Serious Sam: The Random Encounter

Serious Sam: The Random Encounter Review

"Man, I hate puzzles," says Serious Sam at one point during The Random Encounter. The irony, of course, is that the game is almost all puzzle. It's a bizarre spin on the turn-based combat of Japanese RPGs; an adventure in which success depends on figuring out the right combinations of weapons you'll need to tackle the combinations of enemies you're faced with. And then figuring out the right order for your combinations of weapons. And the angle of fire. And...

If that's not enough to get you excited, fans of Croteam's magnificently straightforward blaster should also note that Vlambeer, the imaginative Dutch developer behind this arcadey treat, has also crafted the purest game yet when it comes to the pleasures of running backwards and shooting things. It's a hymn to running backwards. It's a testimonial dinner in honour of shooting things. It's weird and spectacular and it refuses to outstay its welcome. It's like a dinner guest who tells brilliant stories for two hours and then suddenly dives through a window and races off down the street.

The Random Encounter is one of a trio of indie games commissioned to promote Serious Sam 3, and it's the one that's always looked the most interesting. The easiest description of Vlambeer's effort is "a JRPG by people who don't have a clue about JRPGs". A slightly more enthusiastic one might be, "A JRPG by the people who made Super Crate Box, the best arcade game of 2010."

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