Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 3

The series gets better as it goes on.

Sam and Max continue their romp on the Playstation Network with “They Stole Max’s Brain!” This is by far Telltale’s best entry this season, and makes for a streamlined, hilarious entry into the series. It adds a new element right off the bat that is the coolest thing I have seen them do, and doesn’t let up from there.

When we last left this dynamic duo, they were trying to solve the riddle of Sammun-Mak, and nearly cracked the case. Before they Sam knew what hit him, Max’s head had been popped open, and his brain stolen. We pick up again right where we left off, and Sam is ridiculously angry. He goes on a manhunt to find out what happened to his “little buddy”, and ends up determining who stole the brain, and why. This leads them on a wild ride through museums, back alleys, and they even return to some old places seen in previous episodes. All in all, it is once again a very interesting tale.

The manhunt that begins this tale offers up a new gameplay element in the interrogation system. With normal conversations in Sam and Max, you choose from a selection of choices, and let the dialogue play out. In the interrogation scenes, you can interrupt at any time, and if you catch the other person off guard, you can extort information from them. This system is really slick, and allows for a much more serious and darker theme for the beginning of this episode, while still sliding in some comedy bits to balance things out.

Other than this new system, the gameplay is unchanged as a whole, which is kind of a bummer. They have had some cool ideas with the psychic toy powers, and it always would be good to see more, but it’s not a necessity. Some of the psychic items that you have been using up till now are fleshed out a bit more in this episode, such as the rhinoplasty, which allows you to change into various objects. The gameplay as a whole still stands strong, and the addition of this interrogation system is really a nice touch.

There a few cool and interesting new settings this time around and the scenery changes up over the course of this episode nicely. I particularly liked the set up toward the end of the episode, where familiar settings you knew from earlier in the season is changed in drastic ways. They are getting really good and mixing things up between acts, and not having you looks at the same scenery for three to four hours. The overall voice acting is spot on as it has been, delivering great, hilarious lines at the right moment. Presentation wise, the game stands with the rest in terms of quality.

Overall, this episode did a good job in rejuvenating me into the series. The previous two episodes got the series off to a good start, but after the last one, I had a hard time getting excited because the puzzles were starting to become too difficult for me to handle. However, this episode did a good job of keeping them a little simpler, with a few brainteasers hidden in there periodically. This by far the best episode this season and now they have me really intrigued to see what happens next for these two unlikely heroes.

Review copy provided by publisher.

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Jeff is a full-time student and has a disorder where he constantly trades in all his games to buy new ones, and then buys the older ones back. We are looking into getting him his own padded room.