Review: SUPERHOTApril 5, 2016
Superhot is a game I was waiting to play for some time now, having already played the beta version. It had one of the most innovative gameplay elements in FPS gaming, time moves when you do. Seems simple enough now, but why hadn’t anyone tried it? FPS games kept getting faster and louder, this one was doing the opposite. You were allowed to take it slow, and was a lot more quieter.
First thing you’ll see is some lovely fourth wall breaking to tie you into the story. You are introduced to an operating system called piOS, though what seems like a 4:3 CRT monitor. The OS has a desktop that looks similar to that of an old text based console. There is tons of ASCII art on here and the desktop looks fairly believable and is detailed. Every option works magnificently,even though it’s not related to the actual game. C:\ART\OTHER\RANDOM\HYPNO\diy.exe was the deepest folder level I could reach,which means the Dev did work pretty well on making this feel like a real PC. Plus it has weird whirring sounds and beeps like the PCs in the days of old. So many memories.
Random reminiscing aside, in the game your friend gives you a free cracked game (Yay,Piracy!) called superhot.exe which contains a few levels and the rest are password protected, but by some stroke of luck the game lets you ‘enter in’ so that you can experience the full game. Soon you realize you are addicted which leads to a few events. (I won’t spoil it for you,don’t worry!) While the game seems to have no story in the beginning, the game does show deeper meaning in the end that definitely relates to most gamers. It shows the inquisitive and adventurous nature of humans, it also shows what addiction can do to you.
Lets talk about the main reason that sets this game apart from the rest, the gameplay. It may be a ‘Action’ FPS, but it’s more of a ‘Puzzle’ FPS, In action FPS games mistakes are allowed, you run the wrong way, you get hit by a few bullets, then you attain cover and heal like magic. Classic Modern FPS formula. This one is a bit more different and strict. Get touched by a bullet or an enemy and you’re dead. That’s why you have so much time to think about your next move, think about the move your enemies are going to make. Is it worth taking that gun when you can use that time to dodge an oncoming bullet? Is that last bullet worth shooting when you can just throw the gun at his face, steal his Katana, and cut his friend instead? You have been given that time to prioritize enemies. To know which red guy is the most immediate threat to you is the key to most of these puzzles.
Unlike Max Payne 3, the time stopping feature isn’t just an advantage for you to use, but a necessity which you can’t play without. Every level is actually just 5 seconds long (Without the time stop feature), but played in real time, they would be feats impossible to perform, as you’d have neither the mental speed nor reflexes to complete the level. That’s why I love this game. Even with time to think, I end up failing, and never did I find it unjust. The game is barely 2-3 hours long but it does have a nice replay value in the form of challenges and endless modes. It’s a shooter that doesn’t need multiplayer to have won my heart.
On the flip side, there is little variation in game environments: the game just throws similar levels at you, one after another ,with short pauses in between. There is a ‘possession’ superpower that gets added to your skill list later, but there aren’t levels made specifically for that feature, so it’s for you to use when the going gets tough. There isn’t a wide variety of guns either, but that hardly matters in a game like this.
Yet another feature that sets this game apart from the rest is the art. The whole level is painted a matte white color, on which light and shadows play out beautifully. Besides this, there are only 2 other colors : red for enemies and black for weapons. Low poly Crystalline 3D models really look artistic and the effect they show off when they break into pieces is worthy of applause. The game graphics have a ‘Mirror’s Edge’ feel on it which I love. The way the game is in perpetual super slow motion while I stop moving is really a beautiful sight to see. Plus,all this is well polished and optimized,for an Indie Dev. The game ran at 1440p at 60FPS and didn’t drop a single frame on my 2 year old 280X. This is exactly the type of game i’d love to play in VR again, and the Devs have confirmed that the game will support VR in a future update.
This game was a treat to play, but gamers will find it tough to justify the cost of Rs.619 for a game that’s 2 hours long. Only defense I’d have is that it’s like paying for art. Maybe don’t buy it at full cost, but do buy it sometime. The fact that I felt sad that the game was over so quick, only means that I was enjoying the little time I had with it. SUPERHOT Team, if you are listening, please update the game with more levels and new adventures and add more game mechanics to it. Even without all that you have done a great job in terms of creativity.
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