Let’s get started on this Sam and Max VR: This Time It’s Virtual! Review.
What is Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual!?
Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual! Is an Action-Adventure VR game. You will join Sam and Max as their newest police cadet, and solve classic adventure, point and click puzzles(but in 1st person VR), and play carnival-style mini-games utilizing VR to its fullest potential.
Who Makes Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual!?
This Dog and “Hyperkinetic Rabbity Thing” police duo has a long history in video games and comics going all the way back to 1987. They were made into the classic video game, Sam & Max Hit the Road, by Lucas Arts in 1993 and various Telltale games starting in 2006. With Sam and Max coming to VR, much like Puzzle Bobble VR, this is a franchise which has a many-generation video game history.
Which VR Headsets is Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual! Available On?
Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is initially launching on Oculus Quest 2. It will later be available on Steam VR, Viveport, PlayStationVR.
Sam and Max VR Gameplay Review
Sam and Max VR is a blast from the past. These guys have been around a long time and seeing them come to VR when they started with the likes of Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island is really something else. Although to be fair, they did spoof VR in Sam and Max Hit the Road in 1993. 😀
Sam & Max VR is played entirely from a first-person perspective. You live and breathe this cartoon world universe and really feel like you are a character in the actual story.
The entire experience is pretty much exactly like an old-school point-and-click adventure game except, there is no inventory system. You will use your controller hands to pick up objects. At times, Sam and Max feels very similar to Job Simulator, but you move around. You solve puzzles by doing things in a certain order, with the objects in the area you are in.
There is a fair share of shooting targets in this game as well. With rocket launchers, water guns, and lasers of course. Most importantly, the game does not end there.
There are also many different mini games. These range from the typical carnival Strongman game (where you hit the bell up to the top) to various types of obstacle courses that require you to climb across monkey bars, shoot balloons with darts, scale rock walls, or play basketball with hand grenades. I mean this is Sam and Max after all so things are going to be a little weird.
In between the sections of mini-games, you will be tasked with the main storyline and puzzle-solving. These puzzles generally won’t be too difficult but (as any Adventure Game Fan knows) will require you to walk around to determine exactly where the limited objects you can interact with fit into the puzzles in front of you.
The voice acting is great. The dialog is witty, well done, and had me regularly laughing out loud at things. They brought in the creators of the original comic and members of LucasArts to create a world that very much feels like a time long passed. Very well done.
Sam and Max VR Settings
When you start the game they give you a few choices for settings including teleportation movement, snap turning and walking, and playing sitting or standing. There is also a subtitle option. You can also choose the color of your hands which is cute.
I played the majority of this game in the seated position, with analog movement and although I normally play games with subtitles on I felt they were very distracting in this one and kept them off. This brings me to the next very important point…
Some Bugs and Glitches
Sam & Max VR in its current state(pre-release) has a lot of bugs, some of which are game-breaking, and some are just annoying.
Game breaking bug
At one point you will make it into an escape room and you will need to figure out how to escape with the objects in the room. On my first playthrough, I spent a good amount of time in this room and was unable to get any further so I called it a night. The game doesn’t require any saving you just restart the most recent chapter you are in.
The next day when I reloaded the game as I entered the room this time things looked different. There was a toolbox and a lunch box that previously were not visible in the last room. They just didn’t spawn there the first time I played. This time, no problem, they were on the shelf. You need the objects to get out of the escape room, but you won’t even know they are missing. Without these items being visible you cannot proceed any further in the game so that’s pretty disappointing. I reload fixed it for me but will others know the items are missing?
Some Annoying Bugs
As mentioned, I was playing with the seated option. Climbing up a ladder is nearly impossible once you get to the top when playing seated. The game does not allow you to climb over the top part of the ladder to get to the next flat surface so you have to kind of grab and reach and stretch and unfortunately, more than likely you will fall down. This is pretty annoying when you just climbed up 50 rungs of a ladder to get to the top only to fall because the game won’t allow you to stand on the next platform. Eventually, in frustration, I tried climbing with the standing option, and then the top of the ladders was no problem.
I played with the analog walking movement for most of the game. It wasn’t until one of the final chapters where there are floating platforms that it became clear that walking movement was not the preferred choice for the game designers. There was one floating island level you could use to get to higher areas but teleportation onto the tiered levels was a significantly easier option as there is no jump button. I also got behind a portal while walking and couldn’t get out without teleportation. Mix in the ladders in this area and again it was another pretty frustrating part of the game.
The final chapter also randomly had subtitles reappear that I couldn’t turn off.
I did find all this a little bleh as walking, sitting and subtitles were core options built into the front of the game but it was pretty clear on playing that some of these methods were not fully playtested. I hope they release a patch soon.
Who Will Enjoy Playing Sam and Max VR Review?
Sam and Max VR is rated E for Everyone. There is a lot of humor in this game’s jokes that target the 1980s and 1990s. Perhaps some questionable scenes for kids to play, but overall, it’s family fun. There are also references to previous Sam and Max video games but you don’t need to have played any of them to fully enjoy this game.
Fans who love classic point-and-click adventure games like Maniac Mansion will love this. People who are looking for a good story, immersive VR, and fun carnival-like mini-games will also really enjoy Sam and Max VR.
How long is Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual VR?
Depending on how quickly you complete the puzzles, Sam and Max VR should be beatable in about 8 hours of play. There is some replayability with the game because you can just load it up and revisit any of the carnival areas.
You get a grade at the end of each game and mine were not the best. I could easily see replaying them multiple times trying to get better scores. They were pretty fun and even a little bit of a workout depending on the mini-game. These would also be fun things to show people “who are new to VR” because they are pretty great.
Can you play Sam and Max VR Sitting Down?
Yes, you can play Sam and Max VR sitting down. As mentioned above there are definitely some issues with that, especially around ladders, but I played the entire game seated except for a few parts.
Does Sam and Max VR cause motion sickness?
There are a few choices that you can use for movement in Sam and Max VR, but overall there is in-game movement and a lot of it.
You will also be doing some pretty crazy things like flying on a hoverboard and climbing up massive towers which can definitely cause some uneasiness. There will be also times that you are moving involuntarily like being carried around a corner.
For the first time in a long time, I experienced several moments of VR motion sickness. If you have your VR legs and you play with some of the different movements settings you should be okay. I’d say 98% of the game was totally fine, but there was definitely 2% that made my stomach turn.
I will say these moments when it happened were totally immersive in-game and they were pushing limits of what you can experience in VR, so even though it was briefly uncomfortable – It was still an AWESOME experience.
Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual! may cause motion sickness issues so use the best settings for your comfort and remember to take breaks if you feel uneasy.