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March 20, 2016 | by  | in Games |
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SUPERHOT

★★★★

Developer: Superhot Team

Publisher: Superhot Team, IMGN.PRO

Platform: PC (Windows, OS X, Linux), Xbox One

 

First created as part of a game jam back in 2013 and funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Superhot could have easily been another overly ambitious indie project that failed to live up to expectations. Instead it steps out of that dark shadow and achieves much of what it set out to do, but not before it fucks with your head.

The core concept behind Superhot is that “time only moves when you move,” an idea that is so simple you wonder why nobody has tried it before. Essentially, you are placed in a permanent bullet time, enabling you to plan out a method of attack right down to individual gunshots while avoiding enemy fire. The enemies are relentless in their pursuit of you, and with only a single hit point, one misstep could see you eating a fatal bullet.

You have typical FPS weapons at your disposal (pistol, shotgun, and semi-auto rifle), plus katanas, baseball bats, and even improvised weapons. The core mechanic allows you to pull off some ridiculous manoeuvres. Never before has punching an enemy, grabbing their gun, and then blowing their head off been so satisfying. A minimalist cyberpunk-inspired environment complements the mechanics and makes the game easy to pick up. If it’s red, it’s an enemy; if it’s black, use it as a weapon. Once you’ve completed a level, a voice over repeats “SUPERHOT” while a replay of your run without the time delays is shown. It’s impossible to not feel like a badass once you’re done.

With all this in mind, little can prepare you for the mind-fuckery that is the campaign. There appears to be a trend running that sees games utilising a postmodern metanarrative, which toy with the player’s expectations of what a game can do. Many of these games are set within a simulated operating system that, for one reason or another, does not want you to play the game. Superhot is no exception, complete with DOS-style menus and some creative ASCII art. For the sake of spoilers I won’t delve further into the specifics of the story, but let’s just say there’s a reason people are calling Superhot “the most innovative shooter […] in years,” and it’s not the one you’re thinking of.

The campaign is definitely interesting, but there is one issue that simply cannot be overlooked: for a skilled player, it is barely two hours long. With a current price tag of $34.99, the value proposition is not particularly compelling. I am interested in metanarrative and did find the campaign quite satisfying, but I died an awful lot during my campaign run which artificially extended my total playtime. Some games can do an awful lot in just two hours, but Superhot falls short.

Never fear, for once you complete the campaign there are plenty of challenges and an endless mode to keep you occupied, which can prove to be quite fun. You can even upload and share replays using the game’s Killstagram service, a fun little extra that may well teach you ways to play the game you never thought possible.

Superhot is indeed an innovative shooter, a simple idea that can feel stretched out but is nevertheless a cool exploration of what the shooter genre is capable of. It’s definitely worth a look, but you might want to wait for a sal-

SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPER-

…eh, sorry about that.

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