Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space

October 21, 2009 by Jeff Barker  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade


Title: Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space

Release Date: 14th October 2009

Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games

Genre: Action & Adventure, Puzzle & Trivia

Platform[s]: Xbox Live Arcade


Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space is the follow up to Sam & Max Save The World, the undeniably well-received rehash of LucasArts’ classic point and click adventure series. Consisting of five brand new episodes centred around Alien abduction, Christmas and Easter, Beyond Time and Space carries on the classic Sam & Max tradition of zany humour and off the wall puzzles as everyone’s favourite Dog/Rabbit combination continue to carry out their esoteric brand of personalized criminal justice…


Fans of Save The World will be pleased to know that Telltale Games have left the control system well alone, meaning that the same sublime, easy to use interface is still all present and correct. This means moving your cursor (cleverly designed as Sam’s hand) over objects and NPC’ s and interacting with them via a push of the A button. Some objects are collectible (which then usually end up being combined with some other obscure item), while most are just there for Sam or Max to make some random (and regularly laugh out loud funny) comment on. When interacting with the other colourful characters in the S&M cast, a dialogue box containing a range of amusing and off the wall questions and statements will appear. Some are useless, while others must be selected in exactly the right sequence in order to progress, and it’s here that the game begins to slip up a little.


The meat and bones of any decent adventure game are its puzzles, and again, Sam & Max has them in spades – ranging from the obvious to the downright unbelievable, we guarantee you will spend many a frustrating hour trying every single combination of object; retracing your steps and scouring every room just in case you missed something beforehand. Anyone who played the first game will know the kind of off the wall humour and puzzles a Sam & Max adventure will bring, while new players may struggle getting to grips with the regularly too-big-for-it’s-boots dialogue and twisted reasoning behind a large portion of the brain teasers on offer. Obviously pre-empting this (and perhaps from listening to feedback from the first game), Telltale have dropped in a number of amusing min-games to keep you occupied and break up the clicking action while pondering your next move. From driving sections to Whack-A-Rat, these are a welcome and fun distraction when you’re totally stumped with the main game, but potentially risk conjuring up that tagged-on feeling in diehard Sam & Max aficionados.


Bouncy and cartoony in style, Beyond Time and Space retains the stylized visuals running throughout the entire universe, capturing the comic book feel superbly. Lip-synching is a sore point, as not much effort has been put into making the cast “speak” their dialogue, but most of the time you won’t really mind as the whole thing just looks so damned beautiful.



As before, all the characters in Sam & Max are voiced wonderfully – and no expense has been spared in delivering another snappy set of scripts, which beggars belief as to how the writers manage to come up with this stuff in the first place, and just how much they’ve got stored in their locker for future releases. A minor complaint (if you must have one) is the quality of some of the speech is a bit “bitty” in places, sounding like a dodgy mp3 file played through a bad sound system.

Overall Score and Replayability

Fans of the series will love Beyond Time and Space, as it delivers the same insane puzzling action and characterization as before, and offers a good 20+ hours of gameplay across the five episodes. The fact that the overall package doesn’t bring anything new won’t make much of a difference to those fans, but in this age of accessible achievement points and all too easy gameplay, some people may just be put off by the 1600MSP price tag.