Although I’m somewhat prone to hyperbole, I am not exaggerating when I say that coming up with a description for SUPERHOT is one of the harder tasks I’ve undertaken as a writer. It’s definitely a first person shooter of some description, but I almost want to call it a puzzle game as much as it is a shooter…with a story that transitions from “lol check out this game” to one of deeply unsettling conspiratorial terror with the speed of one of the many bullets you’ll be dodging as you play. As anyone familiar with my work can attest, I typically try to evaluate a game on four specific criteria: gameplay, graphics, sound, and replayability or longevity, but in the case of SUPERHOT, I almost have to throw that guide out a window. For instance, that quick synopsis I provided is about all I can comfortably disclose about the story without spoiling it, although I can add that the game absolutely dedicates itself to the journey, greeting with you an old school DOS style menu to navigate right from the word go.
Once you begin the game – because it is a game, after all, isn’t it? – you may find the graphics charmingly simplistic at first, unabashedly polygonal if slickly stylized. Before you can even consider critically judging the game’s rather uncomplicated presentation, however, you’ll be blown away by the gameplay mechanics that hold the entire experience together. To quote SUPERHOT, time only moves when you move. What follows is an experience quite unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere, as level after level you’ll find yourself accosted by gunmen and men with swords, in warehouses and in bars and in alleys…all of which are rendered in white, red, and black tones, keeping the focus on the action and the gameplay over anything else.
Think about all of the games you’ve played. Maybe you’re a Street Fighter champion or a Dark Souls veteran. Maybe you’ve played the Witcher on its hardest difficulty or taken on dozens and dozens of thugs in Batman. In every situation, could you have not only succeeded, but succeeded flawlessly if you were able to perceive, analyse, and react to every second of time individually instead of in one unending flow? Of course you could. You could dodge bullets, and that’s what SUPERHOT allows you to do, all in a perfect, flowing chain of actions.
That guy has a shotgun? Pick up a bottle. Throw it at him. Take the shotgun. Shoot the guy. Turn around and dodge the bullet that was shot by the guy behind you. Shoot him. Turn to your left and spot a swordsman. You’re out of ammo. Throw the gun at him. Take his sword. Cut him down. Dodge a bullet to your right. Dodge another bullet. Cut down the gunner. Spin back around to find a man with a machinegun. Throw the sword to impale him. Complete the level. Now watch it all replay in real time.
The game is so simple, but so fun and unique in its simplicity that it’s astounding that nothing like it has existed before. It’s truly one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve ever been fortunate enough to review, and it is a game that everyone should play…so play it. I cannot give a game a more glowing endorsement than this. Play SUPERHOT. Play SUPERHOT right now.
SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.
Review code supplied by Microsoft Xbox.