Manual Samuel Brings a New Standard of Laziness to Xbox One

Say hello to Manual Samuel, a video game character so lazy, you have to breathe for him.

Preview by Jaz Rignall, .

I haven't chuckled this hard at a game since… well. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a really good laugh over a game. But Perfectly Paranormal's Manual Samuel? It really cheered me up at the end of a busy first day of GDC.

As you can probably already tell by the screenshots, it looks like a stylized cartoon – something you might watch on Adult Swim late of an eve. It stars Samuel, a particularly rich fellow who apparently has it all. Girls. Moolah. The works. He doesn't have to lift a finger to do anything.

However, one fine day he loses an argument with a septic tank truck, meets Death, and subsequently attempts to bargain for his life. Death, in this game wearing a baseball cap and hoodie combo, thinks for a minute and has a proposition. If Samuel can live "manually" for 24 hours, Death will spare him. Of course, Samuel agrees to this, and this is where you, the player comes in – as the person responsible for helping Samuel live through his "manual" day.

Turns out that Sam is utterly incapable of doing anything himself. Even breathing. This you learn fairly quickly after discovering Sam lying in a crumpled heap on the floor. He starts turning blue until you press X on the joypad to take a breath in, and hit B to breathe out. Remember those buttons, because you'll be pressing those a lot. If you don't, Samuel will turn blue and keel over. And yes, I'm being serious. Throughout playing the game, you have to make Sam breathe. Oh, and blink too. That's important as well, because if you don't – and I forgot to blink a lot – the screen starts to fade out and blur until you can barely see anything.

Rounding out the fundamentals is pressing up on the D-pad to maintain Samuel's posture. If you don’t do that at regular intervals, he'll slump over and won't be able to walk properly. Speaking of which, walking is done using the trigger buttons, with left moving the left leg, and right moving the right. Timing is particularly critical to make Samuel walk, otherwise he looses his footing and falls to the ground. And you don't want to do that, if only because getting up requires you to press up, and then move the correct foot forward to stop yourself from accidentally doing the splits, which is surprisingly easy.

At this point, you might be wondering what the hell kind of game this is, and all I can say is that it's a damn funny one. Trying to get Samuel to move around sounds like a chore, but it's a real laugh. Getting the cadence right on his walking is just fun, and remembering to blink and breathe is just utterly ridiculous, but strangely absorbing. And we haven't even gotten to the game proper, yet.

In the short GDC demo I played, Samuel had to take a shower (using the bumper buttons to coordinate his hands to scrub his body correctly), empty his bladder (using the bumper buttons to help him pee straight – I failed and had to take another shower), put on some clothes (a nightmare QTE-type game of complicated button presses), eat some food (another button-pressing mini-game), and drink some coffee (you know how it works by now). And all the while I had to remember to breathe, walk properly, blink, and stand upright.

I can only liken Manual Samuel to the video gaming equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. It starts out hard, but once you start concentrating, you get into a zone where you can do it. Now combine that with a really funny cartoon character who has slapstick reactions to doing things wrong, and add in some seriously sarcastic in-game messaging telling you helpful things like when you forget to breathe, and you have Manual Samuel, one of the strangest – and funniest – games I've played in years.

Parts of the game reminded me of QWOP (look it up if you've never heard of it), and it's also part QTE game, but done in a way that's just really clever (and I hate QTE games). I just loved playing it, and can't wait to give it another go. I'm just really intrigued to see how Samuel's day pans out – and what other crazy crap the game is going to have me do.

There's no current release date as of yet, but the game is expected to be out sometime this year.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 11

  • Avatar for mattcom26 #1 mattcom26 2 years ago
    The gameplay doesn't necessarily sound "fun", but the concept is pretty amazing. I will take Jaz's word that this new spin on the walking simulator is enjoyable after the novelty wears off.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for dr134 #2 dr134 2 years ago
    Great preview. Sounds like an interesting game. Thanks for putting it on my radar.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for paraclete-pizza #3 paraclete-pizza 2 years ago
    Looks like a pretty interesting addition to the "fumblecore" genre, with its own mechanical and narrative innovations to set it apart from things like QWOP, CLOP, Octodad, and Surgeon Simulator.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for docexe #4 docexe 2 years ago
    Yeah, my first thought when reading of the control scheme was Octodad. It looks fun in any case.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Daikaiju #5 Daikaiju 2 years ago
    Good lord. it's Revenge of QWOP.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Challengeuser #6 Challengeuser 23 days ago
    That is a sensible blog site. What i’m saying is them. You’ve a lot of comprehending with this trouble, in so doing much eagerness. In addition , you know how you can also make most people rally associated with the item, clearly from your side effects. You have have some design right here thats not necessarily overly nice, although is really a proclamation the size of what exactly youre declaring. Brilliant employment, in fact. Charles Lynch
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Challengeuser #7 Challengeuser 15 days ago
    Merely wanna remark on few general things, The website pattern is perfect, the subject matter is really excellent : D. Buy cheap Autodesk Autocad Civil 3D 2019 for sale
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Challengeuser #8 Challengeuser 13 days ago
    Comprar seguidores brasileiros e reais permanentes no Instagram é com a Seguidores Brasil. Seguidores barato, rápido e confiável. O melhor site para comprar seguidores no instagram comprar seguidores instagram
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Challengeuser #9 Challengeuser 7 days ago
    self publishing is kind of difficult at first, but you can easily learn the tricks of the trade “ Bridel Kim
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Challengeuser #10 Challengeuser 7 days ago
    I and also my guys were actually digesting the great tips and tricks located on your website while immediately came up with a horrible feeling I had not thanked the web site owner for them. These boys happened to be so joyful to learn them and now have surely been taking pleasure in these things. We appreciate you being really kind and for settling on certain extraordinary subject matter millions of individuals are really wanting to be informed on. Our own honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Challengeuser #11 Challengeuser 4 days ago
    Hi I’m so glad I discovered your site, I genuinely found people by malfunction, while My partner and i was seeking on Askjeeve for something else, Nonetheless I will be here at this point and would just as to state cheers for the incredible post and a all round enjoyable blog (My partner and i also appreciate the theme/design), I don’t have the perfect time to look over everything at the moment but I’ve got bookmarked it and in addition included your own RSS feeds, so once i have time I will be back you just read extra, Please do keep up the great work. investigator
    Sign in to Reply