Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse

The game opens and closes every episode with a narrator. He doesn't do much, and only explains obvious things that I could figure out myself. He has a slight British accent, but he isn't Stanley's. The office that Sam and Max uses is unavailable for the entire game. They were kicked out between the last season and the first episode of this one. The C.O.P.S. have moved into the Desoto, and Sam uses it as a mobile office.

"Screenshot of Sam and the Narrator."

New York City going through another apocalypse. (Does it ever get a break?) This time, it's an alien gorilla invasion. General Skunkape is looking for some toys of power so he can rule the universe. Twenty minutes before that, Max starts feeling a little weird after picking up a View-Master in the alley, and gains psychic powers. With those, he use these toys that everyone's been talking about. Turns out that Skunkape is an escaped criminal, but since you're the freelance police, you take an interest in him right away.

You figure out that the pharaohs knew about these toys, and you watch a movie of Sam's and Max's grandfathers breaking into a pyramid. Someone steals Max's brain as he's watching the end of the movie. Sam gets pissed, and starts yelling at everyone nearby. This is where the game gets dark and noiry. I get a kick out of alternately having Sam yell at people, then calmly be dark and tell them they're worthless. After a while, an endless army of Sam clones appear, then due to some serious side effect of Max's psychic abilities, he summons Chthulu! I don't want to spoil anything else, so I'll leave it at that.

"Screenshot of Sam going in for an alley beatdown."

The gameplay is more evolved. It's still a point and click adventure, but this time, you can switch between Sam and Max! What a concept! However, it's a bit limited, in that when in Max mode, you generally only use him for his psychic powers. Sam doesn't use the psychic powers, and Max doesn't walk around, except to follow Sam.

That said, I thought that some of the puzzles were too hard, even with the hints on. For example, at one point I was supposed to give a miner's hat to someone eating dinner in Stinky's Diner. That's leaning into Sierra territory.

The graphics have improved dramatically. The lighting is better, and there are shadows. The whole artstyle rightfully comes off as being a big darker than the other series. The interface has evolved a bit. Clicking and holding activates a virtual thumbstick. There are other quality of life improvements to be iPad friendly. Yes, this was the first Telltale series to release on iPad.

Overall, this is more of the same. When I started playing these Telltale games, I didn't think that they would go bankrupt before I finished all of them I had. So this is probably going to be the last Sam and Max game for many years, still.