Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space continues to be a surreal and funny trip through some of TellTale’s best Adventure titles. The occasional joke feels a bit dated, and the frame rate is occasionally wonky, but the consistent laughs and charming cast of characters make this another banger for Skunkape.
Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space
Developer: Skunkape Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed) and PC
MonsterVine was provided with a Switch code for review
Just like last December, here I am reviewing a remastered and re-released Sam & Max season. And, also just like last year, here I am having an absolute blast doing so. There’s just something about Sam & Max’s weird and wonderful humor that gets me, and that phenomenon has continued into this second season of Sam & Max. If you enjoyed Sam & Max Save the World, you’ve got to keep going with Beyond Time and Space.
Beyond Time and Space continues from where Save the World left off. Max is president, the severed living stone head of Abraham Lincoln is just chilling, and the Maimtron 9000 is causing a ruckus. Things happen that lead Sam and Max to the North Pole (solid release timing,) where they have to exorcise Santa Claus. Later chapters have the duo saving an island of living Moai statues, outsmarting hordes of undead and a Eurobeat vampire, travelling through time, and even chilling with Satan. Yet somehow, all these adventures tie in together quite nicely. There’s a consistent story from Episode One to Five, but definitive smaller stories taking the focus of each episode. It makes Beyond Time and Space a great game to play in chunks, as you can play an episode within a couple of hours then take a break without losing the plot.
As is the case with other seasons of Sam & Max, there’s a fairly limited cast of characters in Beyond Time and Space. Somehow, that never really feels like a limitation, as the cast is used well and with strong comedic timing. Here and there, there’ll be a joke that doesn’t quite land, but that should be expected from a series that came out over a decade ago. I mainly found a couple jokes to be a bit too “lol random!!!” for my taste, but these misses were fairly rare. Most of the jokes are so ridiculous and sharp that they quickly make you forget about these misfires, as you’re too busy chuckling at the idea of Sam and Max being proud of the section of Hell that’s reserved exclusively for people who get caught up in their adventures.
“The duo’s wacky world is full of color and distinct style, straight out of Steve Purcell’s original Sam & Max comics“
If you’ve played a classic LucasArts adventure game, you’ll know what to expect from Beyond Time and Space. You talk to characters, collect all sorts of peculiar objects, and use those items with other items and settings to solve problems and progress in the story. Sometimes it can feel a bit random, but for the most part, paying attention to what happens in the story and asking characters questions will illustrate what you need to do in order to advance. It can be quite satisfying to solve a puzzle as you ponder the solutions, though you may end up trying everything with everything on some puzzles, as is tradition for an adventure game.
There are some minigames in each episode that have you driving Sam and Max’s Desoto car and running over dolls, shooting rats, or throwing CDs at zombies. They’re very simple but provide a fun little break from the slower puzzle-solving. Plus, they’re pretty funny conceptually, which makes them worth trying out at least once each.
Skunkape did quite a nice job of sharpening up the cartoony visuals of Beyond Time and Space, especially when it came to improving the lighting. The duo’s wacky world is full of color and distinct style, straight out of Steve Purcell’s original Sam & Max comics. There are lots of visual jokes scattered throughout the season too, which make exploration feel rewarding and worthwhile.
The soundtrack and voice acting deserves a mention as well, as they greatly add to the overall experience. A lot of the humor works largely because of the delivery of actors like David Nowin (Sam) and William Kasten (Max.) The fun jazz music gives the whole world a bit of extra flavor, defining the areas they play in quite nicely. I especially liked the Christmas music in Episode One and the Hell music in Episode Five.
The Final Word
Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space is another classic comedic caper for Steve Purcell’s iconic detective duo. Some of the goofs are a tad dated, but the rather consistent hilarity and one-of-a-kind tone make it one of the crown jewels of TellTale’s catalogue.
MonsterVine Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – Great