The big deal about The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is that nearly every set was designed specifically for this one episode. In the past Telltale Games has reused sets and characters to help keep the speedy development cycle on track. Apparently that's not the case with this episode, because I didn't recognize a single reused set. At one point we go back to the intersection of Straight and Narrow (where Sam & Max have an office), but it's in the early 1900s and uses all new assets. The rest of the adventure takes us inside a creepy theater, to an Egyptian pyramid and on the train ride from hell. All of these areas are brand new and full of the kind of detail you expect from Telltale.
As I mentioned in the last episode, this season of Sam & Max has an interesting new control scheme. Instead of just pointing and clicking, The Devil's Playhouse has you holding the mouse buttons to run around. You can also use the keyboard to move the character around, but I have found the mouse works just as well. Because so much of this episode involved you in closed in areas, I found this new style of control to be difficult to use. It was far too easy to get the character stuck on a wall or unmovable object. It's a shame that you can't go back to the traditional control scheme; I would have preferred it in this situation.
Thankfully everything else about the game is top-notch. Telltale did an excellent job of demonstrating their new graphic engine with a bunch of cool new locations to explore, some fun familiar faces and a story that is actually challenging this time around. I also love the writing, which seems to get better with each episode. And then there's that twist ending, which will have you on pins and needles waiting for the next episode. After playing only two episodes, The Devil's Playhouse is shaping up to be the best Sam & Max season yet.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
The Tomb of Sammun-Mak shows just how ambitious Telltale Games plans on being this season. With a unique narrative structure and a story that actually fills in a lot of back story, this second episode of The Devil's Playhouse is a real winner. And don't forget about the twist ending you'll never see coming!
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