Unlike hell, it’ll grow on ya!
I have to disclose right up front that I’ve never been a fan of platform speed running games, or speed running any game in general. I’m sure there’s a certain challenge to it that is rewarding, but I’ve always been the type who spends more time on levels trying to find the glitches, secrets, and easter eggs, and less time trying to shave a few seconds off the clock. In SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell, however, ain’t nobody got time for that!
I do love racing games, though, which is weird. I’ve spent countless hours on Need for Speed type of games trying to beat my ghost vehicle. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been conditioned in life to think that if I’m going fast, I’m either in a sports car, on my road bike, or playing a racing game. So, quite frankly, when I started to play this game, I wasn’t impressed. I kind of blinked my eyes at the end of the first few levels, furled my eyebrows, and said “Oooooooooook? Is that it?”
The game makes you feel like you’ve returned to the FPS times of Duke Nukem and Doom. The graphics are crude and abrasive, but this is by design. Granted, those games were small tunnels and rooms, and this is more open-world floating-above-a-pit-of-molten-hot-magma, but if you’re old enough to have played those games at length <cough> then it’s definitely a throwback. The main difference is, though, that there’s no one to kill, and you’re trying to play the game on fast-forward.
So yeah, I played for a bit, I think 20+/- minutes, and then went back to work. But alas, I can’t give a proper review without doing my due diligence, so I went back to it a second time. As the levels progress, the complexity of your tasks before reaching the end of the race does as well. You need to trigger certain devices, jump through some hoops, and throw your fireball ala Super Mario at stuff to light it on fire and trigger other mechanics. It was at this point that I realized that this is frankly a unique puzzle game with the focus on the stopwatch.
I was drawn in and kept playing.
Before I knew it, I was swearing and reaching for another glass of brandy, both of which are reliable signs that I’m enjoying myself. You see, once I got past my initial impression (first impressions last, right?) and opened myself up to an objective experience, I actually really liked it. I suppose that I fell victim to something that we all do too often: judging a book by its cover.
Now, I can confidently report that SEUM is actually a pretty cool game. If you’re into puzzle games, the pace at which you need to solve these is going to be quite unfamiliar, but like I tell my wife, sometimes it’s important to try something outside of your comfort zone. (Note: always a better conversation to have before, not after)
SEUM will make you jump, shoot, bounce, and of course run, all while dying a gory and glorious death.
The soundtrack is true to the heavy-metal style and feel of the game. It’s brutally hard to climb the leaderboard prominently displayed on the screen. I’m not sure how these other players trained so be that good, but it’s damn impressive. Just when you think you’ve done an excellent job, you look at your position, and <insert sad trombone sound>
I saw a meme the other day that said, if it’s called Metal <music> because it’s harder than Rock, then what would Diamond music sound like? Well, as far as difficulty is placing high on the board is concerned, this game is definitely diamond. I have to say I’m glad that I returned after my rage-quit and gave this an open, objective shot. SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell is definitely unique. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, it’ll make you more conscious of how much time you’re spending on various levels. Frankly, when you’re playing one of the more standard puzzle games, you’ll wonder why so much time has gone by without you dying a grizzly and horrible death.
In conclusion, I have to say I started out thinking this game was a 5. But, once I got past my preconceived notions, I can comfortably give it an 8. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another game that puts the pressure on when solving difficult tasks and it’ll certainly be one of the most unique additions to your Steam library.