Manuel Samuel Review (Nintendo Switch)

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Posted August 17, 2018 by Cody Rostron in Comic Books

Developed by: Perfectly Paranormal

Published by: Curve Digital

Release Date: August 16th, 2018

Reviewed for Switch.

Do you ever wonder how hard life would be if you had to breathe and blink manually? Me neither, at least until Manual Samuel came into my life. Manuel Samuel is an adventure puzzle game that tells the story of Samuel, a real douche bag person who doesn’t seem to care about anyone around him including his girlfriend. And his behavior pushes her over the edge sending him on a trip to hell, not directly but it starts the journey. It’s tough to break down Manuel Samuel into sections cause the game isn’t really like most other adventure games. Never before has walking been so difficult in a video game.
Sam has a horrible day and ends up dying within the first 5 minutes of gameplay. And this introduces him to Death. A skateboarding bro who wears long sweatshirts and a sideways cap. And Death offers him a deal the spoiled rich-kid Samuel, must survive for 24 hours controlling his entire body manually. Considering he’s the face of the game, he’s on all the promotional material and the menus I think you’re supposed to like him. I don’t; particularly he comes off as grating and obnoxious which by the description of him makes sense. In fact, a lot of the game comes off as obnoxious it has a funny tone but never made me laugh and since the gameplay is not whats bringing you In the writing needs to be on point. Which it isn’t always. Although my favorite character written and voiced was the narrator, he had some nice lines of dialogue.

Image result for manual samuel

Death and War teach Sam how to Drive

Gameplay is intricate and interesting. As mentioned earlier walking, blinking and breathing are critical components to playing this game well. Also good advice for life in general. Walking needs both triggers to move in an alternating fashion. Breathing takes a specific cycle to repeat. Otherwise, you’ll hold your breath and die or expel to much air and die. And you need to keep blinking so you can see the screen.
Along with some mediocre “Combat” controls, this sums up the gameplay of Manuel Samuel. Playing on the Handheld Switch can get irritating at times and turn into your hands cramping, but otherwise, it plays fine on either end. The story while not always funny does a lot of heavy lifting for some of the gameplay. Things like Driving and Brushing your teeth are funny, but things like escaping from hell towards the end of the game are a real nuisance and don’t feature much regarding the story which means the game has to stand on its own there for it’s annoying. Especially the final boss. The game doesn’t give you any hints on how to fight you have to stumble into it.
One thing I admire the game for is not overstaying it’s welcome. It’s a quick game that packs a punch and then leaves. And since the more annoying gameplay centric moments happen towards the very end of the game, It doesn’t become a burden. There is also some random humor to the game that happens when you’re first learning your controls, Like doing the splits trying to walk or your spine breaking when you step a few feet.
Manuel Samuel can be a fun game if you’re patient. Learning the controls and then learning what to do next is the flow of this adventure. Controls can sometimes be finicky, and gameplay is less than engaging, but it tells a fun story that has some charm. While characters and the art style can be annoying at times, it eventually falls into place as it’s own thing. If you’re a fan of adventure games that have a twist like this, I think it’s worth your time. Especially on the Switch considering each “Level” can be a bite-sized playthrough. It’s also pretty forgiving with its gameplay. Instead of dying and restarting the boss fights you both just regain health. Ultimately it’s needed because boss fights can be trying especially since you don’t usually know what to do going into them.


About the Author

Cody Rostron

Writer, Graphic Designer, and Artist, But most importantly a huge nerd.