Nov 29, 2013
Okay, I have no idea what to say about Bitter Sam, content-wise. It’s a game with very simple and understandable mechanics, but when you actually try to understand what the hell is going on in there, your thoughts start to hurt a bit. It’s about a strange furry creature that kinda looks like a man in a suit, and is not more than three inches tall. He is literally hanging by a thread, held by some crazy scientists, descending into some dangerous caverns with unclear intentions. I frankly can’t fathom what is going on in there, but Bitter Sam is living up to his name, being quite a miserable little bastard throughout. Seriously, the dude is so utterly soul-crushed that he actually smiles when he dies. He’s being on an emotionally-destructive level of the first several minutes of The Land Before Time, and the game is being quite schadenfreudian about this. Despite the main hero being sadder than a rock star’s 28th birthday, it’s really fun and casual.
As Bitter Sam descends into darkness that is his subconscious â€“ and deep underground â€“ the player needs to swerve him away from obstacles by tilting the device. The kicker is that not only is Sam vulnerable to the hard surfaces and spikes, but the rope is, as well. It bends around the solid surfaces, and cuts on sharp things, so the player needs to be careful about where he moves the hero. The levels are not infinite, and only require surviving for some time, as well as collecting three stars that are hanging in various places. There are just a few pick-ups in the game, and they are all strategically placed. The most common one is a pig that can be picked up to smash through a single obstacle (smashing the pig in the process, but whatever). The levels are very strict, and the goal is not to make your own way through them, but guess the correct path, in order to pick up all stars and not get caught up in the obstacles. There are no lives and tries, so a single mistake means replaying the whole level from the beginning. Levels aren’t really long, but it does take some patience to replay a difficult section over and over, without starting to feel a bit like the main hero. Overall, Bitter Sam is a fine little arcade with unusual premise. A bit repetitive, and a bit irritating at times, but fun overall.