Superhot is a nicely polished game, with a cool concept, and striking visual style. But it’s worse than I thought it would be.

I don’t have anything against shorter games, but in the case of Superhot there needed to be more to it. Not in the sense of “providing more value for money”, rather it’s because it didn’t fully exploit the mechanics it had on hand. For example, one hour into the game you’re introduced to a new cool mechanic that has a huge impact on how you play the game. For the next few levels you learn how to use it. But then before the potential of the mechanic has been exhausted, you hit the end of the game. The result is a feeling of “wait, that’s it?”.

There are also other details that I feel were a mistake. Enemies don’t make any sound, which resulted in them shooting me in the back or the side without warning. You could see this as part of the challenge, but to me this felt like a detriment, as many deaths felt unfair, like they were out of my control. With better situational awareness the deaths would’ve felt like they were in my responsibility, and not random chance, or malicious level design screwing me over. In something like Hotline Miami the top down perspective gave you enough sense of control that the 100 retries on any level felt alright, because you blamed yourself and not the game. It’s the same for Serious Sam, where you gain a remarkable 360 view of the combat arenas thanks to how every enemy is constantly emitting sound. Superhot is too stripped down in this regard, so you have to go through a trial and error cycle to learn where enemies are. This diminishes the sense of skill involved, and is a contributing factor to why I didn’t have as much fun as I expect from the genre.

As a result, my recommendation is lukewarm. It’s not bad, but it isn’t enough. I saw other reviews describe it as “short but sweet”. I don’t agree. It’s “short but eh it’s alright, you should probably play something else”.

Peter HasselströmComment