It’s not a question that’s posed everyday, but if you take the only answer available that I know of, you’ll cut off his hand, attach it to your own arm and then follow him into Hell to get it back. That’s the premise of SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell. Seriously. And do you know what? If you’ll humour it for a moment, you’re likely to have some fun.
SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell (hereafter SEUM:SfH!) is a boisterous, loud game. The soundtrack is metal. The imagery is Metal. Even the name is METAL. It comes as no surprise to discover that developer Headup Games refer to it as “the world’s only competitive heavy-metal first person platformer” as that’s exactly what it is. The other phrase it brought to my mind, if it exists, is “twitch platformer”.
Game modes are either level based or endless running. The endless running option spawns a new labyrinth on every respawn and is as hard as nails. The level-based adventure starts out a little easier, but rapidly also becomes as hard as nails. Complete a number of levels and you’ll be able to progress down into the next circle of Hell – which you want to do as that’s where your beer’s gonna be. Each level is timed, with global and friend based leaderboards front and centre at the end of every level – competitive play is a core part of the game’s DNA, and you might well find yourself revisiting levels to shave precious tenths of seconds off a run.
It transpires that Hell is not paved with good intentions OR frozen door-to-door salesmen, instead the ground is lava, and each level consists of a series of platforms suspended high above it. Your mission is to run from one end of the course to the other in a VERY short amount of time. Fall off a platform, and you die. Obstacles such as spikes, disappearing platforms, swinging axes and spinning circular saws need to be navigated over, around or under. Touch one, and you die. Fail to get to the end in time, and you die. The game is hard, and you’ll die a lot. Each time you do, the Devil taunts you with a little insult. You’ll shake it off and try again.
Visually, the cues are very much being taken from Doom and Quake – the game wears its influences like a badge of honour. The graphics look like an upscaled version of either of those games, but most impressive is the sheer pace at which they fly by. To say that SEUM: SfH is fast would be an understatement – it runs faster than the crowd heading for the moshpit at a Slipknot concert.
SEUM: SfH is one of those wonderful ‘pick up and play’ games. The premise is paper-thin, and it doesn’t matter because the gameplay is immediate. It doesn’t require lengthy explanations or exposition or tutorials, it throws you in and relies on its simplicity to carry you through – and it succeeds.
Some people might be put off by the difficulty and imagery – but if you’re in the mood for something different, this is worth a look. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s fast, furious and a lot of fun once you’re in the swing of it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but offers a serious challenge nonetheless.
SEUM: Speedrunners From Hell will be available on 22nd September 2017 on the Xbox Store, for £11.99.
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SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell is a lightning fast first-person platformer that’s packed with attitude. It’s a lot of fun but you might be put off by the difficulty, or if heavy metal isn’t your can of beer.