Story: You just wanted to kick back, drink a beer, and listen to some metal, but your new record has opened a dimensional portal and now, a horrific demon is at the door and he is pissed off. He lops off your arm and takes off with your beer, but you aren’t going to let the loss of a limb keep you down. Instead, you use the record to sever the demon’s arm as well, then graft it to your own body to replace your phantom limb, in an unholy medical procedure of some kind. Now that you are more or less whole again, it is time to settle the score with the demon and venture into Hell itself. But why risk certain death in the flames of eternal damnation? To get your beer back, of course.
Entertainment Value: A colorful, fun narrative kicks off the game, which then throws you into hellfire with one mission, to make it to the end of the level, but you need to be quick about it. As you should be able to tell from the title alone, SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell is all about speed and even if you make it to the goal, you might fail the level if you’re too slow. I mean, it is bad enough if you come up just short and have to start the level again, but when Satan himself mocks you? That’s really a bummer. The game offers immense challenge, but starts you off simple, just having you run down a closed hallway as fast as you can. This lets you get a feel for the controls, then as you progress, more and more mechanics are introduced and implemented. So you learn you can shoot fire from your demon hand, which then ignites braziers and activates platforms. At first this is a simple task, but soon you need to launch fireballs in mid-stride and use creative angles, lest you waste precious seconds. Needless to say, things get wild and you’ll be in all kinds of harrowing situations and need to unleash your abilities in efficient fashion, including manipulation of gravity itself. But if you want your beer, you need to tour the different circles of Hell, so you better learn the levels.
Most of the levels consist of a series of platforms resting over the fires of Hell, so one slip and you’re cooked. But a quick button press lets you restart the level, so it’s a simple process if you know you’ve goofed up. You need to time your jumps and do so as you speed toward the level’s exit, while a wealth of obstacles exist to ensure you never make it close. As if falling in lava wasn’t enough, you have saw blades, spikes, and other traps that are an instant kill and can appear in places you least expect. So while you need to be quick, also be aware of potential hiding spots and replay levels to nail down the most efficient path. The campaign is just one part of SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell however, a fun part for sure, but just one element. You can also choose an endless run mode, which spawns randomly generated paths to traverse. While the campaign lets you adjust as you progress, the endless mode has no such mercy and is all too pleased to crush your soul right from the start. Speedrunners from Hell is a tough game, but it has good controls that give you a fighting chance, at least. I do feel like the controls are a little floaty at times, but never to a severe degree, just enough to notice from time to time in certain movement patterns. So if you like a challenge or are a speedrun addict, SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell is recommended. But be prepared to die a lot, though the DOOM inspired visuals should offer you some comfort.