Sam and Max have landed on the PS3. Can these partners match up with the current PlayStation Network offerings? Has this dynamic duo hit its stride, or began to lose its touch. Hit the break for our verdict.
Episode 1 of the Devil’s Playhouse, titled “The Penal Zone”, begins with our freelance police heroes attempting to save the universe from General Skun’Ka’Pe. Skun’Ka’Pe an egotistical and delusional space gorilla on a quest to find the Toys of Power, a source of infinite strength, and Sam has stumbled upon one of the toys giving him the ability to see the future.
Aside from the disorienting beginning with little regard for the back story, the overall narrative flows well. Everything during the course of the episode is explained and additional information is available to those willing to dig deeper. Episode one sports some solid graphics, despite textures with low resolution. The graphics are aided by an interesting looking art style.
While the art style is certainly not original, it makes up for that with charm and character. What stands out the most is the humor. It’s an acquired taste, and leads to some gut-busting laughter. The fantastic use of humor helps raise the narrative to another level. The voice acting is also well done.
More impatient players may become frustrated with the lack of game play in episode one. Most of the game play centers around completing fetch quests and well designed puzzles. The puzzles are completed by obtaining and using the Toys of Powers.
For instance, one toy allows the player to teleport. Multiple people can teleport as long as they are touching Max. This allows for some interesting puzzles that I won’t spoil for you. Most of the puzzles do require some thought and an awareness of what abilities you have obtained. Often times I found myself forgetting the tools I had, struggling to find a solution.
Episode one is not without some serious issues. Loading screens are far too long and are required for simple tasks. For instance, almost each time you enter a building there’s a loading screen. Given how small the areas are this is unacceptable and certainly needs to be addressed in future episodes.
The frame-rate can also dip significantly for no apparent reason. Some animations are very choppy, and audio repeats too often, or cuts out randomly. Despite these issues, Telltale Games has a solid formula to work from.
Episode one took roughly 5 hours to complete. Completionists could squeeze a bit more time out of it, and with the possibility of an additional play through, there’s a lot of value. Sam and Max’s first outing on the PlayStation 3 is very entertaining and an easy recommendation.
It will be interesting to see how the adventure unfolds over the course of 4 more episodes. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be one hilarious adventure.
Score: 7 / 10