Day of the Tentacle represents the very pinnacle of adventure games from the yesteryear, right alongside Double Fine’s other title Grim Fandango. Known for both games, Tim Schafer has taken it upon himself to introduce his classic titles to a new generation of gamers. After successfully launching a remastered version of Grim Fandango, the studio brings us Day of the Tentacle Remastered. As the name implies, this version of the game features improvements in the audiovisual department, with an all-new art style and crisp music. But does this twenty or so year old title stand the test of time? The answer, for the most part, is yes!
The good news is that the humor and classic point-and-click adventuring hold up really well, whether you’re new to the game or are a returning fan. That said, nostalgia certainly does play a key role here, and as a returning fan you’re likely to overlook a few of the areas that may not have aged well in Day of the Tentacle Remastered.
Storytelling related to time travel has been beaten to death in the existing era, and the whole concept has become more of a cliché as opposed to the novelty that it once used to carry. Day of the Tentacle Remastered comes from a period when the idea had not yet been exhausted, but even today it manages to remain interesting thanks to its graceful humor.
Purple Tentacle ends up growing a pair of arms upon drinking from the polluted water behind Dr. Fred Edison’s lab. He gains a surge of intelligence as well as a newfound need for global domination. Dr. Fred sees it wise to dispose of both Purple and his dumb brother Green Tentacle.
In turn, Green seeks the help of Bernard Bernoulli and his friends Hoagie and Laverne in order to resolve the issue without him and his brother falling prey to Dr. Fred. Meanwhile, the latter plans to send Green’s savior as well as his friends back in time using his time machine. He succeeds, sending all three to three completely different time periods. Bernard is sent to present-day mansion, Hoagie finds himself in the past when the mansion used to be an inn for early American founders, while Laverne gets send ahead into the future, where Purple Tentacle has succeeded in taking over the world and turning humans into pets for other tentacles.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered’s premise remains fascinating even today, with three different story arcs unwinding throughout the course of the game across three different time periods. It certainly doesn’t get any more time-bending than that! As is the norm with LucasArts’ adventure games, puzzles are driven by items that are carefully scattered around the game’s three different time periods. But here’s where things get interesting: it’s possible for one character to send such items to either of the other two using the toilet in each of the time machines. Doing so allows you to solve puzzles and make progress in any given time period, in process also affecting scenarios in the other time periods.
You’ll find yourself meddling with all sorts of things, including matters of historical significance. A lot of the times, solving puzzles will result in hilarious, feel-good moments that serve as a reminder of the game’s status as a timeless classic. However, not all puzzles have aged well, and you will occasionally find yourself getting frustrated over the solution to a few of them. Some players will ultimately turn to walkthroughs in order to get past such imperceptive puzzles, while others will randomly stumble upon the solution to them and won’t feel the kind of satisfaction one gets from solving the other well-thought out puzzles found in the game.
All in all, though, it’s hard to find fault in Day of the Tentacle Remastered, for it is indeed one of those games from the yesteryear that come with a soul and are in a class of their own. Fans of the genre who haven’t had the opportunity to play the original owe it to themselves to give the remaster a look.
This review covers the PS4 version of the game.