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Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Review

Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Review

They've already saved the world in their last adventure, now the canine/lagomorph duo return to save the universe in Sam and Max: Beyond Time and Space. With Alien Santa, evil triangles, and even Satan himself to contend with this time, there's certainly plenty to get your nasty big pointy teeth into. 

Originally released as the second season of Telltale's episodic Sam and Max reboot, this Skunkape remastering is the second title featuring the titular duo to get a new coat of paint. It's available for Xbox and Windows, but this review focuses on the Switch version — reason being that is the one I played.

As before, there's no real change to the gameplay in this version, it's just a bit smoother and prettier. The usual third-person view with point-and-click interaction returns, and Sam and Max are just as acerbically charming as always. The action takes place throughout the world, and the locations get more absurd and over-the-top as time goes on, just like you would expect from a Sam and Max title.

sam and max beyond space and time screenshot 1 

The most immediately obvious improvements are to the game's graphics. Whilst the last entry was a more subtle upgrade, Skunkape has gone to town this time with much more detail and some very nice lighting effects. One thing that was instantly noticeable was the addition of environmental effects such as falling snow when you are outside at The North Pole. It's not that the game wasn't nice looking before, just that there are lots of little additional details now. 

It's not just the graphics that have been given a touch of spit and polish though: the sound has been overhauled too. Most of the audio is original but has been used in a less compressed form compared to the original. This leads to a richer and cleaner sound for both the speech and music. There are tonnes of new music tracks added too, with music reuse between series one and two dramatically reduced. Many of the original musicians return, including Jared Emerson-Johnson, who wrote the new tracks.

Ogie Banks provides what I thought was a second great performance as Bosco, but this time round Skunkape hasn’t taken the opportunity to tweak the script when lines were rerecorded. The decision to change a few "of their time" jokes was seen as controversial in the eyes of some fans for episode one, so this time Bosco's lines are identical bar the delivery. Personally, I didn’t feel that any of the lines have aged particularly badly here so I agree with the decision to leave them, although I also don’t really feel that it was a bad thing that the company chose to refresh a portion of the script last time round either. It’s their game, and we still have the originals anyway so, personally, I was never fussed. My apologies to anyone who was hoping for a hot take.

sam and max beyond space and time screenshot 4

I mentioned in my review of the first remaster that I would have loved motion control, and that still applies here. The PC control options are greater (the original was mouse and keyboard control only) but the Switch's unique control possibilities haven't been utilised once again. I do like one particular quality of life improvement that has been added, which is the fact that collectibles are now easier to obtain after each episode is complete. Historically, if you wanted to collect all the decals available for the dynamic duo’s car, you had to 100% the episode. If you missed any, you would have to replay the whole episode, but now you can go back into previously completed episodes just for the purposes of collecting your missing decals. It’s a small change, but it’s a very welcome one in my opinion.

Just like the first remastering (and I assume like the third will be), this is more of an evolution than a revolution, and let’s be honest: with a relatively small amount of time between the first release and now, there was never going to be some huge epoch-changing update. The original version had great sound and actually pretty good visuals for the time, the writing and voice acting was spot-on, and it was a genuinely fun title. By cleaning things up a bit, Skunkape has succeeded in making them closer to Steve Purcell’s original designs. That was all that was needed, given that Sam and Max: Beyond Time and Space was so great to begin with. If you didn’t play the originals then this is a must-buy, if you did, then it’s just a prettier version of a game that you may well want to replay anyway. 

sam and max beyond space and time screenshot 3

8.50/10 8½

Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Another great remastering of an already-great title. There isn’t too much new here, but it looks lovely and minor quality of life improvements make the difference. If you haven’t got the original then this is one to pick up and if you have it’s still worth it to play it at its best.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review

Gary "Dombalurina" Sheppard

Staff Writer

Gary maintains his belief that the Amstrad CPC is the greatest system ever and patiently awaits the sequel to "Rockstar ate my Hamster"

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