Sam & Max: Season 2 PC

Bit of a short review, this one. Not wanting to show any disrespect to TellTale Games – lord knows they’re still pretty much single-handedly saving the point-and-click adventure, not to mention proving that episodic content does work. It’s just that, two episodes in, the second season of Sam & Max is so far very much like the first. Almost identical, in fact.

Eh? You haven’t played the first season? Well, perhaps you should stop wasting everyone’s time and get on the TellTale website, where you can download episode four for free. If you’re too lazy to do that, then you can at least shut up and listen for a minute. Sam & Max was an old but fondly-remembered LucasArts point-and-click adventure, starring a massive dog and a mental rabbit as a crime-solving duo. The lovely chaps at TellTale then made a long-awaited sequel to it last year, the twist being that the game was released in a series of ‘episodes’, like a TV show, lasting only a few hours each. And it worked – the episodes were all a lot of fun, and the developers stuck to the release schedule, so fans of the game were treated to new episodes on a regular basis. Valve, pay attention.

The game itself is a very laid-back affair, and mostly consists of wandering about, clicking on things, chatting to people and solving puzzles. And there’s absolutely no harm in that, especially not when the series is headed to the Wii, which we reckon will be a perfect fit for it. The situations the titular heroes find themselves are all brilliantly stupid – season two opens with them being sent a giant, murderous robot as a Christmas present, leading them to believe that Santa himself has gone rogue. Cue an investigation into Santa’s workshop, to find him threatening his elves with a machinegun. And so on. It’s stupid, but it works.

There was a lot of shrieking about the episodes being a bit short, but when you bear in mind that each episode costs $8.95 (or exactly £4.56 according to Google), this criticism doesn’t really stand up. You’ll get about three hours out of each episode, which is more than enough given the low entry fee. Alternatively, if you’re certain you want to buy an entire season, you can pay a one-off fee of $29.95 for season one (so, about 15 quid), or $34.95 for season two (18 quid) – though it’s worth noting that season two is only five episodes long, compared to season one’s six episodes. As well as saving you a bit of cash, paying for a whole season also gets you an actual copy of the episodes on a DVD, once all the episodes have been made. And all for less than the cost of most PC games.

So, we’re two episodes into season two now, and so far it is just more of the same. This is a mixed blessing, of course. While it’d be easy to sneer at TellTale for simply repeating a winning formula, the fact remains that the Sam & Max games are still entertaining as hell. The voice acting is still spot-on, the puzzles won’t ever piss you off (a polite way of saying the game’s easy, perhaps, but I like easy), and it’s still genuinely funny – and we all know how rare it is to find a game with a decent sense of humour. If you enjoyed the first season, you’ll enjoy this. If you didn’t, you’re wrong. And probably fat, too.

8 out of 10