Imagine a game where you are a super assassin, well-versed in the arts of weaponry and hand-to-hand combat. You mow down countless enemies, spraying them down with machine guns, splitting them in half with a well placed katana swipe or just beating them to a pulp, like the good old days. “Wait, why is that different from tons of other games that are on the market?” I hear you cry, dear reader, and I would not disagree with you. This is where the twist and specialty of SUPERHOT comes in: time moves with you. Basically, when you don’t move, time stands still. However, if you even move a finger, the clock starts ticking and all hell breaks loose. This combination of kill all bad guys and the unique time mechanic makes SUPERHOT a really special game.
At the end of a stressful Monday (horrible way to start the week I tell you), I opened up Steam for some much needed respite. To my delight SUPERHOT, a game I had been anticipating for quite some time, had just been dropped. At first I was put off by the relatively steep price of £17.99 (especially for an indie game), but in the end I decided to splurge.
I fired up the game, and started up the main story. I have to say I was immediately hooked. The story itself was kind of meh. It was one of those super indie ones that make you question your own existence and wonder if you have stumbled by chance onto an interactive experience written by Nietzsche. To be honest this is not really a negative and really just a sign of my fatigue with the indie scene in general (I mean what is wrong with just killing the bad guys and saving the princess?!). However, the mechanics of the game were definitely the highlight of the experience. The level design, gunplay and AI were all really good and I had absolutely nothing to complain about. What about the key feature, the game changer: the time stopping mechanic? I have to admit I was impressed. It was really smooth, and at times I did feel like Neo in that super-famous scene when I was dodging bullets in slow motion. Furthermore, the mechanic wasn’t just some gimmick that you could just ignore, because if you don’t play slowly and tactically, the game is incredibly hard. If you try to just go Rambo-style on the baddies you definitely won’t make it longer than about ten seconds.
Talking about the baddies, and the art style in general, it is all very minimalistic, which seems to be some kind of theme in the gaming industry right now. The bad guys are red blocky dudes and the levels are grey and white blocky blocks that hint at the things they are supposed to represent. To be honest this is completely fine, because sometimes too many details can distract you from the game, and in this case allows you to focus completely on the gameplay. Furthermore, this allows this game to run superbly on pretty much any machine (oh yeah, it also runs on Windows and Mac).
So I have listed a lot of good things about this game so far, however I do have one big complaint: the amount of content in the game versus the price. I finished the main mission (and trust me I wasn’t very good and had to do multiple restarts) in one sitting of about 3 hours. Then I took some time to have a crack at the endless mode which are just endless battles in various settings (quite fun and the maps are nice, but pretty repetitive), and then finally at the challenges (which are redos of the main mission, with certain restrictions/enhancements). While I have not completed everything, I have given it a good shot and I currently stand at five hours. I feel like ten hours is the most time I am going to get out of this game, due to its somewhat repetitive nature, since the mechanics stay the same, the scenarios change marginally and the settings all kind feel the same. In a sense that makes a me a bit sad, since this is such a good game. Oh well.
There are a couple features, like the uploading of your kill-streak videos, that I haven’t mentioned since I didn’t really consider them that important, although they may appeal to a different type of gamer. They all seemed a bit gimmicky to me, and I haven’t really delved too deeply into them.
All in all I would say this is an absolutely excellent game. SUPERHOT is a really new and modern take on the tired old genre that is first person shooters. The time-stopping mechanic is unique and super fun to play. However, like a nice piecce of bacon, it tastes really good but there ain’t a lot of meat to it. Given that it is quite expensive, I would probably hold off on buying it right now and wait for a Steam sale, where you will definitely get the right amount of bang for your buck.
SUPERHOT is out now on Steam