Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!
This is probably going to be a rather unique review. The main reason is this game is actually not available for retail purchase, but only for arcade operators who directly contact the fine folks at www.superhotgame.com/arcades and fill out their contact form. Well, that and members of the press who requested it, which would be us. We already have an excellent review of SUPERHOT VR, here. (To my shame, I've been sitting on this game to review longer than I would like to admit. I finally decided to rectify that.) Please refer to that review for how fun and appropriate it is if you are a normal gamer curious about SUPERHOT VR. This review assumes you are already familiar with that game.
In the original virtual-reality masterpiece SUPERHOT VR, when you start the game you go right into the levels, and the prompts on screen not only teach you how to play, but occasionally will ask strange things of the player for the sake of storytelling, like shooting yourself in the head. You don't get any control over what levels to play, or any optional game modes until you've beaten the game once.
Given the style of game as it is, SUPERHOT VR has understandably become really popular, and is still considered one of the best VR games out there. Not because of its graphics (they are fairly low detail) but because the feeling of dodging bullets in a virtual world and shooting back is just too much fun. Because of the bite-sized nature of the game (each level is just a few seconds), it's a perfect fit for VR arcade venues... if only it was just a bit more flexible. Enter SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition.
In this Arcade Edition, you bypass all of the storyline fluff, and immediately go to a main menu, where you get to choose what game mode you would like to play. It's all in an easy to navigate menu, where you have the option to begin (standard game mode), level select (choose to start on any level - all unlocked from the start) and custom. The custom modes include challenges where you are time-limited to see how far you can get in the time provided (HOT at 5 minutes, short at 15, and long at 30 minutes), and an endless mode.
The real meat of the game is in the operator mode. When you launch the game, the attached monitor and keyboard both play special functions. The monitor is meant to be a public viewing of what the player is doing, and if no one is, it plays a video trailer loop intended to drum up interest. There is also a score tally, which is totally new to SUPERHOT VR (it's not included in the original). Each action, whether killing, headshots, and so on, is counted and tallied up at the end. Of course there are leaderboards that you can join if you have a good run. If you use a non-custom mode, you can even compare your score with the online leaderboards.
In order to bring up the operator mode, the arcade operator would press 'Ctrl+A' while looking at the monitor. It then brings up an overlay, with which they can then make changes. These are written out to an 'arcade.ini' file that is written out in the install directory. (These settings can easily be copied/restored as needed.) You can also affect the running game, by restarting the level, restarting the game, skipping to the next level, adding time, or ending the current game entirely.
The operator mode's available game types include Full Game, No Time Limit, Short (15 Minutes, All Levels), Long (30 Minutes, All Levels), HOT (5 Minutes, Hard Levels), Free Play, Endless, and Custom. The first four modes are pretty much hard-set; you can't customize them. For the Custom/Free Play/Endless modes, you can specify how long they can play or how many lives they have (it's one or the other), and if they have a grace period or if the game ends abruptly when time runs out. You can also customize some text displayed on screen (#ONEOFUS is default; it could be set to MYARCADE or whatever) as well as if the game mode is displayed, the score is displayed while playing, or if the SUPERHOT logo is visible. There are also other settings, like control variations, whether or not to display the trailer, as well as leaderboard settings. Finally, you can adjust when or where the real-world boundary is displayed.
For those curious, the standard edition, while not having scores, does have bonus modes not available in the Arcade Edition once they have beaten the game. These include a 'Hard Core' mode, and 'No Guns' as well as 'Headshots Only' modes. Of course you are also missing the chance to see some half-broken CRTs and such as you look around the virtual dilapidated computer room that you start in once you've beaten SUPERHOT VR. You can easily simulate Endless, Whole Game in 10 minutes, and speedrun modes in the Arcade Edition.
Just like SUPERHOT VR, there are standard appropriateness issues, like gunshots and melee violence. It seems like most of the in-level commentary text that the normal game displays is also missing. All you see are basic tutorials, numbers that highlight your score as you earn points, and of course the titular SUPER HOT when you complete a level. It's comparatively sparse on commentary compared to the normal game. There are some times (like if you want to exit to the main menu) where you need to shoot your head with a virtual pistol; these moments don't seem to exist in the Arcade Edition. (At least returning to the main menu it something you can grab, which isn't available in the normal game.)
SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition is a fantastic way for arcade operators to encourage their customers to enjoy the fun of SUPERHOT VR in a way that is seamless and without distraction. The game is a top-rated VR showpiece at this point, and making an arcade-focused release makes a lot of sense. If you are one of the lucky few to run a VR arcade, I highly recommend you check this out by contacting the great folks at superhotgame.com. If you are just a normal gamer curious about what the VR version includes, hopefully this helps answer your questions; other than the scoring system, pretty much everything else is included in the original SUPERHOT VR, and no doubt at a lower price.
(Game scores taken from our SUPERHOT VR review)