Game Review: Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – The Penal Zone
Release: April 15, 2010
Developer: TellTale Games
Available Platforms: PS3/PC/ iPad/ Mac
MSRP: $34.95 (cost for full season)
ESRB Rating: E10
Sam and Max are back for Season 3. And this time they are out on all platforms on Day 1 (apart from 360 and Wii). I have played all of Season 1 and 2 of the Sam and Max series and this new season has revolutionized Sam and Max games. No longer is it just going from place to place, picking up objects, giving them to someone or throwing them somewhere and then somehow progressing through the story. This new season brings back all the great things from the previous seasons it also brings some new puzzle solving sections to the game. Such as the power to teleport and see the future. That sounds pretty fun right?
Your foe in this game is a giant and hilarious ape called “Skun-ka’pe” or “Skunk ape” as Sam and Max say. He is an alien gorilla that has come to the planet to get something that Max has. You begin the game in the future, and this is when the game introduces you to Max’s new powers. For the first episode the powers that you are given are the power to teleport to the location of any characters mobile phone that you have the number of. This is very useful in the puzzle aspect of the game and it saves you having to leave each building and making your way to the Desoto to drive there. The second power is the ability to see the future through some goggles, but this isn’t used too much in the story and is really only the hint system to see what you should be doing if you can’t figure it out.
This game looks so much better, even in the console version and the framerate is greatly improved. Obviously as it’s still a downloadable game you can’t expect high end graphics, but the game is definitely good looking with average music and absolutely hilarious writing for Sam and Max. The controls are very well done. With Season 1 and 2 you would have to actually point and click where you want Sam to run, but this time you have full control of Sam and even a sprint button. Also holding the right trigger brings up all the locations on the map that you can interact with. A lot of things have been implemented that just make the game easier to navigate and interact with.
Most of the characters in the game are from the first two seasons and if you are new to Sam and Max you wouldn’t really understand the story and significance with some of the characters. If you are entering the Sam and Max series for the first time with this game then you can pick up the characters and most of the basic storyline pretty fast. If you have played the first two seasons, you can be assured that President Max, Superball, Stinky and my favourite character, Harry Moleman are back in the game.
The story is just as messed up as the first two seasons and this is a good introduction to the new season introducing Max’s new powers to the game definitely is unique and adds a dynamic puzzle solving aspect to the game.
Adam’s final say: The Penal Zone is definitely a good start to the season, and if Telltale games keep up the amazing story while introducing some more powers for Max, this season is just going to get better and better. Episode 2 is out NOW, and Platform Nation will have a review of that soon so stay tuned.