Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem – Review

Release Date
January 25, 2022
Devolver Digital
Croteam, Timelock Studio
Reviewed on

Sam Stone’s story expands in Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem. For this adventure, our pun making defender of Earth is heading to Siberia to follow up on the lead on the Holy Grail. The temperatures may be sub-zero but a little combat is more than enough to heat things up.

Siberian Mayhem is a stand alone expansion to the series. The game originally started life as a mod from Timelock Studio, before the developers at Croteam took interest and brought the team into the fold. The game has since grown into the adventure it is now.

Serious Sam controls like your typical FPS, but is more in line with classics of the genre. Sam is a walking arsenal with access to a dozen or so different weapons at any given time. If you’ve played games like Doom, then you know what you’re getting into.

Special orbs grant an ability point which Sam can use to upgrade his abilities. Will you choose the way of dual wielding weapons, or down the route of beast tamer? The choice is yours.

Using the N and M keys, the player can cycle through support items that could potentially tip the odds in Sam’s favor. They can use them by pressing the Z button.

Personally, I don’t really like the fact that Sam has so many support items. When I’m playing a classic arena shooter, I don’t really pay attention to anything else besides the wave of enemies that come barreling into view. Don’t get me wrong, some of these items are very powerful, but the longer I play the game, the more I realized that they are one time emergency use only. Some of the more game breaking items, I have only found once throughout the game, and that made me what to save them till it was absolutely necessary.

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem only has 5 levels to it. Which is usually is a cause for concern. But rest assured, each of these levels take more than an hour to finish. Factoring in exploration, hidden secrets, and sidequest, the game has more than a dozen hours of run time. The levels are also high score based too, meaning players who want to test themselves with leaderboards can give the game try.

Combat in Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem is quite simple, players make their way towards an objective marker (sometimes on a vehicle), and every so often they trigger an encounter that spawns waves of enemies. There is a decent amount of enemy types on offer, which is nice. Better still, the variety encourages the player to change weapons and tactics on the fly. That part I appreciate greatly.

The most fun I’ve had in encounters usually involved wide spaces wherein aim and weapon choose made all the difference. I’ve also had fun in fights that involved bounce pads, but those encounters are few and far between. I really disliked tunnel encounters. Movement is what makes games like these fun. Taking it away removes all the fun out of it.

On a final note about the combat, there are a few “boss fights” in the game. But it almost doesn’t matter since I only encountered bosses either in hidden teleportation rooms or at the final boss fight. Which was an intense fight from start to finish. This, along with the pipe-turning mini-game, were the only times when I wasn’t fighting waves of enemies. Which, looking back, is kind of disappointing.

The visuals in Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem are impressive. For a game that’s very simple in design, the fact that environments and enemies can look this good while not sacrificing performance, is noteworthy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else in terms of visual variety. There’s plenty of snow and desolate locations, but that’s about it. There are retro levels that’s like a throw back to classic games. You can consider that an occasion mix up to the sights.

There is no real background music to speak of. Russian instruments do play from time to time. Otherwise it’s just calm and quiet. That is until the enemies start spawning in. And to be honest, I kind of zone out during the walking segments and the only time I spring to life is when rock music kicks in. It’s not too bad, but it’s quite telling when the game only runs on two gears.

As for the story? Look… it’s Serious Sam, it is what it is. If you’re looking for a good story or compelling characters, you’re looking at the wrong game. Sam does drop a lot of puns, but that alone doesn’t carry it in the writing department. The rest of the cast are mostly forgettable. They have a moment or two that got a chuckle out of me, only because ‘Serious’ Sam was telling a joke.

The game is fun to play and that should be enough for it be better than most other arena shooter games.

All in all, Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem is a fun shooter. The gameplay and the visuals are best things about the game. However, you can skip all the cutscenes and know nothing of the story and it won’t lessen the experience. The same goes for when you play the game online with friends. It’s pretty much the same game, but with more enemy spawns that keep it from getting too boring. When the game goes on sale, this might be worth checking out, along with friends.

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem – Review
Score Definition
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you have to admit it is a “Good” game.
Remains true to the strengths of the series
Worthwhile sidequests
Encourages use of different guns as the situation demands
Combat feels best in wide arenas
Lots of secrets to uncover
Game is most frustrating in tight corridors
Not much of a story to speak of
Forgettable characters
Encounters that switch gameplay up are too few