Sam & Max Episode 2x01: Ice Station Santa Reader Review
Maybe this will come off more as rant than review but I have some things to get off my chest.
First of all, let me say that I enjoyed this episode. It was frequently funny, showed the same sort of learning curve and progress that Telltale have been on since the first episode with minor and major improvements all around. The design was just a little tighter, the puzzles just a little better. Importantly, while it doesn't have the excellent pacing of another short game - Portal - the story didn't feel rushed through, which is the feeling I got from several past episodes.
Now that those things are out of the way, I have some reservations.
This game is absolutely laden with in jokes. With the start of a new season, Telltale had a great opportunity to ditch all of the stuff that didn't work so well, keep the stuff that did and just generally mix things up. To a certain extent they do, but if I was coming to this game after having missed out on season 1, I'd be completely baffled:
Why is this woman called Sybil dating a giant stone Lincoln head? Why are there a series of dated electronics running a garage? Who are those 3 little guys who are standing outside Santas Workshop and never actually do anything? Why is Max President?
Presumably, with the inclusion of a tutorial, it was Telltale's intention to make the game accessible to absolute newcomers as well as those who enjoyed the last series. I mean ---
--- actually I have to go back to something, for a second... seriously, why on earth did they bring back the Soda Poppers in the first place? I'm not aware of anyone who likes them, even Sam and Max don't like them, and they don't even DO anything. You could completely remove them from the game and it would have no effect whatsoever, so what are they doing there? Similarly, I wonder how much longer they expect to be lugging around that Lincoln head. And how long people are going to be willing to put up with Bosco's antics.
What Telltale still need to learn is how to let things die naturally. It's just about forgivable at the moment, but I fear that if they don't learn this, we're going to get to episode 20 and it'll consist of a series of incongruous reincorporations from the 19 previous episodes that I'm sure will be hilarious for the people who were playing close attention so far but akin to jumping in halfway through a series of Lost for anyone else.
7 / 10