Time travel is key to Day of the Tentacle Remastered - and not just because it'll hurl you back to 1993, DOTT's original relese date. It'll put your wits against a classic design team's imagination and all-round cleverness.
The humour is surreal, even for LucasArts, with three friends from different eras communicating by way of converted time-machine toilets (‘Chron-o-Johns’) - they quickly become instrumental in solving oddball puzzles.
You’re in this mess because of Dr. Fred, whose Sludge-o-Matic stank up a local river. One mouthful of river gunk later, and a disembodied tentacle grows flippers and decides to take over the world.
Dr. Fred, being as mad as a mad scientist can be, shoves three local teens into Chron-o-Johns, sending them back 24 hours to turn off the sludge machine. Because his kit is powered by a knock-off diamond, though, two chums are flung 200 years off target.
Time for a change
If your head’s now swimming a bit, it won’t stop on playing the game.
Its weirdness and sense of humour never let up, whether you’re helping laid-back geek Bernard explore the present, slovenly roadie Hoagie mooch about in colonial times, or tweaked-out nutcase Laverne survive in a tentacle-ruled dystopian future.
Hoagie’s adventures often prove the highlight, not least his interactions with the Founding Fathers and a sarcastic horse (who snarks on a second visit that you’re still trying to find your way back to the future).
Beyond amusing dialogue, which you must pay attention to if you want to finish the game, the real stars of DOTT are the puzzles.
They often cleverly use the time travel hook, such as redesigning a flag in the past so it changes in the future, or when you need vinegar but are armed only with wine — before realising what happens when you leave plonk lying around for a few centuries.
Blast from the past
The leaps of logic required are sometimes a touch fiendish, though, and this being a reworking of a 20-year-old game, there’s no hand-holding.
DOTT is designed so you can’t die, but you can easily find yourself wandering aimlessly, head steaming, until you hit upon a brainwave or slink defeated to an online walkthrough.
It’s a pity the remastered edition doesn’t offer a help system, if only to make this classic more approachable. However, there are concessions to modern gaming.
The graphics have been redrawn and look smart, if a little lacking in texture, the audio is crisp, and the modern controls (tap-hold and select an icon) are leagues ahead of the original’s clunky verb-based system.
Issues regarding pace and sometimes bruising logic aside, DOTT manages to remain relevant in remastered form.
This is a game fizzing with personality, style and wit, like an irreverent and expressive TV animation where you get to unpick and master the cartoon logic. And anyone who remembers and loved the original will be thrilled they no longer need their own Chron-o-John to revisit such a pioneering, essential game.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered is available for iOS.