When Superhot first launched back in 2016, I was quite intrigued by its central concept. An FPS where time only moves when you do? Sign me up because that sounds more like a puzzle game. Fast forward to 2019, and Superhot has made its way to Nintendo Switch. Now, gamers can manipulate the flow of time on the go.
A bizarre head trip
Superhot starts off with a literal boot-up screen. You appear to be a human chatting with a fellow gamer who offers you a new title to sample. Players can access a hacker group chat, assets for the game, and execute the Superhot.exe program. It’s all very fourth wall-breaking. My personal favorite menu item is the Tree Dude mini-game. I recommend giving it a try because it is as addicting as the main game.
Accessing the Superhot file launches you into the primary mode of play. You control a black-color avatar who must fend off aggressive red-color enemies. They only move when you do (yep, even when you turn or pick up an item) and have a variety of guns and melee weapons to utilize against you. Of course, you can use these objects, as well. The key to beating each level is destroying every antagonist in your path. This leads to the game shouting “SUPER! HOT!” over and over while a replay of your efforts in real-time is shown.
Bending the clock to your will
The key to succeeding in each stage of Superhot is knowing when to slow down and speed up. You’ll want to move slowly to dodge a stray bullet, for example. In addition, firing a shot slightly to the left of an adversary while they move into position will guarantee it will get hit. The player will want to exercise caution, though, because any object or stray fist will end their life. When that happens, they’ll have to start a level over from the beginning.
Part of what makes Superhot so enthralling is the on-the-fly thinking you have to employ. You might attempt to shoot someone and realize you’re out of ammunition when the text “YOU’RE OUT” appears on screen. Do you try to slowly maneuver around opponents while you get your bearings? Or do you throw your gun at the person in front of you, momentarily stunning them as their own weapon flies out of their hand and you grab it in midair? The slow-motion gamble that is this title’s bread and butter is such a great idea because it means every player will have a different approach to each scenario.
Superhot has a variety of control options. For me, I found the Pro Controller setup the most comfortable to use. I was able to line up shots and melee weapon throws with the utmost accuracy. Gyroscope aiming with the Joy-Con is a neat option to have, too. However, I couldn’t get the sensitivity to my liking and had trouble turning my weapon hand in the direction I wanted. Your mileage may vary.
Plot-wise, Superhot is engaging. Things get very strange very quickly. You might be able to guess what is happening early on, but this doesn’t make the title any less interesting. Add to the fact certain revelations lead to a unique ability I won’t spoil here, and you have an experience that keeps you playing level after level until the end credits roll.
Yet, it’s all over too quickly. The game has roughly 30 levels, which can all be completed in fairly quick succession. There are some extra modes that add replay value. Additional challenges like a katana-only option or a bare hands handicap open up after completing the last stage. Also, each level has a hidden terminal you can access that fleshes out the title’s lore. These alternatives don’t yield any unlocks, sadly.
Superhot is a wild ride. It’s exhilarating when, against all odds, you shatter every combatant into pieces and make it through a stage unscathed. While the game’s length is disappointing and its gyroscope controls are hard to perfect, it’s such a fresh idea that it’s hard not to recommend. Give it a download even if you’re not into the FPS genre. Above all, Superhot is a title that is about quick thinking and adapting to any situation, even when it goes south.
A review code was provided by the publisher.