Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Ep 1 Review

By , on January 31, 2012

Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Ep 1
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • The same sharp writing and vibrant visual style you've come to expect of the series.
  • Additional mini-games to break up the adventure.
  • Universal app; definitely recommended for play on the iPad if you have one.


  • Wheel-scroll item highlight system fails to lock on to objects consistently; too easy to scroll way beyond the point required simply because you lifted your finger to tap.


Control issues aside, Sam & Max Time and Space Ep 1 (Ice Station Santa) loses almost none of its charm on the iOS platform, however it's a much harder sell if you've already taken time in the last 4 years to already finish the game.

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There's an assumption at play here with Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Ep 1 (otherwise known as Ice Station Santa): you need to have not already played it on any of the other platforms it has already been released on, which is no easy thing considering its initial PC release was in late 2007. However, hardcore Sam & Max fans; adventure game enthusiasts; and those not yet introduced to the whacky duo may still find themselves compelled to give this short and sweet title a run for its money.

The titular anthropomorphic detective duo find themselves in yet another sticky situation (after the quirky resolution of Season 1) as Santa himself is acting violent and even attempts to assassinate Sam & Max with a pop-song quoting death machine. As expected the writing remains as sharp and amusing as ever with quips, jokes and gags punctuating almost every action with the kind of casual air you'd expect of those long-familiar with the whacky world they inhabit.

Much like previous titles in the series, the game doesn't hang around for long (clocking in at around 4 hours for those who take their time) meaning you're in and out before you know it and hanging out for the next episode. Sadly there's no real fundamental change in complexity compared to previous titles or the original release and while the hint system is clever and very helpful for those not used to common adventure game tropes, being limited to a handful of areas makes it relatively easy to decipher most puzzles in short order.

While tweaks to the original game have remained in-tact (such as being able to run around the scene instead of slowly walking around), what's far less exciting is the item highlighting system that either requires you to know something can be interacted with and tapped directly, or selected via a horribly inaccurate 'wheel' system that scrolls across items in the scene. Frustratingly the scrolling feels inconsistent and lacks a 'snap' to the things it selects, making it all too easy to scroll right past one of a handful of objects close together and then whisked away to the far side of the screen thanks to a moving object in the scene (often Max).

Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Ep 1 is hard to recommend to those who have already beaten the game on another platform and for those yet to experience Ice Station Santa its amusing writing is offset by an experimental control system that tries, but invariably fails to make life easier. The inclusion of more mini-games may be enough for hardcore fans, but it's still a decent pick up if you've so far avoided the title.


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