Sam & Max Save The World

August 18, 2009 by Jeff Barker  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade


Title: Sam & Max Save The World
Release Date: 17th June 2009
Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games/Xbox Live Arcade
Genre: Action & Adventure, Puzzle & Trivia
Platform[s]: Xbox Live Arcade

Sam & Max are a cartoon Dog and Rabbit, originally introduced to gamers back in 1993 by the once mighty Lucasarts Studio – home to The Secret of Monkey Island franchise and the awesome Day of the Tentacle. Those old enough to remember those halcyon point and click days will smile fondly at the memories and perhaps wince a little at Telltale Games more recent attempt to bring the genre to console gamers, while all the youngsters out there will wonder just what the great interest in a cartoon Dog and Rabbit is all about anyway. Sam is a 6ft tall hound wearing a suit and a fedora, while Max is a “hyperkinetic rabbity thing”, together solving completely off the wall and bizarre crimes as The Freelance Police and handing out their own, similarly bizarre form of justice. Sam & Max Save The World originally debuted on the PC as an episodic series of six completely bonkers adventures, all of which are included here in one handy dandy XBLA package – and at 1600 MS Points, you can’t say fairer than that.



Developed by Telltale Games (the fellows behind Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures), Sam & Max actually sticks to the point and click format, with a cursor version of Sam’s hand on screen, controlled with the left stick as you would with a mouse. Scan the cursor over the random objects on screen, hit A to select something and Sam will wander over and comment on it, pick it up or talk to it. X brings up your inventory and that’s pretty much it – amazing how such a fuss has been previously made over introducing a mouse-driven genre to console controllers when Telltale have managed it with such ease here. Another interesting addition are the driving sections, serving as a minor distraction in some cases and a particularly random puzzle solution in others, the dynamic duo hurtle down city streets, randomly firing off shots and abusing other road users with a megaphone. It’s this sort of completely screwball and irreverent humour that sets Sam & Max apart from any other game out there, dark in places and just downright ridiculous in others, fleshed out with the kind of cartoon violence not seen since Tom last got battered by Spike the dog. Refreshing as this kind of humour is though, it is also the game’s one and only drawback, as you really have to throw caution to the wind and forget everything you know before playing – and there is a danger that some gamers just won’t get it, perhaps finding themselves stuck at the first hurdle because the solution to a puzzle may be one that is so totally unobvious that you end up descending into a frustrating game of trial and error for hours on end or listening to the same dialogue over and over again for some sort of clue. Thankfully, Telltale Games have full walkthroughs available for all episodes on their website, although we do urge you to only use them in extreme circumstances! But for those “in the mode” you will find Sam & Max distinctly rewarding as they pinball from one ridiculous situation to the next, often adding fuel to the fire with their own “esoteric brand of personalised criminal justice”.


Graphically, you can’t fault Sam & Max. The world they inhabit is a lush and interesting one, and Telltale have really hit the nail on the head with the look and feel of the S&M universe – all of the characters are superbly animated and realised, with Max particularly spot on in his devilish, care free demeanour as he bounces around the screen menacing the NPCs.



The sound was always going to be the deciding factor with this game, and from the minute the opening sequence begins fans of the series will breathe a big sigh of relief as Sam & Max (and indeed all the characters) are voiced magnificently. One liners are delivered with pinpoint accuracy and timing, complimented by a selection of mock 1950’s crime caper music running throughout, and no character feels out of place or hackneyed in any way.

Overall Score & Replayability

All in all, Sam & Max Save the World is an awesome package – some may sniff at the 1600 Point price tag but we really cannot encourage you enough to part with your hard earned cash for it. The cartoon Dog and Bunny are thoroughly endearing and charming characters, the puzzles will fry your brain and drive you mad but you will find yourself laughing all the way. DOWNLOAD IT!!! NOW!!! And if that doesn’t work, I’m gonna torture your ears!!!