SUPERHOT: The Time-Bending FPS

Samuel Pappas, Staff Writer

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SUPERHOT is a game about GUNS and EXISTENTIALISM and CAPITAL LETTERS. The gimmick is that time only moves when YOU move. Looking around moves time slowly, and walking around moves time at full speed. All enemies die in one shot, and you do as well. The goal of each stage is to kill every enemy.

The story of this game isn’t it’s selling point, but it would be misleading to say it doesn’t exist. In fact, it constantly gets in the way.

SUPERHOT tells a story about a mind-invading game that causes players to lose their free will by playing it. It sets up for an interesting tale, but once it teaches it’s mechanics to players, the levels get more interesting and the weapons are fun to combo together. 

So the story is a wash, but it is only a couple hours long and the cutscenes take up only a few precious moments of those minutes. The bulk of the game lies after story mode. The mechanics are basic, but it ends up working to the benefit of the game.

There’s only one type of enemy and the world always looks like sterile, white, urban settings with enemies that look like humans made out of red gemstones, who explode into pieces upon death. The game isn’t some insane, complex new idea, but it doesn’t need to be.

SUPERHOT is the first game to create the feeling of being attacked by human-pottery hybrids that sounds like filming a “John Wick” action scene inside a China shop, a unique experience I didn’t know I wanted until I already had it.

The challenges are unique and fun in different ways. The first is just all the levels, but your only weapon is a katana. By the end of it, I was cutting bullets in half, slashing an enemy in two, throwing the blade through his best friend’s face and dancing through the hail of bullets into my next foe.

Each challenge has a different gimmick to it, requiring you to learn and unlearn different techniques to fighting efficiently. SUPERHOT can be gratifying if you are the type who seeks a challenge as well. Since the game is designed around always having enough time to make the combat choice you want to, the challenge becomes less about twitch-reactions and more about well thought out decisions in battle.

There’s a small problem almost all games have that has no easy solution. If a player is struggling to move past a difficult problem, how are they supposed to know if their issue lies in either their ability to play the game, or something the game hasn’t explained yet.

An example would be an invisible wall that looks as if it could lead to another pathway. The player can’t get past the wall, but since they can’t see it, they don’t know if it actually is the way forward and there is just something they haven’t done to conquer it.

The opposite of this problem would be an abnormally difficult Boss Fight. The foe feels impossible. Maybe you aren’t supposed to be in this area yet? Maybe there is some aspect of battle you have yet to learn? There is no certainty.

Some games have these worse than others, but SUPERHOT is one of the few, if not only games to have a solution baked so perfectly into it’s mechanics. The player ALWAYS knows what they are capable of.

SUPERHOT is also the perfect game to unwind with. There’s an endless mode for fighting waves of enemies and it’s perfect to play after a long day of classes or an intense study session.

If you have a PC, Xbox, or PS4 and $15.00, SUPERHOT is a PERFECT game for you.