Game Review

Sam And Max 301: The Penal Zone Review

Sam And Max 301: The Penal Zone Review

A Cleverly written point and click adventure game with genuinely laugh out loud, clever puzzles and a funny puzzle.

I have always had a weird love for point and click adventure game, the smart writing, interesting puzzles (even though 90% can be summarized as give this to him, or combine this with that ),and even the frustration that comes when you just can’t figure out what to do next and you are ready to snap you keyboard, they are all just part of the experience. Unfortunately, in this world of Call of Duty, multiplayer focus and streamlined design, cleverness and brain teasing are becoming more and more of a rarity in games. So its really exciting to see Tell Tale Games keep that old point and click magic alive with Sam and Max Season 3.

If you haven’t heard of them before, Tell Tale Games, unlike Valve, actually know how episodic games should work. When you buy the game Sam and Max Season 3, you will get a new episode every month for 5 months.  Each episode last for about 3 to 6 hours, depending on how fast you solve the puzzles. So for 35 dollars you are getting about 20 or so hours of fun single player game, though there is little incentive to play through a second time as the puzzles lose all their weight when you know what to do.

Avoiding spoiling the story, this season basically revolves around Sam and Max, the Freelance Police, saving the universe from untold ancient evil and aliens gorillas using Max (a hyperkinetic rabbity thing who is president of the United States…. yeah I’m not kidding) and his new found psychic powers like future sight and teleportation.  You directly control Sam, a laid-back but enthusiastic, brown-coated anthropomorphic canine shamus, who does most of the talking, item management and acts as an anchor for the hilarity and gameplay. Other characters include a ghost scientist, a melancholy PI, molemen, and a number of other strange personalities who have plenty of funny things to say.

Presentation wise, Sam and Max combines new and old to creates a smart design that can appeal to veterans and newcomers to adventures games alike, without feeling too easy or challenging.  Dialog  in the game is cleverly written and delivered, the graphics are very well designed and animated with some cool lighting and depth of field effects.  It’s all makes for a smart well delivered package with an unmatched charm you just don’t find in most video games. With all that said, the game does suffer from classic adventure game issue, a couple of puzzles in particular are very unclear, and in those moments the game is at it’s worse becomes a guessing game of combining random things to try and figure out what the developer expected you to do. With that said, once you get past those moments and the wheels start turning again, watching all the puzzles come together and figuring them out on your own is a rewarding experience that are bookended with some of the funniest dialog this side of Portal.

Overall, if you are a fan of point and click adventure games, or looking for a good funny game that delivers genuine laughs you should defiantly check out Sam and Max. If you are looking for a fun PC game for 35 dollars, well you could do a heck of a lot worse then Sam and Max Season 3.