Sam and Max, the quintessential dog and bunny duo, are coming back to iPhone to start the next season of their episodic game series. Episode one of "Beyond Time and Space" is called "Ice Station Santa". The illustrious personification of Christmas has gone on a rampage, so Sam and Max hoof it to the North Pole to find out what's going. Hilarity ensues, as it is wont to do. On top of the game, Ice Station Santa also includes a soundboard with which you can create bizarre phrases with sound bytes from characters. Beyond that, there's a "Whack da Ratz" mini-game, where you shoot up a simple carnival game with an oversized revolver.

I've got a particular soft spot for the Sam & Max series, not only because I played the original PC game when I was a kid, but because the dialogue is snappy, the scenarios are hilariously absurd, and Max's homicidal tendencies hold an indescribable charm. The one downside that I find to the new Sam and Max episodes is that if you haven't played previous seasons, you'll miss out on the appeal of many of the recurring characters and inside jokes. Otherwise, it's a fine point-and-walk adventure game, with memorable dialog trees and puzzles that come at you out of left field. To get a sense of their humour, you should take a look at this comic series written when the franchise was revived in 2005.

Episodes 2 - 5 were already built for consoles and PC long ago, so hopefully we'll see the rest of the season in the iOS app store soon. In the meantime, you can snag Episode 1 - Ice Station Santa at the link below, or get a taste of the game at the video after the jump. "Ice Station Santa" is a universal app, so iPad owners, have at it!

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