Superhot (2016) PC Review

 

Superhot is a very simple, yet innovative first person shooter. It’s mechanics involve having time slowed down to almost a standstill when you are not moving. And it moves at normal speed when you do. Enemies and yourself are one shot kills if you shoot them or smack them with a melee weapon. You can stagger them by throwing your weapons at them, or other items placed throughout the levels to make them drop their gun which you grab in mid air and shoot them in the face. Then, once you’ve cleared the level of enemies, you get a replay of you clearing the level at full speed and it truly makes you feel like some kind of action hero because it looks really, really cool. Essentially, it plays like almost like how a first person version of Hotline Miami would play.

The aesthetic of the game is a very minimalist one. Levels are white and untextured,weapons are black and very obviously lower poly than models from your typical modern FPS and enemies are red and also low poly. It is a striking visual style that aids the game by making all information the player needs all the information it prevents, with no clutter.

The levels themselves, which are typically quite small (and there are about 32 of them) are largely interesting and well designed, with excellent enemy and weapon placements (with the elevator pitch level a particularly good example.) However, if you’re in any way decent at the game, the game is quite short. You might be able to beat it in 2 hours or less. But the last level feels as if they ramped up the difficulty astronomically to the point of it being genuinely frustrating and seemingly unfair, with bullet that appear to be going past you actually hitting. It’s as if the developers of the game knew they made something really short so they just made the last level so much harder than the rest of the game to pad it’s length so as to reduce the amount of steam refunds it gets.

In terms of story, the game has a sort of amusing tongue in cheek metanarrative that frames the game which I didn’t mind. There’s not much else to say about that however. One thing I was disappointed with was it’s lack of music. And considering the length of the game, I think including a basic level editor would’ve helped to justify the price of the game since it’s standard price is USD $24.99. I got it for USD $16.74 and I’d say it’s worth it at the price or less, but even that might be a stretch for some. Still, if you complete it in 2 hours or less, you can just refund it. There are challenge modes and an endless mode, but they don’t add much worthwhile longevity to the game, with some of the challenge modes just being stuff like a permadeath mode or a mode that makes every punch a one hit kill, kind of like the Tony mask in Hotline Miami. 

All in all, Superhot has a bold visual style and is a total blast to play (up until the final level) with a highly focused and expertly executed and highly original premise. Completing each level and watching your normal speed replay is incredibly satisfying. However, it has a lack of any meaningful longevity that something like an easy to use level editor would do for a game like this. All these aspects makes this a game that troubles me in the sense that it’s hard to recommend yet hard not to recommend, especially considering the asking price. If you can get it cheaply, especially at a price lower than what I purchased it at, go for it.

8/10

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