Ever wondered what an Orwellian nightmare might be like? That’s what SUPERHOT might deliver as an experience, as a whole. It’s difficult to decide what’s more awesome about this game – the innovative gameplay mechanic where “time moves only when you move”, or its vague (and overlooked) storyline, which is very somewhat characteristic of Orwellian literature. Fans of dystopian games would have a lot to look forward to on that note.
But let’s get to the real meat here. You’ve probably seen a trailer or two by now. The ‘time’ mechanic here is as refreshingly original as what Bullet time was to Max Payne, or what portals were like in Portal. It brings a new dimension to the aspect of ‘problem solving’ together – by making them fluid and dynamic in nature, you’d feel like you’re constantly being kept on your feet. Constantly being hunted, and pushed into tighter corners, with hostiles and gunfire all around you. The game leave an indelible impression on you – making it difficult to switch back to real life immediately.
SUPERHOT madeits presence known through a prototype on its website that its developers released in 2013. A product of that year’s 7-Day FPS Challenge, it soon made its way to the Steam Greenlight process, and to Kickstarter in 2014, where support for the Superhot Team was overwhelming to say the least. The full version of the game was finally released on 25th February via Steam, for PC, Mac and Linux. And a version for the Xbox One might have been released by the time you’re reading this.
To put it shortly, the story’s all about the game itself. What’s interesting to see is that is flows perfectly well without any sort of character development. As a player, you’d develop a better understanding of what the game is all about, as you get more addicted to killing off your adversaries, whom we’ll stick to calling the ‘red dudes’ for posterity. There’s a lot of focus on the concept of ‘free will’ here. I couldn’t possibly write more about it without giving anything away.
The Kickass Menu
Yes, the main menu deserves a special mention. As soon as you’ve started up the game, you’ll be greeted by a DOS-like operating system. Younger millennials who’ve never used a DOS-based machine before might find it a little alien at first, but it delivers a retro vibe quite effectively. It’ll make you feel like you’re playing the game on an old CRT monitor, where the image on your screen hasn’t been adjusted properly – in the sense that it’ll look like a convex image. The sound effects employed here (especially that of a mechanical keyboard) accentuated its immersive nature.
There are tons of Easter eggs that are accessible through this menu as well – including, but not limited to, old-school ASCII art, pixelated game trailers, and DOS-like video games that could be played within SUPERHOT itself.
Good lawd, what gameplay!
If you’ve ever played a multi-player game on any decent FPS, you’ve probably faced a moment where you’ve been tempted to steal all the glory for yourself by pwning everyone on the opposite side. SUPERHOT would let you do just that. Although the campaign is ridiculously short, it’s accompanied by several challenge modes that would undoubtedly keep you hooked for a good twenty hours, if you happen to be a completionist.
There are several weapons that the game has to offer – a handgun, shotgun, automatic rifle, and melee weapons ranging from common household objects, to baseball bats and katanas. What’s interesting to note is that the handgun and shotgun typically don’t put another bullet/cartridge in the chamber immediately like you’d normally expect them to – so you’re often forced to resort to throwing your weapons at the red dudes that are chasing after you. There’s a fair amount of flexibility in the game’s combat system, and you’ll be forced to use different combinations of moves and weapons depending on your proximity to the red dudes, or how fast (or slow) you’re moving. And naturally, when ‘you’ slow time down by moving at a snail’s pace, you’ll see wicked bullet trails emanating from the red dudes’ guns, which make it easier to go all Neo on them.
The Sights and sounds
The visuals for this game are fairly minimalistic. Red, white, black and grey is almost all you’re likely to see – often in startling contrast with each other. The red dudes are faceless, polygonal human figures that shatter into many pieces when you take them down.
SUPERHOT is largely devoid of any sort of background or ambient music where its levels are concerned – and though I honestly felt that a few specific levels could have benefited from using some cyberpunk-themed background music, the game doesn’t bear anything distinctive on this front. Then again, this should seem like an obvious design feature, seeing how paying attention to gunshot sounds is vital for your character’s survival. Gamers with open-backed headsets would have a field day with the way directional sounds work in this game.
The next level – SUPERHOT VR
The Superhot Team is currently engaged in adapting their title for VR gaming. And yes, you will most certainly need to move your head to dodge bullets in-game. Need we say more? Go get your hands on this ASAP!
MOAR: Killstagram.com – Yes, this is a legitimate website, and a by-product of the game itself. Currently in beta mode, this website would allow you to share recordings of different levels as you played them.
Killer rig: (Dell Inspiron 15) Intel Core i7-4500U, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M265X (2GB), 1TB HDD + Razer Deathadder Mouse.
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Shiv "thed00dabides" Issar
A proud child of the PC master race, this D&D-loving rapscalion grew up seeing his life through the lens of epic quests and consistently seeks out skills that would help him level-up.