Superhot may come across as a simple first person shooter puzzle game with a unique aesthetic design — however, it is not quite that simple. Essentially, you are playing a game within a game. There is you, the physical player, and there is the player on the screen. While you are physically playing Superhot, the virtual player in-game is also playing a game called Superhot.
Navigating through an older operating system, the player in-game receives a file titled “Superhot” . After being nagged into playing the game via online chat, the player decides to boot up the file. There are many times during the player’s time with Superhot, that they are pulled out to receive bits of story from this online chat. This alluring feeling of being “trapped under a microscope” by the file’s A.I, makes the Superhot that exists within the game, seem very self-aware and at times, toying with you.
“Time only moves when the player does” is the simplest way to explain the mechanics of Superhot. Everything moves at an incredibly slow pace when the player is idle. When the character begins to move, so does everything else. This is how the player can bob and weave throughout the constant barrage of bullets and plan actions in accordance with enemy placement.
Many different options are at the player’s disposal when it comes to taking out enemies. Picking a gun from a wide variety of options is usually the best choice, but swords and bats are also good supplements. If the player ends up without a weapon, they have the option of beating the enemy down while scouring the environment for more effective ammunition. Once a weapon has been exhausted of ammo, the player can then throw it at the nearest enemy. Although an impulsive move, throwing weapons is often times just as effective as landing a direct punch.
After the player completes the scenario, a real-time replay is shown while the phrase, “Super. Hot.” is repeated and flashes on screen. Scrolling through each kill is easy and worth watching if you want to see it in real time. These clips can be saved and uploaded to Killstagram, where players can share their best Superhot runs. Yes, that is an Instagram reference.
When the main game is complete, Endless Mode is unlocked. This functions as a survival mode where the player tries to survive against relentless hordes of red enemies. These settings can be changed according to the player’s skill and desired challenge.
The environments in Superhot are excessively white and resemble something akin to the dated designs of virtual reality. Enemies are faceless red polygonal people that blend well within the visual presentation of its ambiance. Although these aesthetics are visually appealing, nothing is quite as satisfying as breaking a bat over an enemy’s head, only to hear the satisfying noises of their heads exploding (I’m mentally stable, I swear).
Considering Superhot’s “game within a game” plot line, enticing art style, and rewarding gameplay system, I personally enjoyed my time with this game. However, considering the game’s short length and its somewhat over-reaching flash and allure, Superhot wears a hefty price tag. This is especially true considering the minimal amount of content it delivers. Regardless, the concept behind the game alone is what makes it worth checking out.
This review of Superhot is based on a digital copy for PC which was provided by the publisher.