PS4 Review: Manual Samuel

Can you survive for 24 hours?

Manual Samuel is a game where you naturally play as a guy called Sam. Sam is a spoilt brat who is killed after being run over by a septic tank and sent to Hell. There he meets Death who cuts him a deal, survive 24 hours by manually doing everything such as blinking, walking and breathing by pressing various buttons. The trigger buttons move Sam’s legs, while the d-pad will make him stand up when his spine goes. You have to keep on breathing in with Square and exhaling with Circle. You also have to keep blinking with X or your vision will go weird.
All of this poses a number of issues getting around in the game. It’s almost impossible to focus on one thing for Sam to do as you have to constantly keep check of his breathing and blinking, while later levels make you drive as well, adding in even more things to remember and more buttons to press. Let’s just say I can see why they added a co-op option in here, it’ll be a lot easier to keep track of Sam’s physical needs if it’s split between two players.

The visual style looks like a throwback to a 90s cartoon, while the voice-acting sounds like it too. Think of something like Ren and Stimpy meets Beavis and Butthead and you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect.
The game itself is pretty short, but it is a budget title at just under £7 on the PlayStation Store…so that’s to be expected. It’s also pretty good for the price, although it’s clear that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Keeping track of Sam’s needs while trying to push forward is both frustrating and rewarding, it all boils down to which way it’ll push you more towards while playing.

The Verdict

Manual Samuel is one frustrating, yet memorable outing. It stands out by being just so different, but it is a real challenge to play and remain calm. It’ll definitely divide opinion, but most will agree that it is fun but really annoying at the same time.

Score: 8.0