Sam & Max: Save the World, just released on Live Arcade, is the latest point-and-click adventure game from Telltale to show up on the Xbox Live Arcade, and is based off of Sam & Max: Season One that was released for the PC in 2006-2007. It boasts six unique episodes for only $20; and thanks to its humor, it’s well worth that price.
Point-and-Click games are rarely seen on consoles, due to the natural thought of a mouse instead of using an analog stick to drag a cursor across the screen. The movement is rather slow with the controller, and the frame rate can slow down a bit, but it’s nice to know these are the only issues with the game. The writing in Save the World is excellent; the characters are well thought out and the dialogue is very funny at times. “It’s probably one of the funniest games of this generation and should be experienced just for that. Each episode is its own story, but it is structured in a way that makes this feel like one whole game. This also means that playing the episodes in order is recommended.
When talking about gameplay in Save the World, there really isn’t much to say. There is a mountain of puzzles to solve in each episode, which is done by clicking on various objects and talking with people. Clicking on an empty spot causes Sam to walk around, and there’s also an inventory to solve puzzles with as well. For example, you might be tasked with buying something in the store. So when you pull up the inventory screen you would click your money, then the cashier to pay. The puzzles are clever and varied and are the only way to progress to the next hilarious moment.
Graphically, Sam & Max does not shine too well, but compared to the usual Live Arcade fare it’s just fine. It has a very cartoonish look, and this type of game works well with that kind of style. There is enough detail to see everything necessary on screen, and the camera never gets in the way either. The game is also backed up by superb voice acting and music as well.
Coming across a game like Sam & Max is rare anymore. Its humorous dialogue and clever puzzles overshadow the frame rate issues and sometimes wonky controls. Here’s hoping that Telltale will map the gamepad to the movement of the character in all future titles (as that tends to work better on a gamepad).
All told, at 1600 Microsoft Points ($20) it’s difficult not to recommend Sam & Max, as anyone is bound to have a good time with it.