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Review

Review: SUPERHOT – Killing in the Name of?

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Bullet Time shooter SUPERHOT is a phenomenon on social media and with the press ever since its announcement. The FPS is now out on Steam and we set out to look what’s concealed behind the pretty facad

SUPERHOT is a single-player First-Person-Shooter which was developed by a team of the same name. Kickstarter backers paid for the crowd funded extravaganza. Visually the game’s unique. While surroundings are steril in white and shades of blue while enemies catch your eye by being made out of red and orange glowing glass. There are no textures and by having an extraordinary level design, each level feels different.

SUPERHOT

SUPERHOT’s unique traid is its core mechanic. Once you move, enemies also get into motion. If you idly plan your next move, they act in super slow-mo. Because of that you can plot your next stab or shot in all calmness, at least in the beginning. Soon there’ll be shooting shotguns, pistoles and katanas next to you which you can all use by disarming your opponents with thrown ashtrays or whiskey glasses. This does not only feel satisfying through the visuals but also works very well and just as smooth as the replays suggest.

After a while you unlock the “Hotswitch” ability. With the press of a button you can gain control of your enemies. Your former host body dies but also the weapon of your new vassal destroys itself automatically. This creates brand-new tactile options especially since the ability has to be recharged and can’t be freely used.

There are several different tactics per level that work out. At a subway station on both sides enemies just burst down the stairs. You can either lure them to the train platform or intercept them between the stairs, getting in the in-fight with your fits (three hits and they’re history) and hoping for a weapon drop. At another point in the game you have to take an impressive villa made out of a foyer that reminds us a lot of Brian de Palma’s movie Scarface (see screenshot). You have to defeat the incoming ninjas, only to face the rattling machine gun of the final enemy which should expect you coming at him while shouting “say hello to MY little friend.”

SUPERHOT

SUPERHOT is about finding the right tactic and making the most out of your environments and enemy spawn points. The latter is always the same, that can also be said about their equipment. So SUPERHOT reminds us a bit of a Hotline Miami in 3D since it’s stylistically unique and puts you into interesting level designs to perform large-scale kill combos until the final enemy is down. In opposition there’s mostly no music and enemy’s equip doesn’t change on each run. Once you killed every enemy in the level, there’s the title being echoed by a computer voice over and over again – SUPER HOT, SUPER HOT, SUPER HOT. You may witness your kill orgy once again and save them onto an online platform called Killstagram for your sharing needs.

Your videos get uploaded onto Killstagram, auto-generating a combination of mindlessly arrayed terms, the same naming system applies to your account. If you register to it, you can add hashtags such as #GunSluggerNoScope, #BUTTERFINGERS or #BROCCOLI. There’s a small collection of videos we took in this review (here’s our Killstagram profile).

Die Story ist zu Beginn noch nicht ganz klar, relativ schnell merkt man aber, dass der Spieler nicht so viel Kontrolle besitzt, wie das Spiel zuerst suggeriert. Das System fordert immer mehr von euch, es scheint ein perfides Spiel dahinter zu stecken, aus dem so einfach kein Entrinnen ist. Auch das mag etwas an Hotline Miami erinnern. Wir wollen hier nicht allzu viel verraten, es gibt jedoch Momente im Spiel, in denen man gerne eine Wahlmöglichkeit hätte. Die hat man nicht. Klar versucht das SUPERHOT Team damit einen Standpunkt klar zu machen, da sind wir wieder bei der alten Diskussion, ob man hier nicht doch dem Spieler eine Wahl geben könnte, wie es in vielen kontroversen Szenen der Spielegeschichte sie hätte geben können.

After 2 hours the meta adventure is still not completed. You unlock a whole array of extras, e.g. ASCII drawings of Fight Club or even whole mini-games like the Wood Chop Simulator. There’s also an online lobby which replicates the tone and language “real” chat rooms quite well. In these endless discussions you find out more about the plot of the FPS, so we recommend you visit that.

There’s also an Endless mode in which you take down an infinite number of enemies. Here the important thing is to always be on the look-out for the next enemy and to grab falling guns while dodging bullets in Matrix style. In Katana-only you replay the story levels while only swinging your blade. That actually turns out to be easier than the campaign since there’s no reload time for this deadly slicing weapon.

SUPERHOT

Conclusion

At first glance SUPERHOT is a First-Person-Shooter with huge stylistical appeal, smooth gameplay and a fair lern curve. But there’s much more behind that. It may not be the “most innovative shooter that you’ve played in years”, like the developer might wanna hear it (wink) but there are all sorts of pop-cultural references and a big part of the game is just how do you responsible use technology that’s gotten pretty huge and important in our daily lifes, especially the social media aspect. 20 Euro might make you think to dodge this bullet but for what SUPERHOT tries to be it succeeds wholeheartedly and it surely will continue to be that phenomenon.

Every screenshot and video was taken by us using the PC Steam version in 1080p. This game was provided by the publisher for review purposes, check our review policy for details.

SUPERHOT
Genre: Ego-Shooter
System: PC/Mac (reviewed), to be released on Xbox One in March
Price: €23/£18/$25 (Steam, XBL) (currently 10% cheaper)
Developer: SUPERHOT Team
Publisher: SUPERHOT Team

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