On Steam, the second tag for SUPERHOT is ‘First Person Shooter’ (FPS). In reality, the FPS aspect is just a disguise for a unique puzzle experience, unlike anything seen before.
The concept is simple; kill the red guys with whatever weapons and objects you can find. What makes SUPERHOT different from other, more typical shooters is the time manipulation, as when you’re not moving, the enemies and their bullets move at a snail’s pace, almost to the point where it’s stood still. You have time on your side to carefully plan your manoeuvres and react to your surroundings, meaning the glowing red men have no element of surprise. Every death is preventable by being more aware.
Three modes are available: Story, which consists of around 30 levels and a lot of meta interactions, including having to completely quit the game to progress. Without spoiling too much, the premise is that your friend has recommended you the game SUPERHOT.exe, but the game essentially becomes self aware.
Challenge and Endless are the other two modes which only become available once you’ve completed the story, which will only take around two to three hours at most. Challenges are mainly limitations or speedruns in the main story missions such as only using the katana, whilst Endless is SUPERHOT’s version of popular wave/horde modes in other games.
Despite being repetitive, the instant replay function assigned to the R key means it becomes one of those ‘just one more go’ games rather than getting tiresome. Levels are built in such a way that you’ll find yourself sticking to one area and only ‘hotswitching’ into enemies as a form of travel - jumping from your character to the body of an enemy, killing your previous model in the process. They don’t always charge directly at you either; if they’re unequipped and there’s a weapon lying around nearby, they’ll often aim for that, leaving themselves open if you opt to intercept before they target you.
White, black and red are the only three colours that make up the visually striking palette of SUPERHOT. White for the walls and surroundings, red for all enemies, and black for anything you can interact with. Though the minimalism looks aesthetically pleasing, it’s also necessary. If there was high levels of detail and different textures, both enemies and bullets would be harder to identify and dodge. It’s one of the rare cases where minimalism enhances gameplay, rather than being minimalist for the sake of it.
As it’s a first person perspective, it can be difficult to judge when a bullet is going to hit you or whether you’ve evaded the trajectory successfully. It’s such a simple fix; bullets should be red when they’re going to hit you, and black when they’re not. Removing this simple issue and SUPERHOT is arguably a flawless game. It’s clear the developers knew what they wanted the end product to be and they achieved it. It’s polished and refined, but the main question is how enjoyable is it to play?
It does cost £17.99 currently, which some may consider steep for a two hour story mode and basic challenges, but it all depends on how much of a completionist you are. A worthwhile experience, though the content may be too little for some.
Like every game, it’s subject to your personal tastes. But whilst it’s easy to compare something like Call of Duty to Battlefield, SUPERHOT is an experience like no other. Seeing the game for yourself would be the easiest way to gauge if it interests you or not, so here's the OMGPlays video review of SUPERHOT.
By Ford James