It may come as no surprise to anyone that's played the original release, but Day of the Tentacle still holds up as a stellar example of its genre 23 years on. Point-and-click titles of its time are often regarded for their zany humour, inspired visuals, and inventive puzzle-solving – and this little gem is no different. Sporting a loveable cast of characters and a graphical style pulled straight from a cult '90s cartoon, this outing practically oozes charisma from the get-go.
Unfortunately, the title's own wackiness sometimes oversteps its boundaries and bleeds into the gameplay where it shouldn't. Indeed, you're more than likely to find yourself at a dead end at some stage in your travels, stumped by whatever brain-teaser has been flung your way – only to end up solving it through some random action that, realistically, you'd have to be a mad scientist to make any sense of. Thankfully, this isn't a problem that comes up too often, as the game presents you with multiple paths to pursue at any given time. Moreover, your objective is always made very clear ahead of time, so even when you feel like you're beating your head against a wall looking for a solution, you'll at least be aware of what it is that that you're actually trying to accomplish.
With that aside, the puzzles on a whole are artfully crafted and blend in seamlessly with the provided narrative. You're tasked with controlling three college students, each one with their own unique personality and talents: Bernard, a socially awkward geek whose trousers are pulled up high enough for his outfit to be considered a self-served wedgie; Hoagie, a mellowed-out roadie reminiscent of an overweight Wayne Campbell, and; Laverne, an oddball blonde with a questionable affinity for microwaving hamsters.
Scattered throughout three different historical periods following a hop gone wrong, the trio must overcome their separation and work together across time itself to thwart the Purple Tentacle's plans for world domination. This wonderfully ludicrous set-up makes for some superb puzzling, as performing certain actions with Hoagie in the past, for example, can result in altering elements of Laverne's future. This back-and-forth style of design is refreshingly creative in an age of painfully linear point-and-clicks, and you'll be hard pressed to find a title that makes better use of its potential in this regard.
Perhaps the most alluring thing about Day of the Tentacle Remastered, however, is developer Double Fine's admirable commitment to delivering it as a complete package. The game hasn't just been given a quick facelift, rushed out onto store shelves to make a quick buck – no, a whole new array of tweaks, reworks, and goodies have been added to guarantee that this iteration is the definitive one.
If you're the sort that likes to play remasters with a pair of nostalgia-tinted goggles on, there's good news: almost every feature of the game is revertible to its 1993 counterpart – right down to the aspect ratio – so whether it's those grimy tunes, pixelated visuals, or even the original LucasArts interface that you crave, Double Fine has got you covered.
If you're looking for a more up-to-date experience, though, you'll be relieved to find that an equal amount of effort has been put into giving the release a fresh lick of paint. The classic HUD has been streamlined into a radial menu, speeding things up significantly while still presenting you with enough freedom of choice to keep you on your toes. Also included is a ton of behind-the-scenes concept art and developer commentary, which is never a bad thing – especially for returning fans who are eager to peer into the title's rich development process.
Last but not least, we feel obliged to point out that you're technically getting two brilliant games for the price of one, here – the entirety of Day of the Tentacle's predecessor, Maniac Mansion, is playable in-game for no more than the cost of your own discovering it. Now that's doubly fine.
A sterling example of the point-and-click genre, this revitalised classic continues to exceed expectations more than twenty years after its initial release. A must-have for fans of the original and a great point of entry for anyone new to the formula, Day of the Tentacle Remastered harbours a fantastic charm that can scarcely be found elsewhere.