game, are not impossible.
The graphics retain their usual cartoonish high quality but for a bonus and to keep things fresh Telltale Games have thrown in a few spiffy graphical touches. They range from items like the glowing green laser grid that crisscrosses the entrance to the bathroom of Bosco’s store(the whole building is in lockdown because of…THEM!) and the door scanner which causes lights to scale up the sides as first Sam and then Max exit and enter. Suffice to say, however, if you’ve liked the graphics you’ve seen in the previous Sam and Max games made by Telltale then you’ll continue to like them now.
The audio hasn’t received any sweeping improvements but is still nothing to sneer at as Telltale has made good choices with the primary and supporting voice actors in this latest Sam and Max title. Firstly is Sam and Max themselves, of course, but the gruff voice tone of Flint Paper, the tough guy attitude of the infant Jimmy Hoffa to the baby Glenn Miller’s slow pace and over all amenable voice causes all of their characters to be well captured and believable…well, as much as talking celebrities who have become infants due to drinking too much Fountain of Youth water can be. If you can suspend disbelief that much, though, you’re cool.