Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Super ... Hot ....Super ...Hot ...Super ...Hot

I played a demo of Super Hot several years ago but I only got around to playing the full game recently. The full campaign took me just over four hours much of which was spent dying and restarting as I learned how to overcome each of the levels. There is an ongoing "endless" gameplay mode however for those who wish to keep playing.

Superhot is a shooter with a simple twist that completely turns the gameplay on its head. When you stand still the game time slows to a trickle but whenever you move time moves.  You can rotate your vision while time is slowed but moving, attacking or even picking up a weapon allows time to flow normally. It is not like bullet time in other games because when you move at normal speed just like everyone else. You cannot move faster than a speeding bullet. You can however use the frozen moment of time to predict exactly where that bullet will travel and to try an ensure you aren't there.

The main challenge of Super hot and its main learning curve is to stifle all of your natural gaming instincts honed over many years of playing other games. When an enemy appears in front of you and fires a gun your overwhelming instinct is to run for cover as quickly as you can. This will likely get you killed in Superhot as you blindly run into a bullet or another enemy. The correct play is to first do absolutely nothing. You stand still and time will freeze. Then you carefully look all around to gauge where the bullets will fly, where the enemies are and where the safest spot is likely to be. Then and only then you move one step at a time. After each step you freeze again to reassess. If you do this carefully and methodically you can pull off incredibly feats of ninjaesque prowess dodging bullets and slicing through multiple enemies when the footage is replayed in real time. Once you master this the game does become rather easy (hence the relatively short playtime) but I did find my natural instincts constantly trying to reassert themselves particularly during those later levels when the number of enemies ramps up. An additional body swap mechanic is introduced for the later levels which allows your to swap with any enemy instantly killing them. It allows for some extra puzzle complications.

Superhot has a beautiful blown out white aesthetic and it does have that terrific "gimmick" but the plot tacked onto it is rather weak in my opinion. There is a storyline of sorts involving some kind of 1980's era computer text that really didn't grab me. In fact I found the frequent cut scenes and plot exposition sequences tedious and would have been happier if they could have been skipped to get to the next level. The levels themselves are compelling however.