We saw Superhot a long time ago, back when it was announced in a Gamescom trailer that blared out the title over and over like some kind of twisted Kraftwerk video. The premise is simple, time moves when you do. You can hit someone to steal their gun, throw anything to stun enemies, and must kill all the enemies to beat each level. There are only three colours, white, black, and red. According to Steam it only took us two hours to beat, but that’s not counting a challenges mode and endless mode that unlocks after you win. It’s the most innovative shooter we’ve played in years.
The beauty comes from the intricate ballet that you craft. Death comes from a single bullet you must dodge every single one. Guns have hardly any ammo so you’re constantly discarding weapons like Neo in the bank lobby and feel all the more awesome for doing so. Grab a katana? Why not slice a bullet that you can’t avoid in half, then spin around and rend a man in half before jumping in the air and throwing it like a javelin into a heart of another enemy before landing, taking the pistol that still hangs in mid air from the first opponent and lining up a perfect headshot from across the room? Organising that will probably take ten or so attempts, restarting almost instantly each time you mess up and get hit, but once you finally crack it you can watch the whole thing at full speed as if you’re some kind of savant.
The levels themselves are bite-size chunks but all are crafted to introduce new or interesting challenges like a different kind of cover or more angles from which enemies will attack you. The best ones involve vehicles and plate glass windows but all of them are enjoyable in their own way. Really we just wish there were far more of them.
The game does have a few rough edges, the restarts feel like they should be instant but there is a brief delay which irritates after a time. Games like Trials HD and Hardline Miami got this so right, allowing you to constantly rewind a try again, but in Superhot the pause is distinct and frustrating. The levels are generally very small in scope and it feels like there could be a much broader range of interesting environments but the game is sadly over before you know it. The hit detection is adequate but often you’ll see a bullet appear to pass over your head but end your game, as if the camera is in the middle of the player’s chest. These are all small annoyances but they prevent Superhot from becoming the class it could have been. With a level editor and Steam Workshop support we’d be playing this game for months to come, as it is we’ll spend a bit of time in the challenges but then pass over it as an interesting curiosity. It’s a beautiful and innovative game, but it doesn’t have the staying power of many others.
There are interesting questions in the game that we feel touch on the morality of deriving so much pleasure from senseless mass murder, but we wouldn’t want to spoil the story here. Suffice to say this game is easily recommended and for £16.19 (you can get it cheaper if you have a friend who has finished the game) you can’t go far wrong. Just don’t expect anything too lengthy.