“We could keep you here forever” is one of the many prompts that the system displays during your bullet-ridden romp through the digital world in Superhot. Developed by the SuperHot Team, this is a first person game with a peculiar twist: time only moves when you do. This allows for some intense sequences where you kill multiple enemies while bullets and limbs whiz past you, and it feels very satisfying to clear an entire level after rampaging through the room and killing half a dozen enemies. I now know what Ryan Reynolds felt like in that masterpiece of a superhero movie, Green Lantern.
The first thing you notice after you boot up the game is the graphics and presentation: the menu is presented as a computer terminal, and the narrative is often delivered in the form of one of those old IRC chat rooms. The enemies – red, polygonal humanoids – explode into small crystals when killed, and the lack of a HUD adds to the game’s immersion by making it look like you’re in an action movie’s trailer. Sound design remains minimalist, and you will only hear a few different effects throughout the game, such as the hollow ‘click’ as the gun you are holding is empty and the obnoxiously loud ‘SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT’ at the end of each level.
The game’s crown jewel is, evidently, the gameplay. The levels themselves are not overtly challenging, the enemies normally coming from all around you, converging on you like the hired thugs on a D list action movie, and while they all die with one bullet so do you. This means you need to be constantly on the move in order to avoid a hail of bullets and pre-empt the enemy movements in order to shoot them successfully. The final few levels do allow you to ”superswitch” and control an enemy’s body, but this does little to change the game’s flow.
The story itself is quite straightforward, just like a winding road. It seems quite clear at the start but turns into quite a mess – that said, the story is never at the forefront of the game, and instead takes a back seat to the gameplay. It is important to keep in mind that each level does contain ”secrets” or items hidden in obscure areas of the levels that offer an insight into the story for those brave adventurers who stray off the beaten path. However, these secret items are not necessary to complete the story mode and consequently, the story mode is able to be completed in just under 2 hours.
Once you complete the game’s story mode, the challenge and endless mode are unlocked, from which most of the additional replay value comes from. The challenges offer a variety of different elements such as only using katanas, and there are also speed runs in which you must race the clock to complete a level, although this added replay value is only present for as long as the tight gameplay entices you.
Overall, the game is definitely innovative and utilizes an interesting and refreshing mechanic. It is a blast to romp through the game’s 2 hour story mode but this may be the game’s weakest point – given the price, some might feel the price tag to be a bit on the salty side of things. While there are challenges to complete afterwards, they can get quite repetitive after a short amount of time and things could’ve easily been enhanced by the presence of a level editor. A fun, albeit short, game.