Sam & Max Save the World (Xbox 360) Review by Kaiser679

14 Sep 2012
7 8 4
Even at the best of times, Sam & Max is "just a point and click game" which, at least for me, often spells boredom rather quickly. Then when you add in that the solutions to some of the puzzles are so obscure (and not even hinted at) that I spent 20 minutes walking the same room trying to figure out something bizarre like ***SPOILER ALERT*** that clicking on a 'One Way' traffic sign hanging on the wall would actually flip the entire office upside down (how do they expect that anybody would know this, short of clicking on EVERYTHING in the room?) it often got frustrating being stuck in the same boring spot for inordinent ammounts of time with little to no payoff.

To make matters worse, there are plenty of times when, simply meaning to click to one side of the screen to get your character to walk into the next frame, you accidentally select an object you didn't mean to and find yourself listening to the same line of dialogue you've already heard 17 times (but more on that later). Essencially, the interface for walking around SUCKS, and won't allow you to vary your speed at all, which means moving any real distance takes quite a while.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, we have the driving missions. You drive in a straight line at all times... and so do the people you're chasing. Apparently, no car in this entire world ever turns a corner (and yours doesn't even have brakes) your only real control here is to move from side to side between the two lanes, speak through a megaphone and shoot your gun straight forward to knock out tail lights, etc. Quite the snooze-fest.

I grew up with the Sam & Max series on TV and loved it. I had been eagerly awaiting playing this game... and honestly, even on a half price sale I felt ripped off. The story is horribly repetative (the first episode requires you to do the same method of breaking hypnosis over and over and over again, and has a "boss fight" that's won via dialogue choices that make no sense, so you pretty much have to either look up a guide or just keep trying every order of selections until you get it right.) This game often times expects you to just "try everything" rather than having any sort of logical solution to anything, which just shows how poor the writing is, and the humor.... well, coming from a true Sam & Max fan: It's just not funny.

There is really nothing outrageously good to report here. The graphics seem very much like they were meant for the last gen, but aren't offensively bad, and the sound? Well... underwhelming would be the best word.

The voice acting? Sam & Max sound pretty much how they're supposed to sound, if a little dry. The rest of the characters are pretty bad.... and it seems every character in this entire world has 5 or less lines that they repeat ad nauseam. It didn't take very long to have me wanting to start playing it on mute just to avoid the same poorly read line being thrown at me a 25th time.

Honestly, I bought this game at half price (800mp) and I still wish I hadn't. It didn't even take me all the way through the first episode to be wishing I could get my points back. This is saying a lot because I love Sam & Max, and am probably one of the very few out there who likes Telltale Games' style in general (Jurassic Park: The Game, Walking Dead, etc.). This was their first game of this style however, and it just goes to show you that they had a lot of room to grow.

It's all pretty straight forward: Just by playing through you're guarenteed to get over half of them, and the others should come pretty easily just by screwing around (which you're bound to end up doing just to figure out what the game expects of you at several stages). The problem, for me, is that while I can often stomach a boring or poorly made game by seeing the little achievement popper coming up and reminding me I'm working toward something, these ones are so spaced out (especially in the first episode that only has one achievement right at the end) that it doesn't give me that satisfying sense of a silver lining.

Final Thoughts:
No. Just no. I wouldn't recommend this game for anybody really. People who don't know Sam & Max will just see a frustrating point and click game with illogical puzzles and long drawn out boring dialogue, and those who do (like me) will probably feel that they're watching their fond memories disgraced and disrespected. I'm a big fan of Telltale Games, but they say everybody makes a dud eventually... and it appears they wasted no time, getting it done or their first attempt.
Vorpal Smilodon
(how do they expect that anybody would know this, short of clicking on EVERYTHING in the room?)
That's what you're supposed to do, you're supposed to literally click every single thing in the room.
Posted by Vorpal Smilodon on 14 Sep 12 at 20:29
ShootZombiesI totally agree, I really want to love these adventure games but their Baloney logic just does my head in. Monkey island helps a little with it's hint system but even with that I got stuck several times and had to consult guides.
At least walking dead is focused on Story, which is just the way I like it (others too obviously since it's selling like hotcakes).
More walking dead please Telltale, love it.
Posted by ShootZombies on 15 Sep 12 at 16:15
Kaiser679Vorpal - That's just a poor way to make a game, in my opinion. Puzzle solving should be about finding solutions that make sense, not just clicking everywhere (sometimes multiple times) until you find out what poorly thought out and illogical solution they settled for and hid in a corner somewhere.)

ShootZombies - That's why I said I generally like Telltale. Walking Dead is great, and even Jurassic Park, while flawed in the gameplay, had a good story behind it that kept you wanting to see more. This one just.... didn't.
Posted by Kaiser679 on 15 Sep 12 at 16:25
Dragonborn GearI think the Back to the Future game from Telltale was very good. I feel like the puzzle structure in that game was perfect. I don't think I referred to the hints very often, but there were multiple at every stage becoming progressively stronger to give you the information you need to progress. That way you don't really need a guide either way. In other words, I can respect that most Telltale games nowadays revolve solely along creating an interactive story with decisions that slightly influence your experience, but I think the BttF game was some where in between clicking everything and only having to click to obvious as is the current game play.

I am definitely not going to go so far that I agree with a 1-star rating simply because it's designed for the individuals focused on every single detail (and then some). I personally believe 1-star (or half a star) would be reserved for the worst of the worst. This game is not that bad.
Posted by Dragonborn Gear on 02 Jul 17 at 21:52