Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 21.02.2022

Review for Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered on PC

Telltale Games is best known for The Walking Dead these days, but the studio's history stretches all the way back to the mid-2000s. Long before Lee Everett taught Clementine everything he knew to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Telltale refined its penchant for episodic content with the Sam & Max franchise. Based on a comic by Steve Purcell, the series blends noir sensibilities with an eclectic sense of humour. Now over fifteen years since Telltale first got its hands on the series, Skunkape Games has put a considerable amount of effort into remastering Sam & Max for modern audiences. Picking up one year after Save the World, Beyond Time and Space Remastered is really to give audiences a fresh take on Sam & Max Season Two.

Sam & Max is reflective of an era from before Telltale overburdened itself with adaptation after adaptation: rough around the edges, but more than enough heart to carry the experience. Albeit a bit too censor-happy, Skunkape Games's remaster of the first season - Save the World - reintroduced the detective duo to modern audiences. In what's shaping up to be a remaster of all three Telltale seasons, Beyond Time and Space lends a new coat of paint to Season Two. Unlike the first season which boasted six different episodes, Season Two only has five. For what it's worth, though, the final playtime manages to stay relatively consistent between seasons. Beyond Time and Space may have fewer episodes altogether, but that does not mean the sequel is lacking in content. If anything, less episodes means each individual story is given more time to develop and play out.

The gameplay loop is nothing out of the norm for the point-and-click genre, especially for anyone already familiar with Telltale's library. Sam moves wherever the player clicks on the screen, each room featuring several different items to examine, or NPCs to speak with. Conversations are diverse and almost always a highlight thanks to solid voice direction, paired with a script that makes sure everyone has their own distinct voice. While episodes vary in quality, Sam & Max's character writing remains a consistent highlight from start to finish.

That said, the writing doesn't always feel as sharp as the first season or the original LucasArts game. Over-the-top set pieces keep each episode memorable and unpredictable to the point where it genuinely feels like anything can happen, no matter how absurd. There's certainly merit in that style of storytelling, but Beyond Time and Space's lack of restraint doesn't always warrant itself. Moai Better Blues in particular leaves a lot to be desired. If nothing else, a well-defined atmosphere and great presentation help round out the season's narrative edges.

Screenshot for Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered on PC

It should be noted that the script seems to have undergone some minor censorship as well. Nothing to the point of season one's overhaul, but fans of the original will notice some omissions. Notably, a reference to suicide in the third episode. Ogie Banks also reprises his role as Roscoe Boscoe from the first remaster, replacing Joey Camen's turn as the character. Banks' performance is better in Season Two than it was in Season One, but diehards intimately familiar with the original will likely experience some disconnect.

Puzzle design is a bit more involved than Telltale's modern catalogue, but nothing particularly demanding. Items in Sam's inventory can be used to interact with different objects on the overworld, requiring you to pay attention to context and minor details to progress. Most puzzles aren't in-depth to begin with, but a hint system ensures players are unlikely to ever get stuck. Mini-games like whack-a-mole, boxing, and driving the Desoto also add some extra flavour, offering breaks from the investigation, dialogue, puzzle loop that defines most of the experience.

Aesthetically, Beyond Time and Space greatly resembles the previous remaster. Character models have rounder curves than they did in the original that pair well with a vivid colour palette courtesy of lighting that takes time of day into consideration. A wider field of view for each screen also lends players a better sense of where they are and what they're looking for. All that said, there was a charm in the original art style's simplicity. Character models were goofy, but had personality. The lighting wasn't as sophisticated, but colours popped exactly as they needed to. While the majority of the remaster looks fantastic, a few areas simply looked better in the original.

Screenshot for Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Although Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space doesn't hit the same highs as Save the World or Hit the Road, Skunkape Games has managed to offer up yet another compelling remaster. Purists are bound to baulk at some of the changes, but nothing is to the point where Season Two outright suffers. If nothing else, Beyond Time and Space is a better remaster than its predecessor, which bodes quite well for Sam & Max. Telltale has come a long way since the mid-2000s, but Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered radiates a sense of style, charm, and ingenuity the studio lost with time.

Developer

Skunkape Games

Publisher

Skunkape Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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