For those who are unaware of Superhot, it is a first-person shooter unlike any other. Rather than being a fast-paced action orientated game it instead tasks players with moving excruciatingly slowly as they think about every minute action they have to take to defeat their enemies. This is because that time only passes as you move.
Effectively, this turns Superhot into more of a puzzle game than a shooter. While the objective remains the same throughout each level, that of disposing of all of the red attackers, you are given an unusual amount of freedom in how you go about completing them. It is one of the only games where killing the enemies by any means necessary is totally accurate.
Each level provides a certain amount of items for you to use to fight your way through the opposing horde. These can range from shotguns and pistols to baseball bats. Even pool balls and empty glasses can be used as makeshift weapons, although you’ll sometimes have to resort to hand to hand combat to kill a red guy when nothing else is to hand. The game also allows you to take anything an enemy is using themselves by striking them and picking whatever they were holding out of the air.
The high degree of freedom offered by these concepts means that playing Superhot is something of an experiment. You can play around with various different methods until you come up with the most satisfying solution, whether this be the fastest or just the most fun way of defeating the opposition forces.
The ability to essentially stop time in its tracks also adds a layer of strategy that most FPS games are missing. If you stop moving, everything else also halts in its place. Standing still as bullets hang in the air and enemies stick to their pose gives you the opportunity to actually plan out your next moves and decide upon the best course of action. The ability to hijack the red guys later in the story also provides extra openings for creative thinking.
In terms of story, Superhot has something of a surprisingly dark and complicated plot. What at first appears to be a simple cracked video game later turns out to be program created by a mysterious faction that they use for nefarious means. Without wanting to spoil too much, the story in the game has its fair share of twists and turns before it reaches its conclusion. The ride along the way is fairly compelling, making it interesting enough so that it cannot simply be regarded as a vehicle for serving up the next scenario.
There is no doubting that the game has a very minimalist approach when it comes to visuals. It is a distinctive approach that not only looks striking but also serves the gameplay perfectly. Almost everything in the world is white. There are only two exceptions to this rule – weapons and useable items are black and enemies are red. This distinctive style allows the player to instantly see what is useful in the environment and where there enemies are. Both of these are vital pieces of information in such a strategic game and the visuals play a hugely important role in making Superhot such a success.
Superhot is not without its issues. The major gameplay problem comes in the form of your own hitbox. As the game plays in a first-person perspective, you get very little idea of how big your body is and when passing bullets will actually hit you. This can create some frustration as you die when you thought an attack would miss you.
The other major gripe is the short campaign length. Clocking in at around 2 hours depending on your skill, it doesn’t provide that much content for what it a rather high price point. There are a number of extra modes but these are mostly just rehashes of the story levels with new requirements attached to them. Some require you to use a certain weapon while others ask you to beat a mission in a set period of time. While they do provide some replay value, this might not appeal to a lot of people who feel that they are too similar to the content they have already played through.
These snags don’t pose a big enough issue to detract from the overall experience in a meaningful way. Superhot is a genuinely unique game that is easy to recommend to almost anyone, even those who are not big fans of first-person shooters. The innovative gameplay and interesting time mechanic make it a title that is incredibly satisfying to play. If you haven’t yet tried it on other platforms, now is the time to pick this up and give it a go.
This review is based on a digital copy of the game that was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Superhot is available now for PlayStation 4.