Name: Sam and Max Season Two: Ice Station Santa
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Platform: Windows PC
Sam and Max Season One has come and gone and the worries that a new company grabbing the IP would ruin it have been chased out of the room with a Luger. Season One wasn’t without its problems and the biggest test with Season Two was to see if Telltale Games had learned from their follies. Some of the puzzles in the first season, namely towards the finale, became so hard and unfeasible that even looking at a game guide barely helped. There were also some pacing issues and overall plot arc problems that took a little away from an otherwise brilliant game.
For the most part Ice Station Santa is exactly what it needed to be to kick off Sam and Max: Season Two. The game starts off with Sam and Max being attacked by a gigantic robot, assumed to have been sent by the Vice President of the United States of America: Sam and Max’s goldfish Spatula. Upon further investigation it is revealed that it was actually sent by Santa Claus, recently discovered to have been corrupted by an evil demon. Sam and Max must collect the four horsemen of the apocalypse action figures and sing an exorcism song to free Santa from his hellish control.
The plot is silly and fits the game well. It is also a good example of how Telltale plans to make the episodes work together better then the first season. It is filled with foreshadowing that makes it even harder to wait for the rest of the episodes of the season to come. The characters are also improved from the game before with more dialogue options and different fun stuff to do involving them. In Season One the player had similar interactions with the characters throughout the entire season, it looks like Telltale decided that wasn’t enough.
The puzzles are also much improved from the later ones in Season One. The time in-between seasons obviously helped the developers come up with solid ideas that can hopefully last for many episodes. It is obvious that Telltale found what works with the game and stretched out the ideas to more and more hilarious puzzles. From Stinky’s Trivia Contest (Note: Rigged) and making an Elf cry (Note: Elf tears make trees grow) the puzzles continue to get better.
This first installment was longer then expected and felt complete. It does feel like part of a whole which is what Episodic content should be like, and at a length of about 4 hours (depending on how fast you complete the puzzles) Sam and Max Season Two: Ice Station Santa is a fantastic start for the season. At a price of $8.95 this buy is a no brainer, and as the rest of the season rolls out you will not be upset you did.