SuperHot is a unique shooter that starts you off in the role of a gamer who receives a cracked copy of a virtual world where the one objective is: Kill the Red Guys. Though the story may be beaten within a couple hours, the game has tons to do, multiple ways to beat each level, and much replayability.
I will leave out spoilers as the story was, though beatable in 3-4 hours, very interesting. SuperHot leads the player as a kid who is simply trying to play an illegal copy of the game, SuperHot, who they receive from a friend online and become addicted to the game, eventually trapping themselves inside the virtual world. SuperHot attempts to be mystic by breaking the 4th wall in a way by making the player feel helpless, which has been done by other games many times before. This does not go to say though that it was not enjoyable or executed poorly. The game has a solid story that plays on internal conflict and a sense of corporate evil that the protagonist is playing into.
Besides the main gameplay, the computer console-like nature of the main menu allows you to partake in a few mini-games or story-like chat logs between a few others who seemed to have met the same fate as yourself by getting trapped in Super Hot and converting about their experience. These of course are all pregenerated to add mystery to the overall story of the main game.
Each level starts the player in a spot where they must map out their movement based on the location of the Red Guys. Enemies always know where you are, so hiding or stealth is not an option. The goal is to kill each Red Guy, to which the level will end as all the lives of your enemies do as well. This is difficult because enemies have the tendency to spawn simultaneously among the level, which may take dying a few times to understand where you should move next; every step counts.
SuperHot has very simple controls: move, Jump, shoot, and throw. This however, is where the game becomes most unique because time is virtually slowed down about 95% unless you are moving. This allows the player to dodge bullets and plan ahead based on enemy movement. Red Guys sometimes predict your movement and will place a shot right in front of the player, therefore it may be more effective to predict the trajectory of the bullet and stop just in time for it to whizz in front of your face.
Later in the game, the player will also have the ability to “Hot Switch” where you are able to take over the body of a Red Guy, killing yourself in the process. This power is rechargeable within a level and is completed by looking at an enemy and pressing the Hot Switch button assigned to your peripheral.
Levels either start you off barehanded, with a gun, or yielding an intimate object. There are 3 guns: Handgun, Shotgun, and a machine-gun. The handgun holds anywhere from 3-4 bullets while the shotgun holds 2 shells and the machine gun will holds about 3-4 “bursts” of 3-5 shots each. This is, of course, only while the player holds the weapon as the enemy has unlimited ammo to throw your way. When you run out of ammo, it is best to find an enemy who is closest and Is also yielding a gun and throw your own firearm at this enemy as they are likely to drop or throw theirs in the air when struck. You have this small window to either grab their loose firearm to fire at others, run away, or throw the firearm at an incoming bullet. Yes, that’s right, you can destroy an oncoming bullet either by throwing an object or gun at the bullet or shoot it directly like James McAvoy in Wanted.
Throwing objects is just as strategic as shooting and sometimes, that is your only option. Without a gun or throwable object in the level, you can rely on your fists or legs. If you are close enough, a punch to the enemy enables them to act like they do when an object strikes them as the Red Guy grimaces and drops their weapon. Add a few more punches and you can even kill Red Guys with your bare hands. When I mention legs, there is not a kick button, however you can, if you jump from a bar top or ledge, land on the head of a Red Guy like Mario, shattering their polygons to bits. It is not all that easy as jumping will speed time up and the shroud of bullets flying at you in mid-air can be difficulty to dodge.
One more important thing one must understand about SuperHot is that, though headshots look amazing, they are not necessary. Any shot anywhere will guy a red-guy. It is bare-knuckle punches and thrown items that will not kill a Red Guy. A well-placed shot anywhere on the body will reduce the enemy to a shattered mess of red polygons.
Beating the main story holds a few extras like Challenge Mode, Speed Run, and Level Selection. Challenge mode allows the player to re-beat every level but with a different set of rules such as fists-only, Super-Throwing where you are only allowed to throw guns, and my personal favorite: KATANAONLY where you are only allowed to wield, slash and throw your Katana. These challenge levels all save your best time and have 25 levels each.
Speed Run allows you to try your best at speeding through the levels and reducing your overall time spent beating the game as a whole. Speed-running is not my forte but it is a nice feature to have, especially being able to go back and select one of your favorite levels.
Level selection, challenge mode, speed-running, and even the main story also have a great feature where every time you beat a level, there will be shown a replay of your gameplay in real-time and you even have the option to save, edit, and upload the replay. Sometimes, you complete an extremely cool run and it’s a pretty nice feature to be able to save this progress and replay it later or compare it to a friend’s actions.
SuperHot was not necessarily a long game as it will take about 3-4 hours to beat, however it really does not need to be. The Game brought enough uniqueness to the table where its simplicity was made up by the challenge and versatility that was provided overall. Even after beating SuperHot, I was able to go back and replay my favorite levels, skim through challenge mode, and test myself to earn more achievements. SuperHot doesn’t need power-ups, a large list of guns, bosses, or even a score. You just shoot Red Guys.
Anyone that beats SuperHot will know one thing: You have to check out this game. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years.