Review: SEUM is Speedrunning Brilliance

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It didn’t take me long to realise that I was going to love SEUM.

Before I’d even tackled the first of its 90+ levels I’d been won over by the fact that you play as a metalhead in pursuit of Satan, simply because he’s stolen your crate of beers. That’s after you’ve replaced your freshly severed arm with that of the demonic thief’s though, maimed with an expertly aimed vinyl record nonetheless. Yup, SEUM, or SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell to give it its full title, is a crazy game alright. But it’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

Your aim in each and every one of SEUMS’s levels is simple: reach the goal. Okay, so it’s not quite that simple as you need to do it in a certain amount of time while also avoiding the merciless onslaught of obstacles that stand in your way, but that is indeed the gist of it.

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Fireballs, mines, spikes, swinging blades, giant crevices; you name it and SEUM has probably got it. Satan really wants to get away, put his feet up and chill with the beers you paid for, so if you want to get them back you’ve really got to work for it. With its breakneck pace and crisp, responsive controls, however, it’s work you’ll quite happily jump into with both feet.

Played from a first-person viewpoint, SEUM is essentially a speedrunning platform game, requiring you to run and jump like your pants are on fire to negotiate small but brilliantly designed levels as quickly as possible. Simply running and jumping is seldom enough, however, with your newfound ability to hurl fireballs and make use of a range of supernatural power-ups also an absolute necessity. Within an hour of beginning SEUM, you’ll be defying the laws of gravity and chucking teleportation orbs around like second nature.

SEUM’s main course is served up in its “Single Player” mode, which is oddly titled seeing as there’s no multiplayer in sight. In any case, it’s a sprawling spreedrunner’s delight, offering nine floors of increasingly devious challenges. Along the way, eagle-eyed players may want to watch out for cans of beer hidden in obscure places too, as collecting those will unlock even more levels for you to swear your way through.

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You see, SEUM can truly be devilish at times, but it’s never really at fault. You’ll often know what you’ve got to do, but you just won’t get your head around how to do it fast. You’ll try, try and then try again, until you finally have a eureka! moment and pass with flying colours. At that point however, you’ll then have an online leaderboard thrust in your face which’ll goad you to have just one more go to try and better your friends, your enemies, and well, just everyone really.

Once you’re done with the game’s original slew of levels, which will take you a long time I’d wager, you can then tackle additional levels in Extended Play. These are truly fiendish, trust me, though it didn’t stop me from feverishly attempting to get the number one spot on at least one of them before elatedly retiring. And then there’s Speedrun mode, which allows you to play groups of levels all in one go provided you’ve already beaten them. There’s even a hardcore option for those who are particularly brave/stupid/masochistioc (delete as necessary).

For true long-term fun however, SEUM’s Endless mode does exactly what it says on the tin; provide you with an endless challenge. You’ll run, jump and hurl fireballs like an absolute madman, forever moving forward so as to avoid being minced up by an ever advancing wall of death. Chances are you won’t get that far but that’s the point. Every time you play is slightly different. But every time you play is also an opportunity to place highly on the leaderboards and most importantly have fun.

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Featuring a metal soundtrack that always has you pumped for the action and generally good presentation throughout, perhaps the weakest aspect of SEUM is its visuals. They aren’t necessarily bad, but they don’t do much to impress either, with level geometry being rather basic and textures rather bland. Still, the framerate is buttery smooth and load times are fairly quick, so it’s hard to get hung up on the fact that the visuals don’t have the wow factor.

If you’re a fan of challenging platformers or find yourself drawn to the ever popular art of speedrunning, SEUM is a title that you definitely shouldn’t resist. While its exterior is loud and more than a little bit loco, its gameplay is skillful, balanced and furiously addictive, creating a package that entertains from start to finish and then some. To buy SEUM is to love SEUM, and then spend your time obsessing over its online leaderboards as you vie to be number one. Who needs beers when you have glory?

SEUM is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. We reviewed the Xbox One version of the game.