Fresh off their success destroying the internet in Reality 2.0, dog-and-lagomorph crimefighting duo Sam and Max have returned for one final adventure - at least, until their next "season" starts. Putting a coda on an episodic series that's seen psychotic rabbit Max elected president, the world plunged into offscreen chaos and the duo's neighbors suffer through multiple identity crises, Sam & Max Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon pits players against the man behind it all. We speak of none other than insufferably squeaky-voiced magician/self-help guru Hugh Bliss, who's haunted the series since its second episode with his weirdly overbearing niceness.
Finally revealed as the mastermind behind the events of the last five episodes, Bliss is only moments away from realizing his mad plan to brainwash the world into a horrible new golden age of peace, happiness and understanding. Naturally, that messes with Sam and President Max's firm belief in free will (as well as their plans to drive around hurting people and ruining things), so it's off to Bliss' secret moon retreat to investigate.
This being the final episode, expect to see a lot of familiar faces reappear to tie up loose ends - including the giant, tragically insecure robot-statue head of Abraham Lincoln, who was supposed to have been blown up in episode 4. Thankfully, the Soda Poppers - an unfunny trio of former child stars who've plagued three episodes - don't show up until the end credits, and then it's only to get punched in the face.
Grand finale or no, this is the same pointy-clicky gameplay that fans have gotten used to over the last five episodes; you'll spend the game's short run time exploring its environments, chatting up its inhabitants and pocketing everything in sight. No surprises there.
Also like previous games, the setup has shifted back to getting a new area to explore - in this case the moon - in addition to the duo's hardscrabble New York neighborhood. It feels like a step back after the weird digital world of Reality 2.0 and its changeable rules, but the moon's still a pretty swank place, and it's filled with familiar characters from previous episodes for you to harass. That goes double once you get past all the tourist traps and fib your way into Bliss' culty retreat, where the atmosphere is bright and saccharine and everything barfs rainbows. No, we mean that literally. You'll even be able to make people do it on command - that is, if you play your cards right and help Abe Lincoln's stone head get a date in one of the game's most entertainingly silly puzzles.
This being Sam & Max, the moon seems to be just a couple of freeway stops from the pair's familiar office, and you'll be able to rapidly drive between the two places in the pair's iconic DeSoto. Back at home, luckless jack-of-all-trades Sybil Pandemik might have finally found her first stable job, and inventor/convenience-store owner Bosco has pushed his running disguise habit a little far, this time dressing up as his own mother and getting way too into the role. You won't get to mess around with either character as much as you might like, but the things you can do make for a nice little send-off until the next season begins.
It's not quite the jaw-dropping in-joke fiesta that Reality 2.0 was, and it feels a little lighter on the puzzles and conversations than previous episodes, but Sam & Max Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon is still great in its own right. It neatly ties up every important plot thread left dangling by earlier episodes - except for Max's inevitable impeachment as US president, which will probably be saved for Season 2. Downloadable via GameTap or direct from the publisher, it's a fitting finale for the season, and if you've come this far with the canine shamus and hyperkinetic rabbity thing, you won't come away disappointed.