When I first encountered Superhot it was a free flash game on the Miniclip website, I played it, mildly enjoyed it and then toddled off to finish god knows what I was doing at that point in university.
However here I am face to face with it again, this time it’s sporting a £17.99 price tag, now you see I’m a suspicious man by nature so when I see what used to be a free game now selling for a not-so-modest amount mini alarm bells start to ring. Often I’m wrong or misguided but it only has answer one question to win me over and that is..What can i do in the paid version that I can’t do in the retail one?
To answer that we need to dive into Superhot in greater detail, the flash game that I mentioned previously was a playable prototype, a great marketing ploy that I believe payed off. It instantly shows, and allows, the player to get accustomed to the unique mechanic that the game is built around. This is the primary element of the game and one that sets it apart from the other shooters on the market, and it’s about time we had some diversity in that aspect, but this is hardly a shooter at all. It plays more like a puzzle game.
How Superhot operates is that time only moves when you do. For example when you or your opponents fire a shot the bullets hang in the air until your avatar moves that restores the flow of time, which can lead to some action movie moments that remind me of some scenes in The Matrix. In short this game excels at making you feel like a bad-ass. Everyone can die in one shot, however this also applies to you.
The aesthetic is perfect for this game. When the bullets, bats or fists connect the character models shatter with the most satisfying effect, there have been complaints that the models are not detailed enough, however I feel that red polygon figures contrasted against the sterile white background gives incredible clarity that the game needs to make it work. It could have easily thrown in elaborate set pieces yet its the feng shui of the game that really draws you in to the world.
People have been criticizing the length of the story when comparing it to the £17.99 price tag and I can understand where they’re coming from, the story plays heavily on the meta atmosphere that has been running rampant on steam the last few months (Pony Island and Calagula) It does a good enough job of keeping me entertained for a couple of hours, presenting the story through the template of an old 80s monitor, and the story would draw more praise if it hadn’t been released in the current meta-minefield.
The story is not the main meat of the game, there are loads of challenges, endless arenas and time trials to sink yourself into, it is the strongest puzzle game that I’ve discovered in years engrossing me far more than games like The Witness did, I can understand why people enjoy the calming arura that the atmosphere in that game creates but on a personal level I get more enjoyment of finally working out the optimal way to shoot a bunch of dudes in the head. Both games offer different types of puzzles for a different mindset.
There can be no doubt that Superhot is an innovative game although it’s longevity is still to be seen, there’s enough content and power-tripping here to justify the entry price.
Super! Hot! Super! Hot! Super! Hot!
Yeah I’d advise muting that bit.