I finally done it. After months of hearing fellow gamers and journalists talk about Superhot, I finally bit the bullet and bought the game to play through it in one night.
And truth be told: I’m underwhelmed.
Not to say Superhot is a bad game, not by any stretch of the imagination. Far from it in fact. I just believe that maybe gamers across the world have maybe shouted superheats praises a little too much, making my time with the game not feel as epic as someone playing it with no prior knowledge.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself here, so lets start from the beginning.
Superhot is a First Person Shooter whereby time doesn’t move until you move. From that one sentence you can already tell this isn’t like normal FPS’s, and as a consequence, you could also call super hot something of a strategy/puzzle game.
The game starts out by presenting you with a PC, with it’s own custom operating system. From here, you’re able navigate around all the files and folders, and open up chat messages with some unknown contact. They send you a build of a file called “Superhot.exe” and from there, when you click or enter it, you’re able to play the main campaign.
Starting out, you’ll undoubtedly want to mess around with the time mechanics until you have a firm grasp on what you can, and cannot, do. Looking around the environment causes an extremely minimal amount of time to pass, with picking up weapons or punching enemies making chunks of time pass relatively quickly. Distinguishing how much time is left before a punch occurs, or a bullet hits you, can take some getting used to, especially when you’re looking around to find a way around a bullet heading right for you.
Each level throughout the campaign is tiny, but sets up an elaborate scenario whereby you’ll always feel epic for having overcome the challenge on offer. One level for example starts you in an elevator, with 3 enemies pointing their guns at you ready to fire. The second you start you need to punch your way around, as one wrong move will result in a bullet in the head. It’s challenging, but once you see your full speed replay at the end of the level it makes the scene feel truly epic, like something out of the matrix.
Once you’ve mastered the first few levels you’ll then proceed to get more chat logs with the “friend”, and download further levels to take part in. The story starts to show here and there, as you start to realise this world is more than just a game, with you in fact having an actual influence on the real world. I won’t spoil the ending, but considering I went into Superhot not expecting too much of a story, it left me impressed.
The issue is, there’s just not enough of the game. It took me an hour and a half to complete Superhot, with the challenges extending that time for a few more hours. Given my upcoming criticisms of the gameplay in a minute, this could be seen as a good thing, but I just can’t help but think that the high price for low amount of game time is a bad deal. Granted, the gameplay is super polished and feels like something a Triple-A studio could produce, but it just doesn’t feel like *enough* for how much is paid.
My other issue is the gameplay: it’s a one trick pony. Like I said at the start of this review, maybe it’s because of how much journalists have been raving about the gameplay for the last year, but I couldn’t help but feel that it becomes old, fast. Yes, the replays at the end look good, but the limited amount of guns, and situations you’re put into make for a game that’s figured out extremely fast, losing it’s puzzle attributes fairly fast. Some could argue that the campaign ends before the mechanics get boring, but I would counter that the developers could have extended the gameplay by giving more options, more variations, more enemies. Anything but the same would have sufficed.
There’s nothing to speak of in regards to music, with some of the only sounds you hear throughout the game being the constant chanting of “Super Hot” between each level. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but there are times that the action could feel a bit better with the right soundtrack going on in the background.
Hype is such a strange thing in video games. It has the potential to give a studio millions of sales with relative ease (I’m looking at you No Man’s Sky), but in the same vain it can also cause a loss of feeling towards a given product when it doesn’t meet it’s lofty expectations. Super Hot is one such game for me, as the hype surrounding its release has been so high that it could never fulfil my expectations.
Super Hot is a good game, there’s no denying that. But I don’t believe it was a contender in my own top 10 games of 2016. It’s short campaign, lack of content, and one core mechanic soon become old, fast for me. Get Super Hot if you can get it on sale, but I wouldn’t recommend paying full price for it.