I want to preface this preview by mentioning the conditions in which I played Superhot, which I covered in an earlier issue of The Kickstarter Weekly. It turns out I could play Superhot on the Oculus Rift at E3. This preview will essentially kill two birds with one stone by allowing me to talk about both Superhot and Oculus Rift; but, I essentially wouldn’t want to play Superhot any other way.
It turns out Superhot uses the Oculus Rift’s capabilities to a high degree. I remember how awkward it was for me as the nice PR representative attempted to teach me how to play while I was wearing the headset. She placed a controller in my hand, guided my fingers to each button and explained their functions. Then, she suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me from side-to-side in order to teach me how to dodge bullets. Finally, she grabbed both sides of my head—thankfully she decided not to snap my neck—which is how I aim my weapon. At this point, I discovered the Oculus Rift’s capability of showing me parts of the game that can only be revealed through head movement. Once my ears were covered by headphones, I felt completely immersed in this video game.
Superhot’s graphics use a minimalist approach that’s enhanced through the Oculus Rift. Hallways and levels utilize a grey and white color scheme. Enemies and bullets create a stark contrast to these drab hallways with a shade of red that I can only describe as being as hot as the sun. Directions will appear suddenly on the screen in a modern, stylish font, keeping in tone with the hot presentation. The Oculus Rift displayed polygonal shrapnel and bullets as if they were coming straight at me. And the soundtrack is fresh and pumped me full of adrenaline while dodging bullets.
Speaking of dodging bullets, Superhot has a simple setup: find a weapon and eliminate the enemies. I began the level with zero weapons at one end of a hallway. Three enemies the color of the sun stood at the opposite end of the hallway, and a gun lay in the middle. They ostensibly had all of the advantages, but I could manipulate time.
Superhot is the closest a first person shooter has come to emulating Enter The Matrix. It turned out that bullets—be they my enemies’ or own—move only when you do, and it takes only one bullet to kill me or my enemies. This meant I needed to be strategic as I ran down the corridor. If I moved too far, I often ran into a bullet with my name on it. If I stayed too close to the wall, I trapped myself. For this particular level, I needed to run in a zig-zag pattern. If I risked being hit by bullets, I simply moved my body side-to-side as if I were Neo. I felt thrilled as I caught a glimpse at these VR bullets while dodging them.
Once I reached the weapon at the end of the hallway, I knew what to do. I couldn’t aim with the analogue sticks. Rather, I had to look at one of my enemies with the Oculus Rift. Once I gazed upon my enemies, I fired my weapon accurately with the right trigger; all I needed was one bullet. Even though I found myself at an advantage when I had a weapon, I noticed that I still needed to move while dodging bullets.
The demo wasn’t long, but it was impressionable. I felt completely immersed within the game while wearing the comfortable Oculus Rift headset. I hope in the full version of the game that I can use more unorthodox methods for dodging bullets, and I would like to use a variety of weapons. But from what I’ve seen, Superhot is worthy of its title.