There have been many games based on the Back to the Future franchise. Most of them have suffered from the problem of licensed games. TellTale games, however, has managed something that few developers have: make a game true to its license.

Back to the Future: The Game is an adventure game à la Monkey Island or The Dig. Since it was originally released as a series of five short episodes, though, it manages to avoid some of the more troublesome things that plague the genre: such as the flashlight that you have to pick up in the first room and carry the whole game.

BttF:TG starts two years after the movies in 1986. Doc Brown is nowhere to be found and his belongings are being sold to pay off his debts. Inexplicably, the Delorean reappears containing Doc’s dog Einstein, and a message that the emergency recall system was activated, but no Doc Brown. Thus begins Marty’s quest to save Doc from the past.

The writing in BttF:TG is both sharp and true to the original movies. Characters are well defined and the dialog is well executed. It doesn’t hurt that the original Doc Brown–Christopher Lloyd–comes back to do much of his own dialog. The game’s episodic nature also allows it to have the sort of cliffhangers that the movies have, this time between each episode. Even though its very much a cribbing of the source material, each one feels reasonable based on the time travel shenanigans that are carried out.

My biggest complaint about the game is probably system related. I played it on the Playstation 3 and it doesn’t feel like a native there. The walking controls are a bit wonky, especially when there are camera transitions. There are some noticeably (and consistently) laggy bits. The object selection system is also a bit cumbersome. Given that, I’d probably recommend avoiding it on the consoles and to pick it up on the PC or Mac (I imagine the iOS version is also decent, but can’t vouch for it personally).

And I do recommend picking it up. Adventure games died for many reasons–some of them fair. This adventure game is one worth playing though, especially for fans of Back to the Future which, as far as I’m concerned, should be the entire human race.

Back to the Future: The Game: 1