Sam & Max: Episode 3 - The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball

Still laughing, just not quite as hard

Now that we're on the third episode, we're not allowed to be excited by the return of point-and-click's finest. The rainbow of nostalgic thrill has been bleached by the glare of recent enjoyment, and only a creamy, demanding expectation remains. Luckily, Episode 3: The Mole, The Mob And The Meatball follows the same strong S&M formula. Perhaps too tightly, but onto that later.

The world is the same again, but also different again; while your reaction to the Not'cho's Nachos stand remains unchanged ("They're mine - not'chos"), Sybil has become a professional witness and Jimmy The Rat has set up stall as a fence. All of this becomes unavoidably relevant as the plot of mafia and stolen goods unfolds. There's the complete range of quality one-liners you'd expect: "Hit him where it hurts - in the mother"; and: "The market is bearish for crazy fake French dollars." It's all there, and it's as warm, witty and fun to play as any of the preceding chapters.


On the other hand, it's the shortest and easiest yet, with the episodic formula's skeleton (office/street intro, on-location puzzle, three-pronged task, conclusion) showing more obviously through the tighter, more linear flesh. And you're left slightly hungry, and wondering whether the fridge magnet solution makes logical sense. And, well, why that playing card was just lying around where it was.

The middle episodes are difficult - having set the scene, it's too soon in the six-parter to unravel everything into the chaos we'll eventually demand. Episode 3 might have all the appetite suppression of a fun-size Milky Way, but it's still two hours of your life you'll be happy you spent away from other people.

The verdict

Keep 'em coming

Telltale Games