Superhot isn’t your typical FPS, which is why I decided I’d play it for our podcast episode on indie FPSs. After all, I’m not usually that into shooters and if I do play them, it’s on a console with twin analogue sticks. That said, there was something about the cerebral and puzzle-like nature of Superhot that drew me in.
So is it really as innovative as it’d have you believe?
- Visually stunning
- Fascinating narrative
- Innovative gameplay
- Painfully short
- Mightn’t be for fans of shooters
Right from the start menu, which is like an old text-based operating system, you can tell that Superhot is trying to do things differently. In a chat conversation between you and a friend, you’re told about a new game you’re going to play and this fascinating narrative makes a great first impression and, without spoiling it, helps hold up the game throughout.
Next, you’re introduced to the “world” you’ll be playing in. With the white surroundings and red glass-like enemies, the game makes a bold statement and the visual style is exceptionally beautiful; Superhot screenshots look like minimalist works of art.
Now comes the innovative gameplay. Superhot‘s main draw is that time only moves when you do. This means that you can take almost as much time as you want while aiming. In fact, time does move but at such a glacial pace that unless you’re you’re standing right next to a bullet heading your way, you’ll be fine.
This mechanic allows you to plan each move as if you’re playing a game of high-stakes chess and once the level is over, you get to watch it all back in real-time. This can make you look (and feel) like you’re in the The Matrix and it’s an incredibly satisfying feeling. That said, there are still some tricky levels where if you let your guard down, you’ll end up dodging one bullet just to move into the path of another.
The main problem with Superhot is that the game is be over before you know it and the short runtime might make it hard to cough up the rather high asking price for the game. After all, we’re talking about just a handful of hours.
Additionally, if you happen to be really good at shooters and live for high-adrenaline shootouts, I’m not really sure what you’d get out of this game. After all, the game becomes more about planning your moves than having great aim and perfectly-honed reflexes.
If you’re in the market for a typical shooter, this mightn’t be for you.
Superhot mightn’t be a shooter for people who like shooters, but it is an innovative game that looks great, is enjoyable to play, and unlike any of the shooters I’ve ever played. It’s just a shame that the end credits roll just as you start to really fall in love with it.