Review

Review: Superhot (Xbox One)

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I slept on Superhot until it came on Games with Gold this month (March 2018), and I finally got to experience what everyone was raving about. Did the hype ring hollow, or was everybody right in calling this a masterpiece?

At a Glance – 9.5 / 10

Overall, Superhot is an extraordinary experience, as innovative as the hype surrounding it would suggest. Its premise is one that is understandable instantly, with only the briefest of instruction necessary for you to grasp the concept. The moment to moment gameplay is extremely addicting, with no amount of dying in the level dissuading you from trying again. If there was only one solution to each of these ‘puzzles’ then it might not be as engaging, but the way you can solve each is as myriad as the reasons why you should play this game. All of this is tied together with an extremely cool narrative, told in a very engaging way, that absolutely puts the cherry on this awesome sundae.

Best of all, if you own an Xbox One and have Gold, then you can pick this up for free right now. What are you waiting for?

I’ve known about this game for a while now, it is impossible to hide from the hype of a release like this. When it came out and seemed everyone was talking about it, and frequent perusal of some captures from the game had me instantly interested. There are so many games out there competing for time right now that I somehow just missed this one. Needless to say I was extremely excited to see it added to Games with Gold this month. I was a little hesitant at the same time though, could it possibly live up to the hype the gaming community had built for me?

Amazingly, the answer is a resounding yes.

The hook of Superhot is a simple one to understand, and instantly engaging on execution. You play from a first person perspective, but time moves so slowly that it effectively stands still; until you move that is. Once you begin moving everything moves in real-time, but only until you stop moving again. You’ll be dropped into combat scenarios with a brief flavor text on the screen, and then you start looking around to figure out your surroundings.

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Those surroundings are extremely simplistic, with white walls and floors and red enemies that are little more than human being shaped target practice dummies. Anything you can pick up is colored black, so there is no mistaking your death-dealing potentials. The scenarios though drastically vary; perhaps you are in a hall, with two red figures coming in from the far side, or maybe you are in an elevator surrounded by enemies, with a gun already pointed at your head.

At this point you could try to move like an other FPS, guns blazing out a staccato solution to your problem, but more often than not you’ll wind up quickly dead. In Superhot one shot is enough to end your life. So every battle becomes a puzzle, one where you can stop and attempt to figure out what to do next. This affords you a bevy of options, and every battle ends up becoming a ballet of awesome in which you are the star dancer. Because you are afforded the time to decide how to move through the encounter, every single one makes you feel like Jason Bourne.

You are afforded physical attacks when unarmed, a simple punch combo on  your right trigger that with 3 hits can kill the simplistic, red figures that come at you. However, if that person is wielding a gun it will fly up into the air, allowing you to snatch it in dramatic fashion out of midair.

Remember, everything only moves when you do, so within seconds you’ve attacked this baddie, their weapon has flown into the air, you’ve grabbed it, and now you pull the trigger, causing them to shatter in spectacular fashion. When that weapon is emptied of bullets you can throw it at an enemy, and if it hits them they will drop their weapon as if you punched them. Bullets move slowly enough that you can move around a single one, so you can maneuver through the environment in this way swapping weapons, hitting enemies, and instantly looking about to assess the next situation.

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Like I said, it is a simple hook, but one that is extremely effective, allowing for any combination of viable ways to solve the death puzzle. The main campaign, such as it is, is only a couple of hours long, nothing ever really repeats itself, and the game never outstays its welcome. In fact, I started playing Endless Mode as soon as it was over, immediately serving up some more of the amazing gameplay for myself.

The story itself, one which I shall not endeavor to spoil here, was surprisingly very engaging and heady stuff. I didn’t expect for the game to even have a story, I thought it was just a collection of battles, but the less you know about it the better. I won’t say anything more here except this: SUPERHOT is the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years!

To those of you that have beaten it, picture a big winking face right here.

Overall, Superhot is an extraordinary experience, as innovative as the hype surrounding it would suggest. Its premise is one that is understandable instantly, with only the briefest of instruction necessary for you to grasp the concept. The moment to moment gameplay is extremely addicting, with no amount of dying in the level dissuading you from trying again. If there was only one solution to each of these ‘puzzles’ then it might not be as engaging, but the way you can solve each is as myriad as the reasons why you should play this game. All of this is tied together with an extremely cool narrative, told in a very engaging way, that absolutely puts the cherry on this awesome sundae.

Best of all, if you own an Xbox One and have Gold, then you can pick this up for free right now (March 2018). What are you waiting for?

Final Score – 9.5 out of 10

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3 thoughts on “Review: Superhot (Xbox One)

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