Wii Review: Sam and Max Season One

Sam and Max make a good conversion to the Wii

Having played and reviewed both seasons of Sam and Max for PC, I can say that it’s a series of episodic games that are worth checking out. The gags won’t always hit you but when they do, it’s priceless. Season Two was the better of the bunch and I have no details if that will also head to the Wii, but I would bet on it since the Wii conversion is actually decent.

Oh sure, it’s not as crisp or as fast as the PC version for those who have mega-PC’s and big TVs (Like me) but for those on a gaming budget, you get more than your money’s worth with Sam and Max Season One. You get 6 episodes which last a few hours each, which is a good enough deal. The story revolves around a video conspiracy which leads to a talkshow hostage situation, dealings with the mafia, becoming President, destroying the Internet and having a big finale on the Moon. What a combination of riches!

PC owners who have already played the games should leave this version alone as it doesn’t offer any new content; it’s essentially nothing more than a port but with Wii functionality. Using the remote in the same way as the mouse is basic but it works and people have been begging for a Wii version since the games hit our PC’s last year. Telltale has done a lot to support their fans, even bringing out their Strong Bad series through WiiWare as well as PC and now the Wii version of Sam and Max Season One, they really deserve some credit.

The conversion does suffer from a few problems like longer load times and blurry visuals thanks to the lack of 480p support. It does have a shortcut button for your inventory but it always displays at the bottom of the screen like in the original. It worked well for the PC but not so much for the Wii version as moving your arm back and forth to access the items in the inventory is a little annoying. Voice quality also isn’t as crisp as in the PC version, I don’t know if that’s down to compression or not…but it’s a little disappointing.

If you can’t run the games on your PC, then the Wii version is the only other place for you to play Season One. Despite its technical gripes, the Wii game is still solid. The script is priceless, the characters very memorable and hilarious, the puzzles simple…it’s your near-perfect point and click adventure game. The puzzles are very easy though and it’s hard to recommend multiple playthroughs of the episodes since the one-liners tend to wear thin after more than one completion.

Being English, I didn’t expect that Sam and Max would appeal to me…but somewhere it did, I can’t quite put my finger on how or where, but it has a charm to it that’s delightful to watch and the gameplay is simple, yet fun. It’s hard not to recommend this comedy gem of gaming. I’ve never laughed so hard at a game since Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Sam is the anti-Conker, while Max makes Conker look like a creampuff.

Visually, the game doesn’t push the Wii far but it has a great style to it with its characters and locations. Characters are simply memorable by their lines and appearance, not how many polygons make them up. The voice-acting is great with a ton of hilarious dialogue to listen to. It’s not to everyone’s tastes of course, but it does a good job to please fans.

The Verdict

A few minor problems with the conversion holds Sam and Max Season One back from being a must-have Wii title. Instead, it’s more a case of “If you can’t get it for PC, then get it for Wii”. In either case, any gamer with a sense of humour needs to try this series out.