Sunday, August 19, 2018

"Manual Samuel" Review

"Manual Samuel" is so intent on being quirky and surprising that it almost slips into the doldrums of predictability.

The premise is unsurprisingly odd. A trust fund baby who has taken his wealth and position for granted but is knocking on death's door after a car accident, Samuel is given a one-day challenge worthy of Instagram. If he can make it through a full day while controlling every part of his body manually, he'll get another shot at life.

On paper, it might seem fascinating to try to control a character's every function -- down to breathing and blinking -- with button presses, but in execution, the challenge is much more tedious than fascinating. Making Samuel do even the most basic tasks is an arduous chore, which is sort of the point. As a a result, "Manual Samuel" is all or nothing. Either you dig the setup and want to see it through, or you tire of it almost immediately and would rather delete the game than forge on.

Released two years ago on PS4, the game now comes to the Switch, where it has a better chance of catching on with an audience more accepting of its rough patches. If you're intrigued by the setup, you may want to give it a shot. Everyone else can just move along.
Publisher provided review code.

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