|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Telltale Games/GameTap||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.10, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
As the series goes on, the storytelling and dialogue continue to improve along with the jokes. The gags are still plentiful, yet the humor is a little more thoughtful. It's all been funneled down into a concentrated form for this slightly shorter-length episode. Though some of Sam and Max's wisecracks will surely spur a mixture of a few chuckles and an occasional grimace, the game's funniest moments come from interactions with some of the characters. Sam and Max's baby-talk while dealing with the diapered form of a diminutive, pistol-packing Jimmy Hoffa is a riot; the primitive clan of "Ocean Chimps" and their foot fetishes, and the musings of a clearly "stoned" Moai statue under interrogation are among many other quality moments you'll find in several hours it takes to plow through the episode.
The puzzles are still pretty challenging in some spots, although the optional hint system will help you through most of the tougher spots without having to resort to a walkthrough. Some useless items are scattered throughout the game to throw players off track, and it can sometimes get tricky figuring out just the right combination of things required in certain areas in order to progress. Those with the patience to click on every examinable item will be rewarded with plenty of laughs, and the eventual solutions to some of the game's tougher challenges. Incorporating the triangular portals as a new puzzle mechanic was a nifty way to shake things up a bit; it's something the developers would do well to expand on in future episodes.
Moai Better Blues sticks with the same point-and-click control interface from every other title in the series. Little has been changed in that regard here except for the option to use the keyboard for controls during the requisite driving mini-game (which is a great deal more entertaining this time around thanks to having to run over bagpipes). The ability to make Sam run by double-clicking the mouse (a feature added in Ice Station Santa) still makes a noticeable difference in navigating the game. Despite the change in scenery, the graphics are largely untouched from past episodes. A few cool visual effects are added-in during the Ocean Chimp sequences, but that's about it. Essentially, consistency in the gameplay is crucial here, and Telltale elected not to mess with the solid underpinnings of the series.
The initial six episodes of Sam & Max earned solid marks and praise from critics for good reason, but so far the second season is already moving well beyond early successes by leaps and bounds. Right out of the gate, Ice Station Santa was a great start to what promises to be a good year for the furry detectives, and Moai Better Blues keeps the laughs coming without losing a beat. Each subsequent episode in this new season obliterates expectations with even more unfathomably ridiculous plot twists and endearing characters. The gameplay stays pretty much the same throughout every episode, but the content continues to improve. Moai Better Blues may be one of the shorter offerings in the series, but it's a fantastic time nonetheless.
CCC Freelance Writer