Welcome to a new regular feature here at Gamecritics –This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.
The subject of this installment: SEUM: Speedrunners From Hell by Pine Studio
SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell is, in short, a first-person Super Meat Boy-inspired platformer with a heavy metal flair and a dash of Quake‘s speed thrown in for good measure.
As implied by the subtitle, SEUM is all about how fast you can go — finding that perfect jump to shave a few fractions of a second off of a personal best, figuring out clever ways around obvious routes, and being the quickest on the scoreboard by tenths of a second.
The first few maps seem simple enough: Get from A to B while dodging fireballs and bladed pendulums as you jump between suspended platforms.
As you go deeper into the game’s 100 levels, SEUM starts to introduce new mechanics that add to the complexity. For example, by the end of my time with it, I was having to light braziers with fireballs to open obstructing gates while teleport-jumping up two vertical walls. Another level required flipping gravity over and over again to ‘fly’ to the end. Yet another stage introduced disappearing/reappearing blocks that any Mega Man fan would immediately recognize.
SEUM isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination… which is kind of the point. While the later levels I saw require a fair bit of puzzle solving, the true heart of play relies upon having the skill to be pixel-perfect with timing. That talent is not one I possess, but I still had an entertaining time even though I know I’ll never be at the top of the charts.
The biggest concern I have for SEUM is how well the first-person camera is going to do with this style of play. That viewpoint is hardly the best for any platformer, and when speed and precision are so important to the genre, it could end up being more of a hindrance than it’s worth. Only a closer look at the final (and I assume most complex) levels will be able to fully address this worry. If the rest of the game is like what I saw, however, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Much like Super Meat Boy, every level I saw lasted no more than a few minutes, with some able to be finished in seconds. For those who enjoy taking their time and exploring, however, there are a series of collectable beer cans peppered about some stages. Like Meat Boy’s bandages, they add an extra bit of challenge for completionists.
Why beer cans? Because you’re a thirsty trucker and demons stole your beer, that’s why.
Seum: Speedrunners From Hell is currently available on Steam.