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GDC 2010: Hands-on with Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse

Last month at Macworld, Telltale Games announced that they'll be releasing their games day-and-date on both Mac and PC at the same time. Last week at GDC 2010, they announced a brand new season of Sam and Max, and also the news that, on April 15th, the first episode of The Devil's Playhouse will be available on both Mac and PC (as well as the PSN, if you're into that sort of thing). I got a chance to see the game at GDC, and while the version I saw was running on the Playstation 3, I can promise you that they said we'd get Sam and Max, and that's exactly what we're getting.

Like the other games in the series (which aren't on the Mac quite yet, but are coming soon), The Devil's Playhouse (the first episode is called "The Penal Zone") is a cartoony point-and-click adventure game featuring the legendary Freelance Police duo. We played through an initial sequence that had the two going up against the evil General Skunkape and his spaceship, armed only with Max's ability to travel through phonelines, some silly putty that will let him change into a potted plant (or a bazooka), and the help of an alien brain in a jar. Just like the rest of the series, Sam and Max features item-based puzzles with plenty of absurdity and humor.

I was told that this latest episode will be attempting to mix up the gameplay a little bit -- Max is slowly gaining what are called "psychic powers" which he'll obtain one episode at a time. And while some of the powers are basically items to be used in the ages-old adventure genre, some of them are designed to mix up the gameplay just a bit. For example, one power lets him look into the future, which Telltale told us would allow the player to see the solution of a puzzle before it's encountered in the game, changing the question from "how do I use what I have to get there," to "How did I use what I will find?"

The Devil's Playhouse is also being designed as a "good entry point" for the series, so players won't need to go back and play the first few seasons to figure out how to play. But we'd recommend it anyway -- remember that buying any of the games on PC will allow you to get the Mac versions for free when they come out, and vice versa. Preorders on the latest season will go live later this week, and Sam and Max's latest adventure will be available for play on April 15th.

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