SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.
The narrow hall is filled with bullets. At one end are three gunmen, identical silhouettes of red in black sunglasses. At the other end is me: unarmed and out in the open. Across the screen flashes a message: ‘TAKE THEM OUT,’ and I begin to move. A pistol winks at me from the carpeted floor, but half a hallway sits between me and it. As chaos erupts all around me and death seems all but certain, I do what years of hard won FPS experience screams at me not to do. I stay out in the open, stand completely still, and think.
SUPERHOT is based around one unique mechanic that is blasted across your screen in a tutorial that lasts all of ten seconds: time only moves when you move. It sounds like a small change but it instantly switches the focus from twitch reflexes to one of strategy and forethought. Charging in guns blazing won’t get you very far and instead you’ll find yourself carefully plotting each step, weaving through an intricate web of bullets whilst taking out enemies with pin-point accuracy. This almost puzzle like gameplay makes SUPERHOT a real standout in the FPS genre and carves out a niche as the thinking man’s shooter.
Experiencing SUPERHOT feels like playing the Matrix game we always wanted but never got. Balletic shootouts unfold in crowded office spaces filled with colonnades and faceless clones. Despite the levels being composed of nothing but featureless grey walls, the game has a distinct late 80s/early 90s feel, and handles a lot like shooters from that era such as Unreal Tournament. Unlike these early games however SUPERHOT has a very slick artistic style. It’s a very stripped back look composed of only red and grey, with small touches of black. It’s an aesthetic that was probably in part a result of SUPERHOT’s origins as an entry by a few polish friends from company Blue Brick in the 7 day FPS challenge. Since then the game has had a successful Steam Greenlight campaign and is being developed into a full game.
Until it is released on Steam though you can find the excellent demo available in their website, which is built to be played in browser using unity. You can run through it in about five or ten minutes, and ends on a twist that will leave you wanting more. With Call of Duty and Battlefield leaving the FPS genre feeling stale and uninteresting, hopefully SUPERHOT will join Portal and Antichamber in proving that shooters can be so much more than just a military simulator.