The six foot tall dog and bunny-looking duo of Sam and Max return to PSN in Episode Two of the season The Devil’s Playhouse. Telltale brings the funny once again, and creates even more laughs than in the first episode of the season. However, some old problems still linger and can once again cause some frustration for the player.
Starting off with the cliffhanger from the pervious episode, the two crack detectives’ don’t really star in this episode as they did in the first one. Instead, their great, great grandparents, Sameth and Maximus are the ones you will be controlling throughout this journey. Sameth and Maximus are on the hunt for the Devil’s Toybox, the main item from the first episode, but back when it was originally conceived. They have to travel to the Tomb of Sammun-Mak to snag the toy box, and they meet interesting characters as well as returning ones from previous seasons along the way.
The story of this second episode is a lot better than the first one, and is also more interesting. The characters are more enjoyable, and urge you to pay attention to them more. I particularly liked the character of Baby Emilia Earhart, who was over the top funny. The story wraps up nicely once again but with another cliffhanger, and warrants you to stick around for the next installment.
The gameplay is unchanged from the previous episode in most aspects, with new psychic powers for Max (or Maximus) being the main draw here. The new psychic toy powers are very well done once again, with the most interesting one here being the ventriloquist dummy, which allows to teleport your voice into various inanimate objects. The gameplay this time is more streamlined, leaving a lot less downtime between puzzles. Overall the gameplay is very interesting, and can be very diverse; however, this is where my main problem once again arises.
I have a very hard time in these games figuring out what I have to do. Once I find the solution, it is often something so obscure, I say to myself: “how did they expect me to think of that?” This is where I think the main problem of point and click adventure games lies, is that they are not very marketable to everyone. Not everyone can pick up and play them and have a good time. Granted, this does not take a way from how good this series is, because I do find these games to be enjoyable, but at times it can be very overly frustrating. It is worth it to still give Sam and Max a shot, but you will definitely want to start with episode one.
The graphics of this episode once again are similar to episode one, in that they are very good. The character models look good, and the environments are even more detailed this time around. They take a new turn with some of the character models that I really like, such as the vampire elves and again Baby Emilia Earhart. The dialogue is still laugh out loud hilarious, and continues to be the standard of a good comedy game. You can tell once again the writers know how to get you at the right moment with an outrageous punch line.
Overall, the second episode of the saga of Sam and Max improves on the first in many ways. It’s funnier, more clever and a better paced episode than the first and Telltale is seemingly ramping it up as they go along. As mentioned, there are still problems with the difficulty of the game, which I believe should be addressed in the future. However, I still cannot wait for the third installment just to see what kind of ridiculous situations this dynamic duo gets themselves into next.
Review copy provided by publisher.