Manual Samuel PS4 Review
Imagine if suddenly, most of your bodily functions that would normally work automatically, had to be done manually. Meaning that you have to remember to breathe, blink, think about putting each foot in front of the other, making sure you are stood up straight. Well that’s what happens to the titular character of Manual Samuel.
Samuel, a young rich man never having had to do anything for himself suddenly dies in a horrible accident. He is then offered a chance at life again, but only if for a day he can live “manually”, as described above. He must then do challenging things such as get up and get dressed, drive a car, go to work. It makes everything into work and sucks the potential fun out of every aspect of the game.
I can imagine there would be some novelty in getting a few friends to look at how strange the game is, that might get a couple laughs but there are better games that already do that sort of thing. There’s more humour to be found in playing things like Octodad or Surgeon Simulator. Manual Samuel tries to be funny, but there’s no jokes here, it struggled to make me laugh.
The characters are rubbish as well. For a large part of the game you are followed around by Death, who for some reason in this incarnation is dressed more like a skater and keeps trying to do kickflips on his skateboard all the time. He comes across as incredibly obnoxious, and it’s very annoying to hear things “I’m gonna to do a kickflip right now” repeated several times over the course of a level. The whole game is also accompanied by a narrator who is never funny and also repeats jokes too many times.
The repetition of lines is a consistent problem, as there are a few that are actually funny but the game’s tendency to repeat them beats them into the ground and removes any laughter once I’ve heard a line for the tenth time in the space of a couple minutes.
It feels like it goes on for much too long as well, even though it only takes roughly an hour and a half to get through the entire game. It’s a novelty that wears thin much too fast, I’d say within the first couple of levels it loses any likelihood of being fun. Not only does it do that, but it gets even worse over the course of the game with the final level being quite possibly one of the worst I’ve ever played in a while.
The final two levels in the game introduce combat and all of the timing required to land hits and block enemy attacks feels completely off. The final encounter is the worst for it, as it introduces new mechanics right at the end, and has to tell you how they work as you’re fighting. It’s unintuitive and leaves the player with too much time not knowing what they’re doing before eventually the game decides to let you know.
Towards the end it even drops things like having to manually breath because it’s as if the game knows that it’s become annoying, that most actions have become busywork. That’s all this game is, busywork.
I can’t recommend Manual Samuel to anyone, it’s an awful game. A comedy game devoid of a sense of humour that is only interested in sucking all potential fun out of itself and replacing it with outright frustration. I mean, the game works and all but it’s never good, it’s a bad experience.