The Freelance Police are back for another round of hijinks and bizarre detective work. Picking up shortly after the events of last season, Sam & Max Season Two: Beyond Time and Space consists of five new self-contained episodes that combine to reveal a season-long plot arc much like the previous season. While this round of adventures will take the dog and psychotic rabbity-thing to the North Pole, Easter Island, a vampire’s castle, a time-traveling elevator, and even the depths of Hell itself they will also spend a good deal of time in more familiar locations. In fact, if you played the first season many of the locations will be extremely familiar: Sam and Max’s office, Sybil’s, and Bosco’s Inconvenience Store will all feature in just about every episode, as will a surprisingly large portion the cast of characters encountered last season. Of course there are new characters and locations as well — mostly the recently re-opened Stinky’s Diner and its new owner.
The mechanics of the game are pretty much identical to the first season. The engine is clearly proven, so why mess with it other than to maybe speed up load times a bit? There is one neat new feature, however: a built-in (and adjustable) hint system. When the game detects you spinning your wheels for a long enough time, Max will pipe in with a comment to point you in the right direction. This can range from vague hints (“I’m bored here; let’s go somewhere else!”) to fairly specific (“I’m feeling… experimental”) and is a welcome addition even for point-and-click veterans.
There isn’t really much more to say. If you enjoyed Season One then Season Two seems like an obvious purchase, and it carries the same bargain price right out of the gate. If you’re not a fan then the new stuff probably won’t win you over. The only real question is complete newcomers; given the amount of in-jokes and references (including outright spoilers) to the first season I don’t recommend starting with Season Two. Do the legwork to track down the first season and give that a try first, then come back for this one when you’re done.
Plays like: Season One
Pros: The same solid humor and puzzling, with some better load times than the first season.
Cons: You really need to know the first season to appreciate all of the jokes and references in this one