Game Info:

Developed By: SUPERHOT Team|
Published By: SUPERHOT Team
Release Date: February 25, 2016
Available On: PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence, Drug Reference
Genre: First Person Shooter
Mode: Single Player
MSRP: $24.99

Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!

Originally kickstarted in 2014, SUPERHOT is based on the gameplay concept that the rest of the world only moves when you do.  This allows for some rather interesting strategic possibilities, and helps create what SUPERHOT told me to say is the 'most innovative shooter I have played in years'.

Taking a somewhat retro aesthetic, you join this game as a player in a new VR game.  The computer itself is reminiscent of one from the 1980s, with a tube TV screen shape, and a simple retro text interface for the menus.  The 3D first person style graphics are somewhat similar to 1980s rendered graphics, with simple polygonal flat surfaces, and characters rendered equally simple, using all triangles.  The sound effects also reinforce this point, as there is no music, but excellent sound effects that reinforce the 1980s VR feel, with lots of intentional distortion similar to period pieces like Lawnmower Man and Max Headroom.



Strong Points: Very neat (and fun!) time manipulation mechanic; scenario and story are interesting; lots of bonus challenges once you beat the game; it's the most innovative shooter I've played in years
Weak Points: Main campaign is fairly short, beatable in under three hours
Moral Warnings: Drug reference according to ESRB (I missed it); you kill everyone you come in contact with, or they kill you; computer bosses you around and makes you do strange things like share the final strong point above

In each level, your goal is to be the last one standing.  Every person on each level has only one goal, and that is to kill you.  Some use guns, others use melee weapons, and others just their fists.  The same goes for you – you can use any of those weapons, or virtually any other of the movable items in a level to disrupt or kill your opponents.  This can often be critical, as you can be vastly outnumbered – and you only have a split second to startle one opponent or dodge the bullets from another.

The level design is well done, as I found each one requires a new skill, or twists on already established ones.  There are some surprises as well.  Time doesn't technically stand still, it just goes at about 1/1000th speed.  So bullets, vehicles, and other fast moving things still move, just really slowly while you wait.  This can lead to some tense situations where you have to act faster than expected.  It also allows for some tricky planning where you can use that to your advantage, especially once you unlock body hopping.

While each level is rather memorable, each one isn't that long, so the game can go by quickly.  I was able to see the ending the same day I started playing, in under three hours.  However, there are a lot of challenge modes and other forms of unlocked content, but no new actual levels from what I saw.  However, some of the challenges are pretty neat.  I found Katana mode lots of fun, for example.  In this mode, you start each level with a Katana, and cannot use any other weapon at all. If you throw it at someone, you better plan for a way to go pick it up again!

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

And that's really the thing about SUPERHOT – while there is definitely action here, there is also a fair amount of strategic planning, and lots of repetition until you get it just right.  It somewhat tests your reflexes, but if you can learn from mistakes and plan around dealing with multiple threats simultaneously, it can be a lot of fun.  And you'll feel like Neo from the Matrix while doing it.  Or even Agent Smith.

It is probably not surprising that there is plenty of first person violence, that clearly you are inflicting on others.  And you have not done your job unless it's fatal.  There is no blood or gore at all; characters split into triangles and fade away when killed.  I did not see any curse words at all, and while the ESRB pointed out a drug reference, I did not pick up on it.  The computer is rather pushy, and performs some kind of psychological manipulation on the player.

SUPERHOT is honestly a really fun FPS game that is much different than most in that it is more about strategy than pure twitch reflexes, as you have plenty of time to line up shots.  My only real complaint about it is that it's short.  I believe that the ESRB rating of Teen is appropriate in this case.  I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.  It might even be one of the most innovative shooters I've played in years.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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