Game Review: Sam & Max: Season One (Wii)

Sam & Max aren’t your regular police force…they’re the Freelance Police. Sam is a no-nonsense dog detective and his pal Max is a hyperkinetic rabbity thing. For more than 20 years they’ve been serving their brand of justice on the pages of underground comic books, on a Saturday morning cartoon, and in some popular computer adventure games. Now they’re ready to take on the Nintendo Wii with all six hilarious episodes of their Season One adventures from the PC.


Sam & Max: Season One is a series of point and click episodic adventures mixed with tons of their madcap and irreverent brand of humor. You’ll guide the duo around various locals, gathering clues and items to use elsewhere to progress the story. And interrogate folks to collect more info on the current case. It’s a great formula and will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike, as it’s easy to get into.

Instead of using a PC mouse to move a cursor, you’ll aim the Wii remote at the screen to guide the pointer around. It’s a bit slower, but equally more fitting as it’s like you’re pointing a remote at a TV airing the funniest sitcom in years. Actually, in my opinion, it’s better than most of the trash on TV nowadays anyway. So Sam & Max’s adventures really do feel right at home on the Wii.

Sam & Max: Season One will be pretty familiar with fans of the PC version, because it’s the exact same game. So if you’ve already played it on the PC, you may not have as much reason to buy it again. As with other point and click adventures, there’s not a whole lot of replay value here, but it’s just so gosh darn funny you might want to go through it again anyway. Even though Sam & Max is a one player game, having a few friends over to watch can be helpful as a new pair of eyes can sometimes help solve particularly tricky puzzles. Really the only problem with the game is that, like most other point and click adventures, sometimes you can get stuck forever on a tough logic-defying puzzle. But hey, that’s what the Internet is for, right?

All joking aside, really good third party Wii games are few and far between. But Sam & Max: Season One is right up there with other third party Wii greats like Zack and Wiki. Best of all, it’s only 30 bucks or less at stores, which is a great price for Wii software. A definite 5 out of 5 star must-buy for Wii owners.

Kid Factor:
Sam & Max: Season One is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, and Use of Tobacco. The use of alcohol and tobacco are minor and not glorified or anything. But you do use a bottle of vodka as a ‘truth serum.’  And the mild language is VERY mild, I think I only heard ‘ass’ once or twice. Everything else is bleeped out.  Of course the game is chock full of crude humor and cartoon violence, but if you are OK with your kids watching The Simpsons, they’ll be OK with the Sam & Max game, too. Reading skill isn’t necessary, as the game is fully voiced by talented voice actors (and the jazz soundtrack is pretty snazzy, too). Of course, kids will need a wacky sense of logic to solve some of those puzzles!

Sam and Max often brandish guns in the game, heck, they’re packing heat right on the cover. But they don’t use their guns to kill, only to solve wacky puzzles. Like plugging holes in cheese to make fake Swiss bribes for a rat. Or to shoot a taillight off a car so the Freelance Police can pull them over to collect a fine for a false crime.

OK, OK, so maybe Sam & Max still aren’t the best kid role models. But even though it’s rated T for Teen, I’d probably let kids a little younger than that play Sam & Max. With some adult supervision, of course. But if you want a fun point and click adventure on the Wii that’s a little less raunchy, then you’re in luck, as TellTale Games also makes a fun downloadable WiiWare episodic game called Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People, based on the popular Homestar Runner Web cartoon. It’s a little more raunchy than SpongeBob, but tamer than The Simpsons.

And for more point and clicking fun, read my previous blog here.

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