Review – Sam & Max Episode 6: Bright Side of The Moon

Here it is, the final episode in the only episodic series that’s actually managed to do something with itself. Six games in as many months is something that Telltale Games should be proud of, but they get another pat on the back for doing such a good job. Season 1 was very much a learning experience, both for themselves and for the fans. Throughout the journey, Telltale has shown definite signs of listening to their audience and learning from their mistakes. Bright Side of the Moon fixes a lot of problems from past episodes, and is all-around the most solid effort of the six games. Funny, lengthy and fun to play, I was sad to see this one come to an end.

The first five episodes sometimes struggled with the balancing act of keeping the puzzles tough but not obtuse and also keeping the humor strong, all in a very tight timeframe. →  Read the rest

Review – Sam & Max Episode 5: Reality 2.0

Despite it being the penultimate episode of Season 1, I don’t have much to say about Reality 2.0. It repeats much of the same things we’ve already gone over (ie, “The rule of three” for puzzles, familiar faces and environments, etc.). Reminiscent of ep. 4, it has two very hard puzzles with some very easy stuff in between. At this point it is rather useless to discuss whether any of these things are good or bad, because they are simply the way they are.

When episodic content is released in a matter of weeks rather than months, there is a very limited time in which to create new content. Some things are going to be static, both because it fits the nature of the game (“episodes” of any sort of media don’t completely change), and because it is the only way to get the content out quickly. →  Read the rest

Review – Sam & Max Episode 4: Abe Lincoln Must Die

Something tells me I will be in the minority with this one, but Sam and Max Episode 4 is perhaps the weakest entry yet (or close behind the first one). This seems odd at first, because this time Telltale worked on many of the issues that fans (and reviewers like myself) brought up with the last few episodes, namely length and difficulty. I appreciate and respect this, however their solutions to the problems do more harm than good, while the formerly sound humor of past episodes gets less attention and falls flat. I started playing these episodes with excitement and praise. Now I’m starting to get genuinely worried.

The previous three episodes were indeed easy to complete and on the short side time wise. This never really bothered me because the settings were fun, the scripts sharp, and the puzzles weren’t damningly hard. →  Read the rest

Review – Sam and Max Episode 3: The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball

I’m not going to do an “official” review of Sam and Max Episode 3. All the big aggregate game sites will give you the same Consumer Reports style bullshit about this one; how the environments are recycled, how the game is shorter and the puzzles are easier, and so its just not so good as the rest.

But you and me, we know differently. We already discussed with Episode 2 that repeated environments are to be expected in episodic content (and shouldn’t always be thought of as a bad thing). We know that length is not always equal to value. In short, quantifying game elements just doesn’t work, so let’s take the videolamer look at why I think Ep. 3 is the most entertaining and worrisome of the bunch.

Episode 2’s humor was somewhat blunt with its parodies of sitcoms and talk shows, but I still liked it. →  Read the rest

Review – Sam and Max Episode 2 – Situation: Comedy

Is episodic gaming on the ropes already? That seems to be what some people are saying. It’s kind of hard to believe this when the idea still hasn’t gotten off the ground, but these claims have some merit. Sin Episodes is in limbo, and everyone has come to agree that Valve is really making Half Life 2 expansion packs, regardless of what they want to call them. That leaves Telltale Games as the only major developer that has followed through with their promise of timely episodic content. First they did it with Bone, and now Sam and Max looks to be moving along right on schedule. The second episode, Situation: Comedy, was released just before Christmas, and I’ve finally gotten around to finishing it. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be enough to say about Ep. →  Read the rest

Review – Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock

Well here it is folks. After much trial and delay, the world can finally partake in a new Sam & Max game. Since my only experience with these two characters comes from a handful of viewings of the old Fox Kids cartoon show, my interest in seeing new Sam & Max was quite neutral. Yet my desire to play the new game has been quite high, for no other reason than my great interest in the way in which it was developed. This has to be one of the biggest gambles the industry has seen this generation, one that I hope to see succeed.

After Lucasarts decided to waffle around and eventually can their efforts on a new game, creator Steven Purcell looked towards small developer Telltale Games to start anew. →  Read the rest