Review – SUPERHOT
On the surface SUPERHOT seems like a simple enough shooter, albeit one with a time-control twist where the flow of time is keyed to your motion – move and time flows, stop and everything grinds to a halt. How this works is hand waved away as it being a new underground VR game you’ve been passed by a friend and that’s all the story I’d expected.
In the end though, SUPERHOT’s story proved to be at least as interesting as the gameplay. Jumping from scene to scene felt like it was showing off the game’s variety. I battled multiple opponents in a prison cell in one sequence, then later found myself alone in a cell being told MOVE AROUND in giant block letters. Doing so rewarded me with GOOD DOG in the same screen-filling font.
The gameplay takes some getting used to, with action only unfolding when you’re actually moving around. There’s a lot of ‘take a few steps, hear a shot, stop and look around for the source’ at the start, but the game does a great job of ramping up the difficulty and introducing new concepts – gunplay, melee combat, improvised projectiles…even switching bodies. At the end of the sequence you’re treated to a replay that eliminates the pausing, and at real time it looks like you’re starring in the greatest action movie ever.
At points you’ll back out of the game within a game to the old DOS style menu, occasionally chatting with the friend that led you to the game. These sequences are taken over later in the game, giving the story a dark turn that I’d rather not spoil. At one point, after agreeing in-game to stop playing superhot.exe, it was getting late and I thought it was a natural point to stop for the night. Selecting the quit option instead popped me into a totally new sequence of plot discovery that I couldn’t tear myself away from. Between those ‘is this really happening’ sequences and the way the game will sometimes commandeer controller input for its own purposes, SUPERHOT reminds me a lot of old classic Eternal Darkness.