Publisher – SUPERHOT Team
Price – US $24.99 / EU €22.99 / UK £18.99
Release Date – May 25th, 2017
Input – Tracked Motion Controllers
Play Area – Standing
Store – Steam
Reviewed on – HTC Vive
Superhot VR has been around for a while and with it’s recent release for the HTC Vive, it’s worth taking another look at, specifically with its now native Vive support. Okay, full disclosure, I just wanted another excuse to play as John Wick and Neo’s love child one more time. Dodging bullets, killing with pool balls, and dual wielding sawed off double barrel shotguns? Sign me up every time please.
If you haven’t had a chance to try this game for yourself, it’s basically you vs these red men that are apparently made of glass. At least that’s what it looks like when they shatter, and you will be shattering them over and over, as everything dies with one hit no matter how that hit happens. It could be your fist, a frying pan, or one of the other various types of weapons at your disposal. This may sound great at first, but the odds are stacked against you from the start. You will be outnumbered, out gunned, and if you die you will have to restart at the beginning of the chapter. Luckily you have a couple of Aces up your sleeve. No bad guys can move unless you move first and you have a head exploding Scanners type power that you can shoot from your fist.
Superhot VR’s main mechanic is this time slowing and stopping Ace of yours. It takes what would otherwise be a pretty quick death, (not to mention a boring game) and gives you an incredibly fun way to assess your surroundings and come up with a strategy. While this might sound like easy mode, when you take into account the disadvantages you have compared to your adversaries, you will see that the result is a well balanced and enjoyable fight each round. Best of all, it is actually quite challenging at times and utilizes the motion tracking in VR quite well. You are free to look around without advancing time, but if your upper body happens to move while you do, you could find yourself in a bit of trouble as timing in Superhot VR is everything.
Your weapons include a few types of guns, various types of kitchen utensils, and even some throwing stars. You can disarm and use your opponent’s weapons as well and all these options, with the help of the time mechanic, mean you can get nice and creative with your kills. There is no right or wrong way to complete each level, just take out the red men before they kill you.
The controls are simple, you grip with the left or right side buttons and release to let go, the trigger shoots, and everything else is motion based. I never had any issues with the controller setup but I did drop my gun once or twice, unlocking the “Butter Fingers” achievement. As I mentioned above time is stopped when you are not in motion; this includes anything you throw or shoot so your body movement is your control over this mechanic and it works wonderfully with the Vive’s motion tracking.
The artwork is interesting to say the least but after playing I really can’t imagine it being as enjoyable any other way. It looks simple with a white backdrop, red enemies, and items that are usable by the player are black. Everything is clear and crisp and that allows you to focus on the task at hand. In between chapters you will find yourself in a completely different looking area, I don’t want to give too much away here as it’s part of the story, but it shows that the choice in art style reflects a solid design decision and not a limitation with the developers skills and that is something that players will no doubt appreciate.
The audio in Superhot VR is limited to sound effects and ambiance, two things I am very critical about as a gamer. Thankfully both areas in this game very well done. The ambiance is specific to each area you find yourself in and wasn’t treated like an afterthought and that made some of the more memorable moments, like rooftops and walkways with the air blowing around you, feel all the more real. The sound effects had great depth in detail. I enjoyed the sound of bullets passing by your head in slow motion. While a soundtrack would have been a nice option, it wouldn’t have nearly had the impact that these other two features had.
As a reviewer I try to find the good and the bad in every game I play and Superhot VR is no exception despite my obvious feelings for the game. I did take issue with a few things; mainly the short playtime and the lack of a solid storyline. Unfortunately the main campaign only takes a little over an hour to beat on standard settings but, once you do manage to beat the game, you will unlock a variety of play modes with a good amount of achievements to unlock. A story is present, but only in a very minor way which is unfortunate because the little amount given is David Lynch crazy. I would love to see it fleshed out more.
At the end of the day Superhot VR is one of the few VR games that I have found myself repeatedly picking up and playing and now that it is available of the Vive I couldn’t be more please with the results. This will probably be my go-to game for showcasing what VR, and specifically motion tracking, has to offer when friends come around. It just works as an all around enjoyable VR experience.
What would I pay? Currently this game is going for $24.99 and I can easily justify that asking price wth the enjoyability this offers, despite its short playtime. It’s well designed and has plenty of game modes to keep you busy.
SUPERHOT Team provided theVRgrid with a review copy of this game and, regardless of our review, we thank them for that!