Author: Gabriel Vega
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/summun_mak/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
With an evil general bent on conquering the universe now pushed aside, the freelance police inspect the mystery behind their skeletal doppelgangers. Season 3 of The Devils Playhouse has brought many twists and turns; today we look at a new toy that throws the duo into their ancestors’ footsteps in a time forgotten. Using a toy projector, the narrative in the story switches back to an age forgotten with mysteries from the far-east invading theaters. In this case players gain insight on the toy chest, finding out where the journey for the Devils Toy box began with the ancestors to Sam & Max. With Maximus holding the same psychic ability as Max, the case takes on new avenues with unique toys.
For those wondering, the entire story line takes place in the past; the projector that Max comes across is able to throw them into the back story of how the box came into their lives. With four active reels to choose from and a story to patch together, the mixing and matching will have players tangled. We sank into the latest installment, eager to find out the mystery behind the skeletal remains and the untold power of the box. For those jumping into the game, the progression is much faster; the scenes guide players with a heavier hand to help them move through each challenge. When stumped, Sam will often suggest key points to help move the story forward without giving away the strategy behind the game.
Psychic powers are back; this time the featured powers for saving the day are the projector toy, a can of peanuts and a talking doll. The idea of relying on toys could have grown old, but the team at Telltale Games pushed forward and kept the diversity by making sure the duo didn’t have the tools overlap. The projector is the first tool for this purpose, allowing the story to skip large spans at any moment to recover any information needed; the peanuts allow for hiding beyond regular disguise techniques, getting them through guarded areas with ease; the talking doll allows for Maximus to project commands through any vessel he’s within range of, giving total control over key NPCs.
In the span of a month, Telltale Games has delivered an easier experience while introducing a new play mechanic that pushes the first episode to the side. Using the projector is straightforward but it needs some experimentation and memory to be able to pair the right pieces of information together. We found that going through all the reels right away gave us status markers on where to reference as we hit hurdles in the first chapters. Through persistence we tackled each challenge quickly and managed to abuse Maximus’ psychic power with the NPCs planted in each area.
In the visuals department, we found the same consistency in the engine; the textures come with crisp details and vibrant color. The modeling for the newer characters had some refinement, giving added details to their clothing and facial features. We do not expect many changes as the series grows, given the engine needs adjustment for every platform. It is reassuring to see the team is willing to push the polygon count while keeping performance in mind for the end user. For those who already started with The Penal Zone, The Tomb of Sammun-Mak continues the visual quality expected at this point.
For adventure fans, The Tomb of Sammun-Mak keeps the mind guessing at every turn. Players will struggle and tear away at the films to find the key pieces that uncover how the Devils Toybox came into the spotlight and all the mystery that surrounds it. We’re just getting our feet wet and it looks like the fate of the world might be at stake; evil power is drawing danger close and only the freelance police can stop it. We feel that new players will recognize the design of the engine as it allows even the most inexperienced player to grasp the controls and move forward.
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