Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered Review (PC): A Piece Of Cake

A rat with Tourettes, time-travelling mariachis and disco vampires. Just another episode for the Freelance Police in Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered.

We’re back, it’s season two of Sam and Max: Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered. No doubt you’ve played this on PC or console before, but now it’s been brought to whatever year this is by Skunkape.

They’ve done another fantastic job revitalising the antics of the immortal Freelance Police. If you’re interested in what’s new, read the announcement on Steam. You don’t need to have played the previous season, but it helps as there’s a deluge of in-jokes and references.

Sam and Max have an uncanny ability to get the most absurd cases, and they’re forever callous to the world around them. In a good way, of course. In these five episodes, we’ll battle Santa, go to Easter Island, face off against a disco vampire, time travel and go to Hell. A typical day at the office?

Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered - Gun
He’s got a gun! Source: Screen capture

Coincidentally, the office and immediate area serve as the hub to your adventures in Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered, with each episode adding a unique location. Irrespective of the relatively restrictive locations, each tale is self-contained, and you’d be wise to pay attention to all clues, dialogue and familiarise yourself with everything.

Unlike a Sierra point and click, you can’t die, but you can fail during dialogue trees – even repeating setpieces if you aren’t quick enough. These aren’t remotely game-breaking, but Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered is illogical. Some of the solutions make no sense (did I miss an ‘n’), and there will be periods of clicking everything in vain.

During my time with Sam and Max, I realised how enchanted I am with them and have concluded that they’re one of my all-time favourite duos. Their banter is insane – it’s like each is an extension of the other. Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered is incredibly witty and well-written. It’s fair to say that I felt I was interacting with a Saturday morning cartoon, assisted by excellent editing. 

Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered - Dead
Braaaaaiiiiinsss! Source: Screen capture

The camera angles add to that fluidity. On occasion, the position will shift when you re-enter a room, and the choice of shots are dynamic and compelling. It never feels like a stagnant shot, nor does it overdo it with ‘creative freedom’ and recollected days of NYPD “I’m gonna puke” Blue. Ask your grandad. Also, ask him who Paris Hilton is as the in-game reference felt out of place in 2021 despite her still walking these plains.

There’s no word count on this Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered review, but it’d border on excessive if I keep saying how good the pair is, the improved visuals and how the game made me feel while playing it. But it’s not all peachy as it could have done without the mini-games. They’re mostly optional if you want achievements, but they’re unnecessary filler.

Dashing about in the DeSoto is a chore after the first couple of runs, and it becomes apparent you have to do it in each episode. That can be overlooked as it doesn’t take much time, but one balancing game was totally out of place and frustrating – again, it’s a very brief experience but could have been done without it. And, while we’re having a moan, Sam could get his act together when inspecting an item – he dawdles about into a designated position before giving off one of his signature lines.

Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered - The end
The end? Source: Screen capture

But it’s that classic “I ain’t mad atcha” scenario: I love these guys so much, and their interactions with one another and the way they speak to NPCs is consistently funny. It won’t be for everyone. If the two bother you in the opening ten minutes, you’ll be heading for Hell before episode five. And yes, you can drop into an episode out of sync, but why do that? They all roughly linked to one another, the beginning of each a continuation of the last.

Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Remastered has further anchored my admiration for this pair. Their repartee won’t be for everyone, but for me, it never got old, and I’d happily play another dozen of episodes without hesitation. As long as we can ditch the mini-games and hear more from Timmy Two-Teeth, the dirty rat.