The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Sam & Max enjoys a cult following for the pair's sense of humor, and that's a good thing for an adventure game, since elements like humor or storyline add some weight to the physically mundane tasks of pointing and clicking. When the laughter dies and some of the jokes fall flat, however, Sam & Max teeters as its gameplay is unable to support much interest for some stretches.
The game doesn't veer much from the standard point-and-click adventure genre formula of navigating static environments collecting useful items and searching for clues. This means you spend lots of time running around trying to interact with whatever you can to solve puzzles. The problems I have with this title's puzzles start with the trial-and-error variety and continue with some puzzles that you wouldn't know the answer to until you exhaust all your options. In other words, at times you're trying to solve a puzzle you don't necessarily know is a puzzle or whose start point is a little outside the boundaries of logic.
Thankfully, at other times the game lets the player simply enjoy or create their own fun outside of puzzle solving, such as the sheer amount of dialogue that has been recorded for the characters for you to enjoy. You can even make up your own lyrics for a song on a show called ''Embarrassing Idol.''
Some memories are cherished because they are a part of your past. That doesn't always mean they are good ones, however. This game is enjoyable in limited contexts – whether you're a Sam & Max fan or more just after an old fashioned adventure game with occasional good laughs. Unfortunately, that's too many caveats to make Sam & Max an adventure truly worth recommending.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
This isn't easy for me. I've been a fan of adventure games for my entire gaming life, and the original Sam & Max is a classic. But this collection of cases is painfully uneven. While the script contains a lot of jokes, most of them can't really be called ''humor.'' Random and funny aren't always the same thing, which is a distinction the game fails to make on all but a few occasions. The puzzles fare much better; the fun and inventive solutions outnumber the frustrating and obtuse ones. With its point-and-click interface, the Wii is a good home for Sam & Max, but I wouldn't say the adventure genre is out of the morgue quite yet.