XBLA Review: Sam and Max: Save the World

The XBLA version reminder that webcams taste like chicken and the first glimpses of my gametag characters

I must have played the first season of Sam and Max a ton of times now. I played it 3-5 times on PC, once on the Wii and now a chance to play all 6 episodes emerges on XBLA. Is the platform right for the franchise and do the jokes still hold up?
Well first of all, it’s hard to recommend Save the World to those who have already own a version of the season already…but if you have missed out on Sam and Max’s latest adventures, then now is the time to get into it. Save the World is essentially the same, but it’s been re-mastered in HD and Widescreen (A feature missing from the original even today) and comes with 12 lovely achievements to earn. I got all mine in a day, just because I knew what to do in the episodes…but if you have no clue, then the whole package could take you some time to do.

There are a few disappointing moments when it comes to presentation. There’s the odd framerate drop, a bit of voice-acting will repeat itself. Its temporary problems like this which hold the game back, especially considering its running on the 360…you wouldn’t imagine these problems to emerge. I can overlook them because I wanted the achievements and another chance to play through Season One, but newcomers may be put off by these issues.

Then there’s how the game controls. It’s classic of a point and click adventure game for a console, you move the cursor around with the left analog stick and tap A to move where you wish. X opens your inventory and that’s more or less all there is to it. It’s simple and while it’s easier to use a mouse to play the game on the PC, the XBLA version’s controls aren’t too bad. It could perhaps have done with a bit of tweaking, but overall it’s hard to complain about them.
Both my gamertag characters make some appearance in Save the World. So if you always wondered why I’m called Agent Superball or Maimtron 9000 on Xbox Live, you’ll find out soon enough. Although, you see much more of the latter in Season Two, which is also coming to XBLA in the form of “Beyond Time and Space” which is a much better season overall. Having said that, the first season was great to kick the series back off and Telltale learned so much from it.

Each episode takes only a few hours to do, and even less if you know what you are doing. The humour of Sam and Max really comes down to a matter of taste, it’s not to everyone’s liking…but I personally love it. You’ll become quite acquainted with the characters in the series like Bosco and Sybil, then there’s Sam and Max themselves who are obviously the stars. You do only get to control Sam, but mainly because Max is incapable of control and it wouldn’t make much sense if you could. Although I do wonder if Telltale changes that when it comes to Season 3? Whenever that emerges, that is…

The Verdict

Some might think that 1600 Microsoft Points is a lot for an XBLA game. But Sam and Max: Save the World is 6-in-1 and is definitely value for money. Sure it doesn’t offer a lot of replay value when you are done with it, but it’s unforgettable the first time round and anyone who has missed out on the series thus far needs to get into it now.