Day of the Tentacle Remastered (2016)
PS4 / Rated T
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Tim Schafer is a genius when it comes to adventure games, and I genuinely mean that. All you have to do is take a look at his past work, which includes games like Grim Fandango, the Monkey Island series, Full Throttle, Maniac Mansion, and most recently Broken Age. His latest trend, one that I wholeheartedly enjoy, is bringing some of these classics back, like Grim Fandango, as remastered versions. Double Fine’s latest remaster project, Day of the Tentacle Remastered, brings back the wacky time-travel adventure that stars three odd-ball teenagers and one very evil purple tentacle. The remaster beautifully modernizes the story while retaining the charm and amusement of the original.
You take control of the nerd Bernard Bernoulli, the weirdo Laverne, and the heavy metal roadie that goes by the name Hoagie. They are a band of misfits that must work together to put a stop to the evil Purple Tentacle’s plans of world domination. In order to stop Purple Tentacle in his tracks, they have to enlist the help of the mad scientist Dr. Fred and his janky time machine. Dr. Fred attempts to send them back in time so the kids can shut off the contamination machine that is the source of Purple Tentacle’s powers, but thing’s go horribly wrong as you would expect. The three kids are split up into three different time periods, the past, the present, and the future. They must work together, in different eras, to bring a stop to Purple Tentacle and, in turn, save the world.
The game’s story, primarily designed by industry veterans Schafer and Dave Grossman, is consistently great and on point throughout the entire adventure. Day of the Tentacle features a variety of comedy styles, ranging from benign potty humor to wry, sometimes dark, humor. Every joke works well and there are a very slim few that don’t connect, even twenty years later in this day and age. There was one early moment in particular, involving a down-on-his-luck product designer who puts a gun to his head in his hotel room, only to reveal a bright “BOOM” flag upon firing the weapon. It was a shocking moment that still managed to paint a smile on my face. The inclusion of time travel also makes for some great story and character moments as well. Watching as Hoagie instilled his heavy metal slang on the founding fathers in the past makes for some great comedic material. The story is smart and sharp all the way through till the credits roll.
What made Day of the Tentacle so unique from other adventure games of its time was its time travel mechanics and the ability to switch between the different characters in their respective time periods. It makes for some inventive puzzles that require some smart solutions. Speaking of puzzles, unlike most adventure games of its time, the game never had any puzzles that require obtuse or abstract solutions. Everything that you do makes sense and I never had to bash random items together in hopes of progressing the story. The game makes you feel smart by letting you solve the problems in logical and clever ways. With that being said, there were still some tough solutions, especially towards the latter half of the game. It made me wish there was a built in hint system, which these remasters seemingly never have. The game wasn’t overtly difficult, but a little dynamic hint system would have gone a long way.
There’s a layer of polish that lathers Day of the Tentacle Remastered that delightfully brings the game to life in this modern era of games. Every screen was reworked from the ground up, giving the game higher resolution graphics. The art isn’t the only thing got reworked, as the music was given a remastered treatment as well. Maybe the best part about it all is that you can switch between the remastered and classic versions of the game on the fly with one press of a button. I constantly found myself switching between the two just to marvel in the amount of work that was put into the remaster. There’s also the inclusion of concept art, developer commentaries, and a fully playable version of the original Maniac Mansion, a little Easter egg that could have been found in the original version as well. This amount of work that the game’s original creators put into this version of the game shows in every nook and cranny.
As far as remastered games go, especially adventure games, Day of the Tentacle Remastered holds up extremely well, in large part thanks to Tim Schafer and the team at Double Fine. The game features a hilariously absurd and clever story that’s chock full of witty humor and ingenious references. It also has a bright and cheery look that translates every single little detail from the original. If you haven’t played the original, this is about as good as the game is going to get. Now, the wait begins again for Tim Schafer’s next remaster project, Full Throttle.
Also available on PC and PSVita.