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’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 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.



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.

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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