Shooters fight for the title of ‘innovative’. Some add destructible environments, some add tactics, and others… just add a gender. None of these are innovative, they’re just different decorations added to the same brick of a game that you have been bashed over the head with for years. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with SUPERHOT.
The concept of SUPERHOT can be boiled down to one short statement: Time moves when you do. You can watch bullets trail past with Matrix-finesse, you can walk through a firefight with ease, you can – actually that’s the gist of it, but it’s really cool. Honest. The game first emerged as a flash demo a couple years ago and has since been the top of many a “most addictive game” threads. This final full release takes the pre-established concept and runs with it brilliantly.
There’s been a ‘plot’ added to give a structure to the game. I put it in quotation marks as I have literally no concept of what was happening, nor what the purpose or point of it was. The biggest positives were that it provided a convenient excuse to cover loading screens, the occasionally welcomed break from all the chaos, and a way for them to think of a reasonable finale. In terms of natural progression the game is very well structured, giving you just enough time to get to grips with the latest addition before throwing something new into the mix. However, by the finale it definitely feels as through the well has run dry, as the innovation of new tactics or weapons falls away to putting you in deeper and deeper shit shows.
It would be a lie to say it isn’t fun, and at the end of every level you feel a sense of accomplishment and awesomeness that will hopefully wash away the occasional frustration. It’s also a game that knows its core appeal, quick, easy, fun, and crucially replayable. It’s not going to convince you to play for hours on end to unlock something, it’s designed to hold your attention for a short amount of time and to be so fun that you keep coming back for more. For this reason, once you complete the ‘campaign’ there is a multitude of challenges and modes for you to try out, not to slog through, but to give you something to work on the next time you dive back in.
There are of course problems. For instance, while not moving does bring the game to an almost standstill, there isn’t a pause menu, and pushing the button that usually pauses instead causes you to quit… Yeah, that’s fun to discover. Also, there seem to be times where your character will move regardless of what you tell it to, edging slowly to the left or right, which in any other game would be a minor inconvenience, but in a game structured so tightly around the repercussions of every move you make, this quickly becomes frustrating. Finally, while there is thankfully a jump function, your character can’t comprehend the concept of crouching, resulting in numerous unneeded deaths that cause you to feel slightly cheated and enraged.
Overall it’s a fun game with some flaws. It’s not won’t be anyone’s game of the year, but it may be one that you keep coming back to.
SUPERHOT is available now on Steam.