Welcome to our first entry in the series, Jamming the Games with Gold, where we play games that come with your subscription, so you know if you shouldn’t let an opportunity pass.
This month I checked out the indie game SUPERHOT, which from the outset looks like a generic shooter with a fun aesthetic, but it doesn’t take long to realise that below the surface is a clever puzzle game.
The game consists of a series of short levels, each putting you against a bunch of red faceless enemies. You generally need to defeat all of them to move on. The kicker is the way the game uses time. Time moves super slow, unless you move, at which point it reverts to normal speed, and reducing back to the slow down every time you stop moving.
This is how the puzzle elements of the game kicks in. You need to avoid bullets being shot at you and make your shots and movements count. Stopping regularly or moving slowly is the only way to play the game as one hit from an enemy you didn’t spot, means your death. Dying will happen a lot because it’s easy to concentrate on one enemy and not notice some pop out from the side.
As if this wasn’t challenging enough, the game ramps up the challenge as it starts some with you unarmed, face to face with an armed enemy, or three. This then means you need to make every movement count and will result in many deaths as you disarm enemies and try to not to get shot. This is epitomised in a level where you start with three guns pointed at you in an elevator, and once you finally beat this, you may not notice the doors open to shotgun wielding enemies.
Fortunately, the levels are all short, so it never stings too much to die, unless it happens too often. Spoiler: it will happen a lot.
The game is presented with simple white environments, so the bright red enemies stand out on the screen in a striking way. This is paired with a strange storyline that starts with you being a character playing the game, as you chat to someone else. Then you snob your friend, as things start to go bananas, and a stranger starts talking to you, and your mind goes off the rails.
The story is presented generally through chat messages, and your actions, which is surprisingly good. It’s enough to get you more invested in the game, but not so overbearing that the fun of the game is diluted.
Then after a few hours when you beat the main campaign, the game gives you a challenge mode, and endless mode. This means you can satiate yourself with as much SUPERHOT action as you want. A personal favourite is the first series of challenges which arms you with a katana, to make your way through levels.
SUPERHOT is a cleverly designed puzzle game built around FPS controls. A striking aesthetic, coupled with short punchy levels, makes this a worthwhile game to check out in this month’s GwG package. Coupled with a short campaign, there is no reason to not dive in.