Superhot Review

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Bullet(hell) time…

How to describe Superhot? Try this – take the clean first person aesthetic of Mirror’s Edge, add in a little bit of Hotline Miami and wrap it all up in a nice bullet time bow! Bullet time? Bullet time. Yes, that trick first coined in the Matrix way back in 1999(!) and popularised by videogames in Max Payne way back in 2001(!) wherein time slows down allowing you to see every bullet is Superhot’s central mechanic.

Game: Superhot
Developer: Superhot Team
Publisher: Superhot Team
Reviewed on: PC (Review Code Provided)

So, how does it all work? Well, Superhot is a first person shooter whereby your character, a nameless hacker, is dragged into the world of a mysterious game called Superhot. In the game you are dropped into bright white arenas and tasked with murderkilling featureless red people seemingly made out of glass. The trick is that while you’re standing still, bullet time is engaged, allowing you to see every bullet heading towards you. Move and time increases to normal speed, but the bullet time allows you to line up your shots and plan your movements through the environment. It’s not as easy as it sounds with guys and bullets constantly flying towards you – a single hit and you have to restart the arena from scratch.

To aid you in your killings you have, by default, your fists, however you can pick up any black items in the arena and use them against your foes. These could include potted plants, vases and other inanimate objects which can be thrown towards your enemies, melee weapons like baseball bats and katana swords or guns which, of course, you can shoot at dudes. There’s a certain flow to the action which, despite its slow speed, can get quite tense and fraught. Enemies can be disarmed, their weapons grabbed out of thin air and used to shoot the other guy who was running up the stairs behind them but, wait; you missed the shotgun blast coming from your left and now you have to start all over again. Stick around for the replays, though – when all your slow motion shenanigans are played back at full speed you look like a total badass. These replays can be edited and uploaded to Killstagram.com, the game’s meta social network – here’s a few I made (https://killstagram.com/u/abeeken).

The mechanics here are simple to pick up and tough to master. As you progress, the arenas get tougher with more enemies piling in, all armed with increasingly deadly weaponary and you find yourself frequently playing completely by the skin of your teeth. There’s a story, of course, but in the style of the similarly esoteric Hotline Miami it’s not keen to give away its secrets in a hurry. Playing out like a dystopian, William Gibson esque cyberpunk thriller there are a fair amount of twists and turns as your characters gets deeper into the system, all bookended by a gorgeous interface designed to look like a text based UI running on a CRT monitor. From here there are a ton of easter eggs to be found by digging through your avatar’s folders, and the interface even changes itself as the story progresses. Some may argue that the price is too high for a game that you can probably polish off in a few hours, but the ability to replay levels means that you’ll find yourself constantly coming back to your favourite set pieces. Coupled with an unlockable endless mode once the game wraps up, I’d say they’re easy counters for the price argument.

VERDICT

A glorious ballet of madness, often frustrating but still a purveyor of that essential “one more go” mentality that keeps you wanting to come back long after you stop playing. A unique experience that deserves to be in the library of any discerning gamer.

9/10

Writes and produces films at independent outfit Shortorme Productions. Records music under the guise of Stage of History. Gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum. Always on the lookout for something new and fresh.

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