Day of the Tentacle Remastered review: LucasArts classic makes a comeback on iOS

If you have any doubts as to the conversion of this classic DOS game to iOS, you needn’t worry.

The classic is back and better than ever. Day of the Tentacle, the seminal puzzle-solving game and sequel to Maniac Mansion, has been lovingly brought to iOS by Double Fine Productions in a “Remastered” format (US$5 on the iTunes Store). If you have any doubts as to the conversion of another classic DOS game to iOS, you needn’t worry.

day tentacle 001

Sometimes evil mutant tentacles want to take over the world. These things happen.

Everything you loved about Day of the Tentacle is in the app, even if the game now weighs in at more than 2GB on your iOS device. All the charm, wit, terrible puns, geeky humor, and terrific work by video game industry legends Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, Ron Gilbert, and Gary Winnick are there, complete with upgraded graphics, sounds, developers commentary, and more than 150 pieces of bonus art.

As with the original Day of the Tentacle, you’re tasked with infiltrating the mansion of Dr. Fred Edison to stop the evil Purple Tentacle, who, after gaining super intelligence (and small limbs) from drinking toxic waste pumped into the stream behind the mansion, wants to take over the world and enslaving humanity.

day tentacle 002

You too can surf the time stream in your Chon-O-John…

Like the original Maniac Mansion, players transition between the three primary characters (Bernard, Laverne, and Hoagie), who have been sent both back and forward in time through modified portable toilets knows as Chron-O-Johns. Over the course of the game, you’ll solve puzzles, unlock new areas of the mansion, and work to try to stop Purple Tentacle from taking over the world.

What makes gameplay interesting is that the game’s characters, who are, for the most part, trapped in their own timeline (i.e., past, present, and future) will have to solve puzzles both within their own timeline as well as the other timelines. Characters can flush items to each other through the time stream via their Chron-O-John units to help solve puzzles in another character’s timeline. Changes made to a past environment can affect a future environment, which can help provide solutions for the other characters.

day tentacle 004

That’s one good lookin’ mummy!

All of this translates surprisingly well to the iOS interface, which allows you to tap on an object, hold your finger in place for a fraction of a second and several choices appear as to what to do with the character or object. This takes a little getting used to, but Double Fine executes it brilliantly and it becomes easy to navigate and do whatever you need to within the game.

Even in the face of a transition to an entirely new platform alongside a new control scheme, Day of the Tentacle Remastered retains all of the joy, challenge and charm of the original title. Everything lovable about the original game is still there and it’s still incredibly fun to be stuck on a puzzle, try something new, and several new ideas might surface as to how to solve the other puzzles within the other characters’ timelines.

day tentacle 005

Purple Tentacle and his clone army.

The game includes some nifty bonuses in the form of 156 pieces of developer art as well as developer commentary, which is fun to listen on your next replay. None of this is earth-shattering, but there’s some interesting stuff in there as well as back stories and it’s cool to see how the game took shape.

Even if there aren’t a ton of gameplay hours (roughly 4-8 depending on your level of experience with the game and how much you remember of it), this still holds up as an amazing family game, wherein the style and humor is genuinely cool, geeky, funny, a tiny bit lewd, but not inappropriate. This is the kind of game that can be purchased via a family Apple ID account, played and enjoyed on the parent’s device, then downloaded, installed and handed down to your kids at a later date with the near-certain guarantee that they’ll enjoy this.

day tentacle 006

The game includes 156 pieces of early development art.

Bottom line

Double Fine took care of a beloved game and breathed new life into it in its transition to the iOS platform, where it’s arrived in excellent fashion. If you played the original, you’ll find that everything you loved is still there, the new control scheme works, the new graphics and sounds are great, and this is everything a Day of the Tentacle/LucasArts fan could have hoped for. If you have any doubts, put them aside, snag it, install it, sit back and enjoy.

The only regret you’ll have is that the band Green T and the Sushi Platter was never a real thing, even though there was the promise of power tools to generate extraordinary amounts of volume on their forthcoming album…

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Chris Barylick
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