Superhot is an independently-made first-person shooter, first released in February 2016, which has been developed and published by Superhot Team. It places the player into a set of simulated gunfights within a computer terminal. The twist is that time only moves when you move, making the game a unique and enjoyable shooter.

Superhot’s marketing has harnessed the twin powers of social media and independent gaming. Early previews of the game went viral last year, having captivated innumerable gamers with an innovative approach to the FPS genre.

The final product is a more polished version of that early demonstration, while retaining the essential elements which made it initially so popular. It is exceptionally well-crafted to allow players to jump in and play around with the basic concepts before it ramps up the challenge level.

“The game has its own sense of wicked style which encourages the player to carry out equally cool and ridiculous actions.”

The game is set within a computer terminal with you, the player, apparently testing out some new virtual reality software. The game’s menus are made out like an early form of Windows computers which could be tacky but actually work very well. You communicate with an anonymous other person via chat (allowing the player to actually ‘talk’ to this person) who introduces you to the game itself.

Like the best independent games with a clever hook, it seems simple but later becomes tricky: time only moves when you move. Each level is set in a whitewash environment, such as an office or car park, where numerous faceless red men attack you. The player uses the central time mechanic to dodge bullets, tackle enemies, reach for objects and move around. Each level ends with a sped-up version of the player’s successful run-through.

“It is incredibly satisfying when, for example, a thrown briefcase knocks a gun out of an enemy’s hand which you catch and use to destroy him”

The game has its own sense of wicked style which encourages the player to carry out equally cool and ridiculous actions. Ironic phrases flash up at the beginning of each level and headshots are often rewarded with similarly tongue-in-cheek remarks. Fighting in a cool slow motion, matrix-style way is the natural approach. You quickly learn to string together melee attacks, dodging bullets and firing guns in one slick manoeuver.

It is incredibly satisfying when, for example, a thrown briefcase knocks a gun out of an enemy’s hand which you catch and use to destroy him and another enemy before jumping away from a further shotgun blast. Letting the player create their own fun is a powerful tool in any game and it certainly has its place here.

In terms of value for money, Superhot is not bad at all. It will not take a hugely long time to complete but it still exceeds the length of several triple-A shooters on the market today. The replay value is also excellent for the individual levels, and there also is a ‘story’, which is more fleshed out and creatively handled than one might expect from a game of this type. I certainly didn’t see the direction it was going in and was impressed by the end result.

Superhot is a fun shooter which gives a good deal of bang for one’s buck. It contains innovative mechanics, which begin simply enough, but lead to more complex situations which are always a delight to navigate. It is a stylish, surprising and unique game which should not be missed.

Tom Welshman

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