Everyone once in a while, a game comes along that not only wows you visually, but offers something truly unique to sink your gaming time into. Superhot was that game for me. I had seen Superhot mentioned before across the web and with varying reports on what it was. Superhot was a game that came out of a game jam and the resulting fervor around it’s unique gameplay caused the developers to spend enough time to build something truly worthwhile around this unique premise. Is there enough game here though to warrant a purchase or is this a one trick pony that shows it’s hand early in the game only to super slow down by the end? Let’s find out.
If you aren’t familiar with what Superhot is, it can best be described as a first person shooter, puzzle game. There is a story, sort of, that revolves around you as a person sitting in front of a computer talking with your friend about some “game” called superhot.exe. Your friend will send you a cracked version of the game to your desktop and you’ll load into it. When you load in, you see things in first person with the entire world a shade of white with humanoid shapes in red that all seem to want to kill you. Standing still, time will move incredibly slow. It’s not until you move when the world will move at normal speed with every red person using whatever tools they have at their disposals to end your existence. The trick in Superhot, is determining how to eliminate your foes while dodging their attacks and bullets which seem to come at you from all corners of the level. You’ll have a number of tools at your disposal, the first being the ability to stop time by not moving. Standing still will allow you to examine your surroundings and figure out how to attack this rooms puzzle of eliminating all of the enemies. You need to be careful though because enemies bullets will speed up when you move and if you’re caught in it’s path, you’re done for.
Thankfully, the game gives you a number of tools to ensure that deaths are your fault, and your fault alone. But death isn’t the end all of the game. There is no game over screen – instead, a death is a learning opportunity to find a new piece of info to complete a level. A nice tutorial of sorts will guide you through your first couple levels. You’ll soon learn that hitting an enemy three times with your hands will kill them and throwing things at people will stun them and others with guns will make them throw their gun in the air for you to catch. You’ll soon learn that this is an immensely satisfying experience as you’ll throw a bottle at a machine gun wielding enemy, catch their gun in the air when they lose control of it, then pop them in the face for a super stylish ending. The difficultly curve will ramp up slowly as well. In the beginning, you may die a few times as you begin to understand how the game operates, but within 20 minutes or so, you’ll be popping off enemies with ease. Judging distances and moving speed will become an art that you’ll have to master as your low capacity weapons will need to be aimed with precision to ensure that you survive to complete the level. As the game’s difficulty ramps up, you’ll find that your failures will far outnumber successes. But rest assured that with each death comes a piece of the puzzle that you’re learning.
As I stated earlier, there is a story here, but it’s certainly not the main attraction. As someone who enjoys stories in games, I was happy to see that there was at least something to push the game along and it honestly kept me guessing what the heck was going on. It’s a unique story and one that will reveal itself in small enough chucks so as to drag you along from puzzle to puzzle. I found myself stressing about getting one more level done so I could see where the developers were going with this game. The gameplay is super sweet, but the story is also super good enough to keep you pushing through well into the night.
Superhot is a breath of fresh air in video game form. It introduces you to it’s mechanics gradually, keeps you invested with it’s gameplay, intrigues you with it’s story, and then ends it all before wearing out it’s welcome. There are additional endless modes that you can come back to when you finish the game, but I felt like the main game was enough for me. It’s an extremely unique game that was a blast to play. It’s rare that a game mechanic is so fresh and well executed to have me recommend the game based solely on it’s gameplay. It’s something you just need to experience, and once you do, I’m positive it’ll get it’s hooks in you.