Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is the most recently released game in the Serious Sam series, being the first turn-based RPG (role-playing game) developed by Vlambeer, and being the newest part of the Serious Sam Indie Series. Vlambeer are a little known Dutch independent game studio, made up of Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman, who have already created Super Crate Box and Radical Fishing. With this new game of theirs, they have created a title about running backwards and shooting hundreds of enemies in the face with heavy weaponry, and explosions. Its a completely different type of game than what we have all been used to in Serious Sam, a series that, normally, is all about the usual FPS style we have all become accustomed too.
The Random Encounter begins with Serious Sam sent into a teleporter, only to return seconds later with some bad news: “The first Encounter didn’t go so well”. It’s a funny into sequence that perfectly displays the offbeat humor we can expect to see continued. Vlambeer have decided to stick with keeping the game look very retro indeed, and throughout, The Random Encounter feels like a early 1980’s game. Its very basic looking with some nicely detailed pixel art and mechanics. The gameplay is really simple and it won’t take you long at all to get the hang of what is going on.
This game has three worlds, a handful of stages and five nasty bosses to defeat. You can tell this game has been developed on the cheap, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes cheap is good and this ain’t too bad. The battle system is easy to master, and the game will keep you smiling and playing till the end, although due to the short nature of the game, the end is never that far away. It only took me just over an hour to complete, however, there is a endless score system that you unlock upon completion. If you have enjoyed the game on your first play through and want to see how larger score you can achieve in an endless fight, you might enjoy this.
The gameplay and controls in The Random Encounter are simple, you only use the arrow keys and the [z] key here to play the entire game. You and your two sidekicks constantly run backwards on single screen levels, fleeing from the onslaught of enemies that we are all used to seeing in Serious Sam games, while raining down heavy fire of the beasts. Every five seconds, the game is paused and you have to decide upon your next strategy. Here, you have to choose your weapons – of which there are a few options: a handgun, a shotgun, and missile launcher or hand grenade – for you and each sidekick.
During these pauses, you also have the options to heal a player for your next turn, or even use a special weapon, of which there are only a few. Oh! and no you can’t just run away like a big sissy, you need to stand and fight. This is Serious Sam we are talking about, where running is for wimps. The other side to the gameplay are the small maps of each world where you have to move between treasure chests that hold loot such as new weapons or special items like health. After every few steps you move on the map you are attacked again and the turn-based game comes back into play. What really keeps you going is trying not to die by loosing all your three characters in a battle, and the story is also pretty entertaining and well worth seeing through till the end.
The Random Encounter is a very small game and was only created really for publicity for the upcoming Serious Sam 3 game. It is very much a quick lunch time game, one you will play for a quick fix before getting on with your day. I quite enjoyed it, enough to finish it to the end, which is strange as it’s nothing new at all and has all been done before. If you are a Serious Sam fan this is a game for you. If you have never heard or played a Serious Sam title, however, do not start here, go and check out the full Serious Sam games first.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10