July 5, 2022

Manual Samuel – Nintendo Switch Review

Manuel Samuel is a truly unique game scraped from the grey matter of developers Perfectly Paranormal. You play as Samuel, a spoilt and selfish man born into a rich family. After a well deserved beating from your now ex girlfriend Samuel finds himself stumbling into a busy road and is taken out by a massive truck.

Our moron of a protagonist wakes up in hell and is offered a second chance at life by the Grim Reaper. all you have to do to cheat death is survive twenty-four hours. The catch is that for the entirety of the day you will have to manually take charge of all of your faculties. You must inhale, exhale, blink and even keep your spine straight.

So lets start with game-play. Samuel’s breathing, blinking and movements are mapped to your joy-cons buttons. Alternating triggers moves your legs, A and Y buttons are for breathing and so on. The controls are intuitive and easy to use but its the combination of having to regulate Sam’s intake of oxygen while walking and even blinking while trying to complete tasks is where the challenge and hilarity lies.

Simple mundane tasks like having a wee or showering become uphill battles for young Samuel and it can be side-splittingly hilarious at times. So when your tasked with driving your car to work or piloting a mech-suit to battle a boss (yes it has boss battles) the game becomes a war of attrition between your patience and how many joy-cons you can afford to throw at the wall.

The humour of Manual Samuel is not going to be for everyone. The jokes are stupid and the character of Death will repeat the word faeces constantly. I would definitely say that it would appeal to fans of the incredible Monty Pythons and luckily I am a fan.

The characters aren’t the best written but I don’t think they were intended to be. Perfectly Paranormal are a zany and wacky studio who have their own sense of humour and style which Manual Samuel embodies perfectly. My favourite parts of the game are ultimately the art-style which is gorgeous and comic book inspired and the narrator. The narrator perfectly encapsulates the theme and feel of the game, every time he speaks it lifts the games experience as a whole.

I really enjoyed the set pieces of the game like driving around town trying to change gear while using the clutch and dodging grannies along the way. Absurd moments like fighting robots to save an orphanage or helping the character of War go on a killing spree in your car are not something you would expect to find in a game like this. The developers hit you with the unexpected and it all feels so out of place it just works.

Manual Samuel isn’t a long game. It’s two hours at the most but it does have achievements on the Switch to complete and a speed-running option which may add some replay-ability for gamer’s who like that padding in a game. In my opinion Manuel Samuel is meant to be a quick romp played on a journey or during lunch-breaks and any more than two hours would drag the game down and no-one would complete it. For the price of around a tenner your not going to have a huge amount of game-play for your buck but on the other hand its a fun and unique experience that suits the Switch perfectly. There are definitely worse games to spend a tenner on trust me.

Do you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments and as always for all things gaming stay tuned to ABG.


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  • 7.5/10
    Overall - 7.5/10
7.5/10

Summary

Adding to the Nintendo Switch’s ever expanding line up of story driven games, Manual Samuel is a unique and comical game that may be short and lack some replay-ability but it makes up for that with tonnes of character.

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