SUPERHOT” felt like a revelation when it hit computers early 2016, and again when it launched its VR edition in the year’s dying months. It might be unfair to expect the console outing of the FPS – a genre which struggles with such leaps to consoles – to hold up.


SUPERHOT tells the story of… well, you. The narrative beats of SUPERHOT takes place outside of the stark white and red levels, on a simple text based operating system where you chat to your online friend about this new game you’re playing.

As the story progresses and it gets harder and harder to illegally get your hands on newer versions of this weird prototype game, the story gets strangely creepy, before becoming downright unsettling. A lot of it reminded me of the 1983 movie Wargames, and as one of my favourite films growing up that’s a huge compliment. It’s an effective approach to storytelling, one that’s told almost entirely through text, and it gets pretty intereting before coming to a bit of an abrupt end.

The way these moments break up the gameplay after a bunch of levels back to back works well – it’s a refreshing break and I was always eager to see exactly where the story was going and just how far down the rabbit hole it was going to descend. It sadly fails to live up to its potential once all is said and done, but I’m still glad this unique FPS has such a unique crack at a story to go along with it.


By now you’ve probably heard of SUPERHOT’s unique selling point: time only moves when you move. It’s not entirely true, mind – time moves very slowly whilst you’re standing still – but your actions essentially dictate the pace of the game. This turns SUPERHOT into a puzzle-FPS of sorts, where you’ll need to evaluate a level’s layout and threats before plotting a course of action and executing it.

The levels themselves have enough wrinkles in their design to really make the most of this unique idea. Each one is a self-contained diorama of violence waiting to unfold, with enemies storming from all directions and kitted out with a variety of weapons that you’ll have to identify and prioritize. You’ll likely die the first few times you attempt a room – you only have one hit between you and death, after all – but learning and mastering these levels is relatively painless thanks to an almost instantaneous retry option.

You’re able to pick up items lying around, grab melee weapons, punch enemies to death or even snatch a weapon out of midair as it soars in slow-mo over your head to tackle the threats presented. Bullets will spit slowly towards you leaving little trails like a scene out of the Matrix, and you’re able to pull of some incredibly satisfying combos of events to enact your counter-violence.

The best bit about executing a particularly well thought out level is that, once you’re done clearing the room, the game plays you back your performance, only having removed all the downtime you might have spent standing still, considering your options. This leaves you with a replay where you look like a lightning-fast badass, literally juggling weapons as you rain holy-hell upon your enemies.

The only thing SUPERHOT really has going against it is the fact that this is a precision shooter on a console – two things that have struggled to go hand in hand since gamepads existed. If you can get this on PC, I’d recommend that over this iteration. If you can get it on VR, it’s even better. If console is your only potential avenue, however, it works as well as any shooter does with twin sticks controlling aiming: It’s as good a compromise as any we’ve worked out thus far.


SUPERHOT is a posterchild for minimalism done right. Its sterile white environments mean that you’re never confused by the lay of the land, and each black weapon or bright red enemy is instantly recognizable. This matters a lot, because whilst SUPERHOT is a game that is played almost entirely in slow-mo, it’s actually a very fast paced game. Being able to decipher your options and incoming threats on a split-second to split-second basis is important, and SUPERHOT’s visuals achieve this effortlessly. Also, I’m a sucker for super-polygonal graphics and this game has that in spades.

There’s very little in terms of sound design when it comes to SUPERHOT, again echoing the visual minimalism of the title. There’s gunshots and other various sound effects, and the ever-imitable chanting of SUPER HOT SUPER HOT SUPER HOT SUPER after every successful level, but really there’s not much going on in the sound department. What’s present is purpose built and works well and what’s absent is absent for a reason and definitely not missed, so I can’t really fault them on this decision.