It feels a little strange reviewing a game you’ve already played through several times before – almost 25 years ago. Yet, that’s what looking at Day of the Tentacle Remastered feels like. Here’s our review of the Vita version.
We live in the era of “remasters” – the follow-up the “HD Edition” craze we saw a few years ago. The way the word is tacked onto existing titles doesn’t always imply the same type of treatment though. There are a few ‘remastered’ versions out there that don’t add too much besides support for higher resolutions and new operating systems, but Double Fine made sure that the remaster treatment didn’t end there for Day of the Tentacle.
That’s a good thing, because Day of the Tentacle is one of the most beloved graphical adventures of all time from the golden era of the genre. It also happens to be one of my personal favorites, and I remember freeing up just enough ‘conventional memory space’ on my pc to be able to run it. Oh, the good old days. With the Vita version, that’s no longer needed of course. Day of the Tentacle boots up quickly, runs smoothly, and looks better than ever.
The latter is partly because the game did indeed get boosted in terms of resolution support, but it’s also because large portions of the graphics were completely redesigned. This makes them look modern and fresh, without ever losing the style of the original game. If it’s been a while, you could even find yourself thinking it’s faithful to how you remember it – that’s until you turn on the ‘retro mode’ with the original graphics and sound. It’s funny how the mind works that way – making things from the past look and sound better than they actually did. Still, the art style held up wonderfully well, and the same can be said for the humor.
Day of the Tentacle is a game most remember for how fun and funny it was to play, and the crazy storyline still helps in that regard. It involves an escaped tentacle creature, a plot that involves time travel gone wrong and a group of teenagers intent on fixing things because said tentacle takes over the world. On top of that – a familiar story for veteran gamers – Double Fine has also added a commentary track that gives you access to some of the background to the game and story’s development. This is a great way to play for those who already know the game by heart, or those going through it a second time on their Vita or PS4.
Without spoiling too much in terms of the story, it’s an adventure that lends itself very well to comedic situations as well as puzzles that involve people working together across time – changing the past to alter the future, that sort of Marty McFly stuff. In terms of how everything folds out, you can either choose the classic control mechanism from the early 90s (clicking on the words “look at” or “use” and then clicking the screen), or use a more context-sensitive approach that does away with that word-driven user interface. It’s really down to how retro you want your experience to be – though console gamers will probably prefer the new method.
Because of the graphics upgrade, the game looks and plays great on the big screen when using a PS4, but it’s especially wonderful to play this classic on the Vita. The handheld’s support for high resolution graphics makes this a joy to play, and you can take the game with you whenever you go, as if it were a good book. With the choice of original versus remastered graphics, an optional director’s commentary track and two ways to control the game – this is how we like the term “remastered” to be used.