Bullet Time is nothing new. Max Payne made it popular in games, The Matrix defined it in film. Superhot, though, takes the idea and pushes it one stage further.
While Superhot is technically a First Person Shooter, it’s very different to anything else you might have played before. The game is made from a series of vignettes, each with a small scenario that you will need to memorise. All the characters are silhouettes with the backgrounds being barely detailed shapes but ones that distinctly define the environment. It’s a little like a futuristic version of Tron.
As you move the other characters move, when you stop they slow to a crawl, giving you time to think and plan your next move. This gives Superhot for more of a strategy slant than your standard FPS. You need to plan every shot in advance, often dying in the process and then going back to repeat the steps, mapping every move in your head.
Taking place in car parks, offices, corridors and other areas that have strategically placed columns and objects to hide behind, Superhot’s environments are deliberately designed as modern mazes to be used as shields or slow down enemies who need to navigate around them. While technically all you’re doing is really just playing a slowed down shooter, the slow motion leads to some deftly choreographed fights that wouldn’t look out of place in a John Woo movie. This is realised in the sped up replays after you complete one of the short levels. The whole carefully planned out fight is shown at normal speed, showing just how impressive it really was, alongside a mysterious voice shouting Super. Hot. over and over.
After a short time the level seem to flow and the process becomes an addiction. This is no accident, the story, told in interactive cut scenes where you control an old terminal complete with hidden files, ASCII files and games you can play, centres on the addition and excitement of playing a game that is not even supposed to be released, a game called Superhot. But is it you playing a character playing the game or you playing the game? Or maybe the game is playing you. The forth wall breaking story isn’t any better than those that have gone before, but it’s a well written and effective framework for the game that throws up a few surprises.
What could have been just a fun, fresh take on the FPS genre becomes something a little more special thank to the developers’ use of a neat story to wrap the action in. Superhot deserves to be played by anyone sick of the current glut of shooters out there, it’s SuperFresh.
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