All your Internets are belong to us!
This computer game version of reality, which Sam and Max must enter in order to do battle with a power obsessed (and extremely well connected) personification of the Internet, is where most of the games puzzles take place and all of them show the usual mix of bizarre humour and distorted logic.
Whether you're trying to pry loose a +2 Sword from a pop-up advert or reverting to a two-dimensional form in order to collect more gold, Reality 2.0
never lets up in it's furious assault on computer game clichés, which is nicely offset by the titular characters ironic belief that only pasty-skinned geeks use computers.
By far the highlight of the game is at the end however when, in a hilarious twist, the Internet downgrades to Reality 1.5 -- a text based version of it's initial master plan which causes much confusion to Sam and Max as they are bombarded with references to Zork and hordes of sickeningly cute kittens.
A whole set of new and wacky characters return in this fifth episode, ranging from season regulars Sybil and Bosco and their new online identities to a collective of old computers and arcade cabinets which have formed a support group for abandoned systems. This support group even has it's own theme song which players can hear, 'All that boots is beautiful', which proved to be so funny we had to listen to it twice in a row.
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There are some downsides to Reality 2.0
that do really have an impact on the enjoyment factor though. Firstly, the length of the episode was just too short for us and we played through the whole adventure in just under three hours. Most of this was because there seemed to be so few actual obstacles in the game, and many of which were frighteningly easy to overcome.
The major gripe however was an annoyingly simple one; walking speed. It may have been that the developers wanted to prolong the game for as long as possible, or it may just be impatience exaggerating the issue in our eyes but the fact remains that Sam, the doggy detective that players directly control, walks intolerably slowly.
Just moving from one side of the street to the other can take a frustratingly long time, which isn't made any better by the fact that there is only one street in the whole game. For the first few minutes it isn't immediately noticeable, but it really grates when players get temporarily stuck on a puzzle and wander from room to room attempting various solutions.
A few graphical glitches showed up at some points too, causing characters to disappear for a few seconds during dialogue, though it really wasn't an issue of any real importance.
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Even with all the cons noted down though, they are still outweighed by the pros. Reality 2.0
is a very, very funny game which is filled with dumper trucks full of in-jokes and references to other computer games ("Look behind you, a three-headed Internet!").
It's also incredibly cheap at just a few pennies over £5 or $8 for each episode over at the online store
. Alternatively, aficionados can pick up the Sam and Max Season Pass and get the whole set of episodes with a small discount.
In the end, Sam and Max: Reality 2.0
goes to show that in the right hands, the adventure game genre can be massaged back to life and that you can't ever have too much of a good thing. It may not be as diverse and big as some of the other episodes, but it's certainly as funny and is proof that the Sam and Max series is maintaining the same high quality humour and presentation that we've come to expect over the years.