Superhot review - Tron, Matrix and Tarantino-style shambles
How to use a great and quite original patent for an unusual shooter with interesting gameplay mechanics, consisting in manipulating time? It can be done traditionally, creating a game about the fate of a detective or any other story, and treating the introduced novelty as a spectacular addition in the form of a special film effect. Another method is to add an elaborate and complicated plot to it that would justify the hero's use of such power. A small Polish studio chose the third way - to subordinate everything to this idea, making it practically the only attraction around which the rest revolves. Because it all started with this one idea and creating several levels for an online competition. The mini-game was made available in the browser version, and the next steps were Steam Greenlight and the Kickstarter campaign. However, we had to wait two and a half years for the full version - during this time, the authors achieved other goals promised during the collection, such as better animations and additional game modes. Superhot , however, remained painfully minimalist and economical in every aspect, but not because of the rush or lack of ideas. It is a very thoughtful, surprising game in which you can see one coherent concept implemented from start to finish. I'm just afraid if this minimalism is a bit too much here.
On the first contact, Superhot resembles the Polish version of the film Tron with an admixture of the Matrix and Quentin Tarantino's style. Sterile white locations, blood-red virtual opponents and missiles fired - stopped in the air or rushing towards us. "Time only flows when you move" - the simple principle behind this FPS makes Superhot play differently , exceptionally, and the gameplay is downright hypnotic - just like the sound of a mantra repeated every now and then, game title. Each stage takes us straight into the action movie freeze frame at the moment of the greatest carnage, and it is this "active pause" that gives the greatest control over the situation. Shoot? Get out of the line of fire? Try to reach the lying machine gun? You do not need skill, accuracy, but cold calculation and anticipation of the next actions. Superhot is great fun when the defeated enemies shatter into thousands of pieces like glass panes, a volley of several shotgun bullets fly by a hair from us or at the last moment we cut the katana in half with a cartridge heading towards us.
Fists, elements of the environment that can be used to throw at the opponent, all kinds of sticks, hammers, clubs and the aforementioned samurai sword that wreak real havoc are equally effective in combat. The mix of planning and spectacular battles makes Superhot a one-of-a-kind FPS, although perhaps a more accurate word would be the puzzle that represents each level in the game. All because the maps are very small and the number and location of enemies is always the same, at least in the story mode. The advantage is the design of the rooms, contrary to appearances, quite rich in details, despite the minimalist style. In offices, a bar, at a railway station, parking lots and in many other locations, we can find many atmospheric flavors from the 1980s - in addition to brick-shaped cells or CRT monitors, there are also parked polonaises, large Fiats and Nysa!
These references to the previous era are also found elsewhere, as ingenious as the game itself, namely on its menu. Stylized on the popular Norton Commander file manager from the times of MS-DOS system allows not only to manipulate a few options as in the old days, but also includes a lot of other, fully functional, filled with the contents of files and folders. We can find there mini-games, an ASCII picture gallery and simple animations. Like a trifle, but it shows how much attention was paid to the details of the entire production. The menu is also distinguished by the fact that - surprisingly - it plays an important role in the plot of Superhot . We are not dealing here with traditional history. The Superhot game itself is the main character and everything revolves around it, including the user who plays it , that is - with us . There are moments here that are simply brilliant, like the one in which the creators perfectly predicted what I would think about this position after playing a few stages, and those less accurate. At some point, the main plot becomes just too intrusive - it interrupts our fun far too often , throwing us to the menu, forcing us to pretend to chat, and all this happens during the already short stages and on small maps that sometimes will give be completed in seconds. Occasionally, we only have the opportunity to visit some more extensive areas, walk along a longer corridor and then you can see how much the atmosphere of the game gains thanks to the sheer curiosity and mystery. Unfortunately, in most cases, we immediately face the enemy, and it would be useful to balance even illusory exploration and surprise attacks with the fight itself. However, it should be appreciated that the product offers new mechanics almost until the end of the plot, but it does not change the fact that the whole thing ends very quickly, after a maximum of three hours . What is left after?
At first glance, there are plenty of options for further fun. We have a challenge mode, modifiers, new locations and the option to play with no time limits. Compared to the easy story stages, here we can really feel a challenge, trying to complete the struggle with only a bare fist, one bullet in each weapon or one life, although it still applies to the same, already known levels. The new maps can be found in the "endless" mode, but this one is about repelling waves of enemies in the same area and it gets boring very quickly. We have one challenge related to the transition of the game stylized to the creation from 2013, when its prototype was created and the colors were completely different, but in general, in the new modes I lacked a greater variety, such as changing the colors to black and green , which could simulate a night fight.
Apparently, we get a lot of opportunities, but rolling the same stages with imposed restrictions did not draw me as much as the short storyline. Fortunately, there is also a cherry on the cake, which the authors did not really boast about, and which provides a lot of fun - secrets! Most of the levels are not only claustrophobic arenas for fighting red opponents, but also quite large labyrinths leading to terminals - computers that reveal the secrets of the game to a greater or lesser extent. The value of the collectibles themselves is debatable and often unclear, as is the story, but the way to find them and get to them is a really cool thing. Sometimes it is enough to jump somewhere, sometimes notice a different shade of the wall and go through it, but in many cases you have to work a lot to find the right path, and sometimes even look for a marker and penetrate part of the map. As a reward, in addition to the terminals themselves, we will find completely new objects and places - tropical palm trees, coffins, neon lights, abandoned shoes, strange mechanical dogs, a screen displaying an accurate comment from the creators and probably many other surprises waiting somewhere behind the wall and three garbage cans. The secrets and the path to them perfectly match the interesting solutions in Superhot and of all the ideas for extending the game, they are by far the most satisfying.