- Developer: Perfectly Paranormal
- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Genre: Adventure
- Release Date: 14th October 2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
I immediately got excited upon booting up Manual Samuel, I’d read that it was an adventure game and as soon as I saw the graphics I started to wonder if I’d finally found a game that could come close to the wild adventures I’d had with Monkey Island. To cut a long story short, I was out of luck.
We start by watching Samuel having lunch with his girlfriend, he’s the type of guy who’s grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth and doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s had to do anything for himself, ever. His girlfriend has finally had enough, so she smacks him round the head and storms out. You give chase, but end up dead… yeah, that escalated quickly! You meet Death who you strike a deal with so you can return to the land of living, but on his terms. In order to fully return to your normal life, you must survive 24 hours doing everything manually from walking, to blinking, to breathing in and out.
Similarly to games like QWOP and Octodad, you use buttons to control various parts of the body such as using the triggers to walk, or using X and B to breathe in and out respectively. It’s kinda fun at first, but constantly having to breathe in and out and blink makes me extremely glad the game’s only a couple of hours long. There are a couple of sections where new controls are introduced and it can take a little while to get the hang of them which can get frustrating.
The game offers single player and co-op, but I only played single player. After reading up about co-op, it sounds like each player takes responsibility for different actions i.e. player one breathes in, and player two breathes out. I’m sure it would be great fun for a short period of time, but would get frustrating very quickly unless you’re playing with the right person.
Graphically the game is really good, it’s got a nice cartoony style which is best compared to The Curse Of Monkey Island. Character design is really good, and a couple of them you meet along the way are quite entertaining. The sound effects are pretty decent, and the narration is very well done.
Also similar to Monkey Island is the comedy aspect of the game, there were some genuinely funny laugh out loud moments, but the use of the word feces got really irritating, really fast and put a bit of a downer on the whole thing.
On the whole Manual Samuel is an enjoyable game if you have the patience for the controls, but if like me you lack patience and don’t particularly like the repetitiveness then you’ll get frustrated quite quickly. It’s not that it’s particularly difficult, just having to repeat tasks like blinking gets boring when I’d rather be tasked with some kind of puzzle solving instead. It’s one of those games you should experience at least once, but I certainly won’t be going back to play it again.