Anybody that has been gaming long enough to remember the brilliant Lucas Arts 'point and click adventure' games will have already bought this download. The series as a whole featured a wide range of locations, wacky characters and some side-splittingly funny dialogue. Although they only had one game, Sam & Max were two of the more memorable characters to appear from such games. Both characters have such contrasting personalities, that delightfully witty banter just can't help but flow throughout the game.
Indeed it is each character's reactions to mundane and innate situations that really gives the game its charm. Every screen has something unique going on and Sam & Max deal with scenarios such as giant toy robots destroying their office with professional calm bordering on boredom. Simple objects are often described in extremely unique ways and wanton violence is never too far away.
Sam & Max games are insanely polished when it comes to presentation. Characters have a huge amount of spoken dialogue, and the art and music set the scene perfectly. Every environment is littered with quirky objects and exploring new settings is extremely rewarding. Character animations are also generally very well done and help add even more character to a game already oozing charm from all available orifices.
For those that have never played an old school adventure title (for shame), the game takes place in a variety of locations, filled to the brim with objects and characters. The trick is to interact with everything, solving puzzles to move on the highly entertaining (but irrelevant) storyline. You don't control the characters directly, but move the cursor where you want charters to walk to, or press on objects you want to investigate. On the PC this worked really well as moving the mouse between objects took no time at all. With a controller, the game still works well, but is slightly slower. But at least it's easier to play from the couch through a set-up that does the game's presentation full justice.
The puzzles aren't too much of a reach. Everything makes sense, maybe not everyday sense, but sense relevant to the game world. Inconsistency can be the death of a game in this genre. Although I admit I had to resort to Game Faqs once or twice, once I had the solution, it did make sense and I probably would have figured it out with a little more patience. Unfortunately I'm fairly impatient and while I don't mind a little backtracking or trial and error, too much of it, and no progress for a while can make me go a little insane. Most gamers will be able to enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the game, but you have to be in the right mindset and action gamers may be a little too adrenaline-starved to complete the entire game.
This latest installment of Sam & Max represents great value with five hilarious episodes, each with their own storyline. Characters and places are recycled throughout the episodes, but each is unique enough to ensure a thorough play through. Each episode often makes you view characters and locations from a completely different viewpoint thanks to ingenious and well thought-through design.
Sam & Max represents fantastic value. The only people that wouldn't appreciate this download are either people with no sense of humour or who can't appreciate a less action-orientated title. If you haven't played a previous game, don't worry, there is the odd reference to past adventures, but you don't need to understand these to enjoy the game. The game's only possible weakness is that it is a lot like previous Sam & Max games, which haven't changed since 1992.