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

Sam & Max's third episode feels shorter than the previous two, and at least part of that is due to so many of the environments being recycled from previous episodes.

Sam & Max's episodic adventures continue with Episode 3: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball. Like the previous two Telltale-developed adventure games, this one is self-contained but ties in to the other installments. A police mole that has been working undercover in Ted E. Bear's Mafia has gone missing, and it's up to Sam (a dog that knows how to crack wise) and Max (a rabbit-esque thing that loves violence more than you love your own mother) to infiltrate a Mafia-run casino and figure out what happened.

 Sam & Max return and attempt to stop the flow of brainwashing toy bears in their third episode.
Sam & Max return and attempt to stop the flow of brainwashing toy bears in their third episode.

Like the other episodes, The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball is a funny game with plenty of opportunities for humor. This one relies a bit more on the humor of repetition than the previous episodes, with dialogue options that let you try different crazy passwords at a door, ask for random items to buy at the local inconvenience store, and repeatedly click on a series of singing bear heads to listen to them sing a tune about how there's most definitely no Mafia around. That repetitive streak holds throughout the game's structure, as well. Sam & Max's office and local neighborhood are largely unchanged--everything that was needed for the previous episode's puzzles has simply been replaced with the sort of things you'll need for this episode's puzzles. Aside from the local neighborhood, there are only a few other screens to see, which is sort of disappointing, because now that we're three episodes deep, some of the things established in the first installment are wearing thin.

But the puzzles are still nice. You'll cheat a poker cheat out of millions, fake someone's death, and meet up with a tough-talking bug that will crawl near people and listen in on their conversations, which also leads to some funny lines. The graphics are quality, and the voice acting and music also stand out, though some of the music and dialogue has been recycled from previous installments. Also, there's a character in this episode named Leonard Steakcharmer, which is one of the greatest fake names ever.

Now that Telltale is halfway through its "season" of Sam & Max, you've probably already made up your mind about the series. If you played the first two episodes, you should certainly keep on playing, unless the second episode rubbed you the wrong way by reusing so many locations. And if you've held off, or played the first episode and decided it wasn't for you, you could probably keep right on looking in the other direction. The episodic nature of this adventure is starting to hurt it, as each individual episode is short enough for you to finish it in an afternoon at most--and this one feels even shorter than the other two.

The Good

  • Great voices that deliver funny dialogue
  • Quality puzzle design

The Bad

  • You've seen the store, the office, the street, and Sybil's place before

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About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

Sam & Max: Save the World

First Released Dec 2, 2020
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC
  • Wii
  • Xbox 360


Average Rating

2790 Rating(s)

Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.