STAFF REVIEW of Superhot (Xbox One)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
by Cole Jackson

Superhot Box art SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. What is Superhot you ask? Well, it is an indie developed stylish FPS puzzle game where time only moves when you do, and at your speed as well. You can dodge bullets by moving slowly out of the way or you can catch falling objects easily by slowly moving towards them. This means that in order to succeed you have to take it slow and make your decisions carefully. It feels more like a puzzle game with some FPS elements than a true FPS, but that is what makes it so interesting, and so good too.

The game begins with a text based DOS like menu. A message comes up and somebody tells you to play this cool new game “Superhot.exe.” As anyone who sees a message like this, you listen and start to play. As you progress through the game the storytelling continues this way, simple, but proper, when you consider the game's style and content. I don’t want to spoil a great story, so I’ll leave it there; but know that this game isn’t exactly as it seems. It will make you uneasy at times, which is something that I don’t think very many video games have mastered, and for Superhot to be able to do this is a testament to its developer and the job they've done.

The pace of the levels can begin very quickly, and then all of a sudden it can slow down. In one level you are instantly dropped in front of a moving car and have to jump over it, only to be attacked by an enemies right away. This stage alone resulted in my dying more times than I’ll admit, but the load times to reset levels that you must replay is almost instantaneous, which is much appreciated. After quick moments like this you can slow down and think each move through. You can figure out how to tackle each level and then just do it. There were times where I would have to change up my strategy after dying a few times only to realize I had missed an enemy shooting at me from behind. Simple, yes? But I can say that changing strategies is something you'll do often and doing so will only help you get through this game more efficiently.

The actual gameplay is very interesting. Enemies come at you from all angles as you move through each level, and you have to fight them off. Some of these enemies have guns, bats, or just their bare hands and you have the ability to use all these weapons too. For example, in one level I shot an enemy and when I ran out of ammo I threw my gun at another enemy, which made him drop his gun. I was able to catch his gun out of the air and shoot him all in one fell swoop. All while allowing time to move slowly so I could dodge bullets or other enemies on the level too. This is just one scenario in the game, and it’s very fun to solve scenarios on how to deal with all the enemies to get through alive (“Do I shoot this guy or that guy? Where is a gun? He has a gun, I’ll take his!” –> just one example of how this game can play out).

Something that is kind of tough in Superhot is figuring out how far you have to lead your shots to hit moving enemies. With the way time works in this game bullets can take a while to hit their target and if you don’t lead any given target enough you will miss your shot; a lot. Once you're on your 'A-game' though and you've mastered your timing, you'll learn that you beat each level when all the enemies have been dealt with.

At the end of each level a replay is played back in real time while the game shows and yells “SUPER. HOT” at you. It’s cool to see your sweet moves in real time, but I could have done without the large text in the middle and the loud voice. Luckily, with one button click you can get rid of that and enter a video editor to watch the replay.

Graphically, Superhot is very stylized, almost digital. The environments are pure white and the enemies are red polygonal humanoids. Bullets soar through the air with a red streak behind them and enemies crumble into tiny pixels/shards when defeated. The style is very cool and keeps with the story’s theme of playing a game within a game.

All in all, Superhot is a fun game. It executes its' unique and simple idea brilliantly, but yet it doesn’t do much more than that. Regardless, its core is very fun and that is what counts. The story is intriguing and the gameplay and controls are good. It’s a puzzle game first that has you shooting enemies in first-person. And while the game is short, it’s definitely fun. If you enjoy games like “Portal” then Superhot is for you.

Also everyone should play Superhot, (SUPER. HOT., the way the game says it in replays, is now forever stuck in my head) it’s the best game ever.

I mean what?

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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