Game Review: Superhot – non-VR (Steam)

Title Superhot
Platform: Steam / Windows
Available on OS: Windows
Genre:first person shooter, shooter, FPS, puzzle, action
Game number:4 of 1005 steam games (< 1%)

Summary review: A very good experience overall. Highly recommended.
Graphics: Stylized polygonal vibe fits perfectly
Music: With my headphones with virtual surround sound this game sounds great
Controls: Keyboard and mouse works perfectly for me, no flaws
Replayability: Initially I thought there would be no reason to replay this once I beat it. But now, two years later, I had a lot of fun re-experiencing it. So I would say indeed quite high.
Total score: 95 / 100 – The one and only complaint I had was having to re-play a scenario because I had no way of knowing an enemy was going to spawn where they did and immediately fire at me. I mean seriously, seems kind of cheap. Even that isn’t even that big of a gripe. Other than that I can’t think of a thing wrong with it.


Short anecdote about this game, I actually bought it in June of 2017 on physical disc from Walmart. It was just a case with the steam version on CD and a steam key for only $5.

Right now Superhot is $25 on the steam store. I guess the popularity picked up it went from $5 on the clearance isle to $25 in the steam store 2 years later. I guess it’s something of a “sleeper hit”.

I wasn’t sure when I bought it if it was a VR-only game. The back of the box was kind of ambiguous about whether VR gear was mandatory or if it could be played like a normal game. Fortunately there was/is a non-VR mode. At least that’s what I’m calling it. And clearly this game was made with VR in mind.

I did play it all the way through that first time and actually had a lot of fun with it. In 2017 I had normal 1080p screens and I played it with keyboard and mouse to completion. Today I have 21:9 screens and fortunately this game has native 21:9 support.

I haven’t played it since but tried it again just now for this review and it all came back to me why exactly I liked this game.

The game boots up and you’re in this black and white DOS-like screen with a menu system and apparently connected to a BBS-like service. There’s hard drive activity ambient sounds. Someone chats with you about getting a crack for some new game: when it’s your turn to talk you just type and the game inserts what the player character is typing back so there’s no “Zork” vibe to worry about (e.g. having to type the right words in the right order to get a meaningful output from an interpreter).

The menu is kind of like a normal game menu just the black and white DOS vibe e.g. the normal options like controls, graphic options, sound etc. and just playing “superhot.exe”.

The game itself starts out real easy to get the hang of it. The graphics are a very stylized washed out white/black contrast with enemies that are red. And the enemies are very blank mannequin-looking things with no face or individual fingers even.

The twist of the game is that time only moves when you move. So it’s something of bullet-time sort of experience as bullets are flying past your face.

Any Breath of the Wild players will find the throw-away-weapon-for-nearest-weapon system familiar as that is the only way to get a weapon with ammo or otherwise choose a new a weapon: at the right time, preferably prior to running out of ammo, you throw the gun at a nearby enemy causing that weapon to fly up in the air where you can conveniently catch it and use it on them. There’s also melee weapons including baseball bats, swords and random objects that might be handy like coffee cups. And there’s always just punching a guy in the face too.

There’s no inventory system, either. A level starts and you may or may not have a weapon or any objects nearby and it’s get-up-and-survive.

As the game progresses your image of the world will kind of warp and distort then display a message and drop back to the menu system where another conversation with the BBS chat partner will take place. That’s kind of the pseudo-plot that’s going on and something of a fill-in where you might expect a cinematic to be. Actually I think it’s a lot better then a quick time event or a cinematic. Adds to the whole psychological vibe of the game as a whole.

As for the arc of the game itself I think there’s one there but it’s kind of…meta…I guess? The steam reviews seem to like to call it “art” a lot. Sometimes I think that word is just used in when there’s a lack of understanding of a thing. I did like the ending though.

Superhot is puzzle in that you have time to think out the next move and the timing. Especially the later levels it’s necessary to figure out a good order of what enemy to defeat first and what weapon to grab when. It also has some elements where you have to memorize when and where enemies will spawn in.

It took me less than eight hours to complete and part of that was just learning how to play it.

I really can’t think of anything negative to say about this. The closest game comparison I think would be Portal maybe. In that it’s first person and kind of a puzzle game.

Over all this was a really great time. Not sure on the $25 part, at least for the non-VR experience as it’s a bit short. Maybe wait for a sale.


Metadata

Method of control used Keyboard/mouse (but has GP support)
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) no (didn’t play with GP, just assuming it controls like every other FPS)
Hardware requirements: For non-VR very low
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?yes, native support
PCs tried on ~2013 era core i7 laptop/nVidia GPU at 1080p (full screen) running windows 7 originally; recent alienware laptop for this review
Works with 4:3 screens untested (no reason to test)
Initial setup required yes: prompted me for which screen I wanted to paly it on (I have 3) and what resolution
Steam UID 322500

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