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Sam & Max is a point-and-click adventure game for multiple systems. Unlike previous seasons, movement in The Devil's Playhouse is handled with its own controls. Around the world are "hotspots", with which the characters can interact. When the cursor is over a hotspot, the cursor will turn green and the item or character's name will be shown in the lower right hand corner. You solve puzzles during the game by interacting in a (somewhat) logical way with the environment, talking with other characters and collecting items that are held in your inventory.

In Season Three, you have the option to inspect and sometimes use items in your inventory as well as take them out for use in the environment. In addition to the enhanced inventory system, Season Three also adds a notebook, psychic powers for Max and a Crime-Tron system run by the COPS. The notebook gives you information on the current case, such as what your main objective is and who the main characters in the episode are. Max's psychic powers are obtained by finding toys, each of which bestow a different ability. You can enter Max mode at any time, and the powers can provide clues for solving puzzles or they may even be mandatory for completing a puzzle. When the Crime-Tron is available for use, you may input two inventory items and, provided each item is in the system, an attempt to match them together will be made, which may result in a new area being unlocked.

The controls can be viewed at any time from the menu, and more control options are available for the Windows and Mac systems than are shown in the table.

Windows / Mac iPad PlayStation 3 Action
WASD Touch screen and drag in a direction Neutral lstick Movement
 ↑  ↓  Tap option Neutral dpad Navigate menus
PC Mouse Left Click.png Tap person or thing Cross button Interact, make selection
PC Mouse Left Click.png Tap power Neutral rstick Select Max power
Hold Shift N/A Circle button Run
PC Mouse Right Click.png Tap back option Circle button Cancel, back
Q Tap Max shield Triangle button Use Max mode
E or PC Mouse Middle Click.png Tap box Square button Open inventory
C Tap notebook Select button Open notebook
Esc Press home button Start button Menu
Space N/A Start button Pause
N/A Touch two fingers on screen R2 button Show selectable objects
N/A N/A R1 button L1 button Cycle selectable objects