SUPERHOT is a rare, one-of-a-kind game that’s executed to near perfection. It’s built around the simple premise that time only moves when the player does, a mechanic that makes every action thoroughly considered and every victory bloody ravishable.
I must not reveal too much, for you are not yet ready to know the nature of the system. Who am I to disobey?
It’s incredibly satisfying to pull these feats off. In simpler terms - the game's fucking badass!
Just be aware that you’re in for a trippy treat. Whilst the story will continue to hold untold mysteries, the gameplay is placed front and centre and that’s an area we’re more than happy to delve further into.
Equal parts puzzler, first person shooter, addictive arcade perfectionism and condensed awesome, SUPERHOT plays slowly and tactically moment-to-moment. Despite a methodical pace, movement - and with it the progression of time - is a necessity that makes decision making akin to spinning plates. You need to move to have your projectiles travel, to reload your gun, and obviously to position yourself; meanwhile, enemies are progressing in the same way. This means that if you aren't acutely aware of your surroundings - you elect to fire a shot instead of dodging the bullet encroaching from a blind spot, for example - you will suffer consequence in death and have to restart a short way back. Lost progress is never significant enough to frustrate, and you’re instantly back into the action, making for that moreish “one more go” mentality.
With progression, the difficulty is ramped-up as more Red Dudes, less cover and a range of new weapons are introduced. Each weapon behaves differently, requiring a specific tactic to be employed both in eliminating those pointing the business end at you and in wielding it yourself. Ammunition is quick to run dry and most melee weapons break, meaning it pays to diversify and be able to switch on a whim. A body swapping mechanic is also introduced relatively late into the game, which helps with escaping a pinch and erecting creative kill opportunities.
Now the reason we adore SUPERHOT quite so much, is that when these elements come together, they provide an ultimate power fantasy. When you play SUPERHOT, you are Neo from the Matrix. In what other game can you routinely throw your empty pistol at an enemy’s face, catch the airborne firearm they lost in the scuffle and use it to finish them off? That isn’t enough to convince you? How about slicing a bullet out of the air with a katana? Realising a bullet’s about to hit you and switching to the offending sender so that they end up killing themselves? Jumping over a moving car to effortlessly land and punch a guy’s head off? We thought so. It’s incredibly satisfying to pull these feats off. In simpler terms - the game’s fucking badass!
Every enemy shatters as though made of glass, the impressive particle effects viewable at a speed of your choosing as they crumble to the ground. Whilst this rewards each and every kill, a regular-speed replay of your handiwork awaits as reward for clearing a level. They serve to further trumpet the inhuman badassery you just pulled off, and you’ll watch them every time.
SUPERHOT Team have produced an instant indie classic.
Whilst the main story is quite short at around 2 - 3 hours from start to finish, the bulk of the game is unlocked thereafter with challenges, endless survival mode and speedruns becoming available. Add to this another playthrough to uncover all of the hidden secrets, as well as tons of micro-features for you to fiddle with on the main menu, and there’s a lot of content here. For those that lament the campaign’s length regardless, know that this structure is contextualised, but when the gameplay loop is the main hook, we see no problem at all.
The added modes do unfortunately make use of the same levels, which can lead to them feeling somewhat repetitive, whilst online leaderboard functionality would have encouraged replayability through competition. We may be committing a cardinal sin by all but revealing the score early, but in the absence of these small foibles, for us, SUPERHOT would be a faultless 10/10 game.
Through a simple aesthetic that’s clean, bright and beautiful, along with truly unique and superlative gameplay, SUPERHOT Team have produced an instant indie classic. If the game sounds remotely interesting to you - which it should if you like fun - do the industry a favour and pick it up. We need to support this kind of creativity.