Day of the Tentacle Remastered Review

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Title: Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Developer: Lucas Arts, Double Fine
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 1.0 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: 
Yes

When you hear the name, Lucas Arts, what do you think of?  Most people’s answer to that will be Star Wars, Star Wars, and more Star Wars.  After all, we’re talking about Lucas Arts here.  I’ll admit that the majority of Lucas Arts games I’ve played are Star Wars games, like the Battlefront series or my favorite PS1-era Star Wars game, Shadows of the Empire.

Lucas Arts is also known for adventure games that have done really well in their time.  One such adventure game got remastered for new systems last year in the form of Grim Fandango Remastered.  I reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling of that title, especially the big variety in character personalities.  I loved that cute little bubbly secretary in Year 2.  Such a shame she just kind of disappeared after that.

A couple other Lucas Arts games that have been talked of recently are Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle.  These were point-and-click adventure games that acted and played like old classic cartoons.  The PS Vita recently got the ability to play these in remastered form.  Here is my review of Day of the Tentacle Remastered!

Story

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The story actually begins 5 years prior to the beginning of Day of the Tentacle.  During the events of the original game, Maniac Mansion, a group of friends ventures into a mad scientist’s mansion in order to save one of their friends.  Five years later, one of the living sentient tentacles that live at the mansion drinks toxic sludge-filled water and mutates, growing arms and an appetite for violence and global domination.

Upon this happening, the old gang from the first game is contacted and they venture back to the mansion to put a stop to Purple Tentacle’s plans to take over the world.

The story of this game really does imitate old cartoons.  The intro looks like a cartoon, the way everyone talks, and even how the visual design and animations look reminds me heavily of 90s cartoons.  This is really unique and charming for someone like me, who grew up in that era.

Gameplay

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Day of the Tentacle Remastered, just like its original version, is a point-and-click adventure game.  Throughout the game you will be pointing with a cursor and clicking on items, doorways, and other objects as you travel through a mansion and more solving puzzles with items and through dialogue with NPCs.

The main difference between the original game and Remastered is the updated visuals and the updated user interface.  Much like Grim Fandango Remastered, though, you can switch back and forth between the updated and original of these two.  Also noteworthy is that you no longer need to use the Computer in the mansion 5 times to play the original game, Maniac Mansion.  You only need to use it once.  However, the original game received no enhancements in the Remastered version.

The main difference between this game and Grim, though, is that there is no free roam control with the buttons.  This is still a point-and-click game at heart.  You move a cursor around the room and anything you can interact with is highlighted when the cursor goes over it.  You can then select it to move there and/or interact with it.  Think of it like the point-and-click investigation sequences from the Danganronpa series.

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As you explore various areas, there are a lot of different items and people you can interact with.  Some things you can look at, talk to, turn on or off, and some you can even take to use in combination with something somewhere else.  It’s got the same kind of progression as Grim Fandango, but a different take.  You can also combine items you can take with one another to create new items to use in combination with a place.

This is where the game’s main point as well as the main bit of confusion can lie.  With absolutely no tutorial, hint system, or anything else to clue you in on what you’re supposed to be doing, you just have to figure out and experiment until you get things right with solving puzzles.  This can take quite a long time to adjust to, as this game’s puzzles are much more difficult than those in Grim Fandango.  Without a guide, it can be easy to wander and get lost, not finding what you need for more than an hour or so.

Speaking of time, this game can take a good 6 or more hours to complete, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can take even longer.  In short, this may look like an indie to untrained eyes, it is a game that has quite a bit of content to go through, and that’s not even counting playing through the original game.

Before wrapping this up, let’s talk about an ever-annoying PSN Pop-Up feature built into the game.  The game supports cross-save, so it likes to connect to the internet.  If you’re not home and trying to save battery, the game cannot load properly with Airplane Mode turned on.  When I’ve tried, I went into a literally endless loop of windows of it trying to connect to PSN at the title screen and it telling me I have Airplane Mode turned on.  It isn’t until you manually re-enable the network features that it allows you to go past this.  It also periodically will bring up the Connecting to PSN pop-up if you suspend the game for a while and go back to it later.

Controls

As many people once thought otherwise, Day of the Tentacle Remastered is compatible with the PlayStation TV.  Since the game has button and touch controls both, there’s no need to have to use the alternative touch features with a DS4’s touchpad or the R3/L3 commands.

The D-Pad doesn’t do anything in the game aside from using the Up button to highlight each object in the room that you can interact with.  The Left Analog Stick allows you to move the cursor around the map and the Right Analog Stick will cycle the cursor between objects you can interact with.  The L and R triggers lets you cycle between items in your inventory that you wish to use in combination with objects in the room.  X interacts with an object and Square pulls up an interaction menu.  Triangle pulls up your inventory, and Circle cancels out of menus.

Finally, the Start button will let you pause the game and go back to the Main Menu.  The Select Button is the most interesting, though.  Tapping the Select button will switch between the remastered visuals and interface with the original game’s visuals and interface.

I wouldn’t say it’s a bad control scheme, but as I said in the Gameplay section, the game doesn’t tell you how to do anything.

Presentation

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The visual presentation of this remaster is really well done.  All of the graphics are smooth, colorful, and really a big upgrade from the original.  This is overly apparent when you switch back and forth between the original and remastered visuals.  It’s a showing that things have really come a long way in these past 23 years.

The rest of the game I have no issues with.  I really like how the voice-acting and dialogue really fit the “cartoon” feel of the game.  Load times are nice and short and things run pretty nice.

Summary

Day of the Tentacle Remastered is a take on what many think is one of the great classic adventure games of the market.  While an annoying PSN Pop-up and a lack of explanation can hold the experience back, fans of point-and-click adventure games will find an intriguing and entertaining story from start to finish. 

8/10

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