When it comes to first person shooting games innovation isn’t really something you expect. The idea is you point a gun at people and you shoot, what else can you do? Superhot is the answer that you may not expect. Prepare to show Keanu Reeves how to really manipulate The Matrix…
There is a campaign mode to Superhot, but the best way to experience that is to not be just told about it in a review. It isn’t the biggest section of the game which may disappoint some, but really that isn’t the point of Superhot and in some ways neither is the action you create on the screen. In truth Superhot is a puzzle game set as a first person shooter. The idea is that time only moves when you do, meaning that when you or an opponent fire a weapon even the bullet will move slower. This gives you a chance to dodge the bullets and even mêlée your opponent and steal their weapon before they even realise what happened.
Why is it a puzzle game? The answer is that there is no health bar, if you are hit then you are dead. Your task is to make sure you don’t get hit, and to kill all the opponents who will be coming at you from all direction. They have one job, and that is to kill you, and they are good at it. While there is some obvious scripting to their movements, the reactions to your attacks is where the impressive AI comes into action. When disarmed, the opponents will do their best to hit you with objects, get their weapon back or move into the best direction to cause you the most harm. It is effective because it keeps you on edge, constantly checking for that tell-tale redness in the sea of white, which is the style of Superhot.
While some may say the look is simplistic, the lack of real textures simplifies the game to simply the fights, and that is what makes it beautiful. The dynamics of combat feel like they have come out of the best action movie ever, or belong in one. A well-timed punch and a grab of a shotgun allow you to suddenly shoot an opponent in the face, then do a 180 turn and blast your next opponent (as long as the gun has reloaded).
With the concept behind Superhot feeling so fresh, there is a lot of replay value here, especially because of the choice of weapons the environment gives. Looking at videos and gifs people make of their speed runs, some choose to try “Katana only” runs (if the sword is available) and different variations. Superhot is a game that feels like it will get a good fan base, and for an Indie title this can be that essential spark to success. Another spark to its success is the sharing available, and this is not just streaming (which it works very well for, I even did some myself). There is functionality in the game that allows for replays to be edited and saved online to be shared with people over social media. You could say that it is a super-hot (pun intended) game right now with its use of social media, and hopefully it will find much success.
There are certain elements that can be jarring in Superhot, an example would be the “instant restart” not being so instant. This could be updated if the developer decides (please?). Other than that though I would say that Superhot is a game that people need to play…because yes, it is Superhot.
Superhot is out on PC now.