PolyNerdic Review: Superhot

Superhot was one of those games that I had my eyes on for a long, long time but for a variety of reasons I couldn’t pull the trigger on.

I heard it was too short.

I wasn’t certain I’d like how the story stuff was being injected into the game between the stylized levels.

I wasn’t sold on the aforementioned stylized visuals.

It cost too much to take a chance on given the above worries.

During the lead up to their own end of the year awards and during the first day of their recorded and broadcasted deliberations several of the guys at Giant Bomb made impassioned cases for Superhot during their debate.

After hearing their argument many of my above hesitations started dying away.  If these guys, whose opinions I largely respected, were going to bat so hard for the game maybe it warranted checking out.  Coming home from work the next morning I fired up my Xbox and found much to my delight that the regularly priced game was going to be on sale for around $16 for only the next 3 hours.

Far be it from me to ignore such serendipitous goings on, so I made my purchased and began to eagerly await the download’s completion (and time I would eventually give the game a spin).

A short while later I did just that and over the next couple of days I ingested the game in little bite sized morsels that allowed me to stretch my enjoyment over almost a week (a later more focused play-through on a live stream took around 90 minutes).

As the closing credits rolled I found myself astounded by what I had just experienced.  The stylized visuals and “time moves only when you do” mechanics are easily dismissed as gimmicks and rightfully so.  While they are gimmicks they are not gimmicks without reason nor are they anything less than awesome and served the story of the game so well and in such a concise manner that it almost makes you forget how quickly the game passes.

Normally in reviews I dive a little deeper into what a game is but I absolutely cannot and will not here.  What I will tell you is that the mechanics feel amazing once you get used to them, manipulating time while in intense firefights with attacking enemies.  I will also say that the very spartan narrative presented via chat rooms and other similar communications was one of my favorites of 2016.

Sadly I didn’t get to play Superhot before finishing my End of the Year article but had I played it in time it most certainly would have been in the top ten overall.

Final Verdict: 9 out of 10.

Superhot is a short well edited together and paced narrative paired with an ingenious mechanic.  Part of me wishes it was longer but I think the short playtime actually serves a purpose here.  Too often games go on way longer than necessary and are filled with too much bland side material to artificially extend the game.  Superhot is the opposite, the main game is short and sweet, leaving you wanting more while still ending on the perfect note.

I’ve already posted a full play-through of the game if you wish to watch it instead of playing the game for yourself or simply want to take a look before you buy.  If you chose that latter option please remember the game isn’t too long and don’t look at the videos for longer than needed.

-Shad (@PolyNerdic)

 

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