If there has been a duo that has been since the 80s that is still popular today, who do you think? Would it be someone from the music, the movies, or even a series? What about a duo that had the one-liners to make you crack a smile as you tried to solve whatever mysteries may come their way. I am talking none other than the Freelance Police duo of Sam & Max. But throughout their run either through comics, an animated series, or the series of video games, the gameplay has always been that flat screen type of experience. While fun and entertaining, I have always felt that they needed a reality lift. So does developer HappyGiant do the series in the right way? Let’s find out with Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and coming to PCVR and PSVR.
Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual has our duo as the Freelance Police in their never-ending quest to slap the stupid grin off the face of evil. If you are new to the series or perhaps, it’s been a while since you played a Sam & Max game and forgot who might be who, Sam is the dog who happens to wear a suit and a hat and Max, is the naked rabbit partner. They are continuing with their comical wise-cracking one-liners as they are looking for some new recruits to join their team. But it won’t be easy as Sam needs to make sure you have what it takes and Max really wants to make sure you have what it takes regardless of the harm it may cause you (in a fun way). So to do this, you will have to pass a series of courses per se, where anything can and will happen as you embark on this journey with them.
So before you get all ready to save the town and any other dimensions that may come along, there are some things you will need to do. First, have a seat or stand or even try and play laying down (not sure about that last one as I didn’t try, but it might be possible). Second, embrace the humor and get ready to have a good time. Third, please make sure your Oculus Quest/Quest 2 headset and the extended battery are charged (if you have it). It happened to me as I forgot to charge and you really don’t want that to be the cause of you having to take a break. Fourth, go into the settings and turn on subtitles (I will explain a little later). And finally, I am not going to reveal too much as you should experience this for yourself. With all that said, let’s continue.
So as you can see, there is already chaos as we have a 5 headed monster trying to attack the city. So there will be times will you will have to dodge what any enemy is throwing at you as well as taking aim at them with randomly well-placed weapons and ammo that just happen to be laying there for your convenience. This, however, does give you a small taste of what to expect along with puzzles that will need to be solved, and of course those series of courses that you will be graded on how well you did, so try and do your best.
The gameplay is a mix of mini-games of the courses that you trying to complete. Things like defusing bombs that are in heads and doing a series of actions in the right order to defuse them. Some puzzles that need to be completed are not as simple as just seeing the object, but you have to listen to what Sam & Max are saying. If you happen to get a little stuck, HappyGiant did include a hints options that should help you along the way (if you really need it). Some stages will include a boss or two where you might have to find certain objects and combine them in order to defeat them. But sometimes the puzzles like in the escape room, for example, may have some stumped a little too much Sometimes what is said or even in the hints option is not as clear and it shouldn’t be. You need to think just a little bit as it is part of the fun Again, not going to give a lot away, but listen to what is being said and it should help you get to where you need to go.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Being in the world of Sam & Max is a complete joy. The world is full of colors that are really easy on the eyes and being in stages like the supermarket and just walking up and down the aisles and seeing the hidden details that were put in just added that smile like Mike’s Holy Water. Sound for the most part was at the right levels and hearing the comedy between these two was pure joy. Plus, if you can have a quote of R.E.M. in there, that’s a bonus. It’s the things that you hear that fans of old and new should appreciate and enjoy.
There are a few things that I hope to get updated by the time the other platforms are released. For one, sound. Earlier, I mentioned going into settings and turning on subtitles. The reason for this is in the latter part of the game, Sam’s voice would go out. So if it was not for the subtitles, there very well could have been a loss of what to do. And Second, for those that may get frustrated by puzzles, and no matter what you listen to what is being said and still may be at a loss, it is great that there is that hint option, but maybe add are really sure that you want the solution. A whole amount of Sam & Max one-liners could be added to the fun just for this purpose.
Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual brings the laughs and the fun of what is expected out of a long-running franchise and brings it into Virtual Reality. It shows that we don’t have to always have violence and zombies to have fun in VR. Sometimes it is the simpler things in life that make it all worthwhile.
Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual is out now for Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on the Oculus Store and will be to Steam and Viveport in the Summer of 2021 and to PlayStation VR in early 2022. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see if I can improve my game of Fizzball.