Super Hot came out a while ago but before it was officially released, there was a free online demo which really caught my attention. I knew as soon as I built my PC, this would be one the first things I played. The concept is relatively simple to understand but difficult to master. It is a first person shooter where time only moves when you move. After booting up for the first time, you’ll soon find that the game is wrapped in a stylistic shell and mysterious story.
The game just oozes style. You boot into an old school ASCII computer screen with a couple of options. You can go into the main game, change settings, or view art and play minigames like you are actually using a real computer. The story is told mainly through chat logs on that main screen between you and other characters but you’ll never meet them. The only people you encounter are the enemies as soon as you boot up superhot.exe. This is where the game begins.
At first, your friend tells you that superhot.exe is all a game. As you are transported into the game, there is usually a set of instructions in ALL CAPS that gives you context for the level. You go through each plain white environment in an effort to kill each polygonal red enemy that you come across. The contrast is really effective and helps you to make the right decisions when confronted by multiple enemies or when you have slow motion bullets approaching. You can defeat the red men in three ways. You can punch them a few times, hit them with a melee weapon, or shoot them with a variety of guns. The most satisfying way, however, is to disarm your opponent by throwing an object at them or punching them. When you do so, their gun will fly into the air where you can grab it and then shoot them. If you get a headshot, more ALL CAPS text will appear that says something about a shooting them in the head.
As you progress, the game becomes more of a puzzle game framed as a FPS. You can try different paths or strategies that often have a completely different outcome than the last. There is a lot of freedom but the one consistent thing is that when you complete the level, a deep voice will say SUPER HOT and that same text appears on the screen over and over as your replay plays back in real time. It is incredibly cool because you look like someone with super human reaction time. A little over halfway in, you uncover a new mechanic that allows you to warp into one of the enemies and leave your dead body behind after a set amount of time. This completely changes the way you think about the game and also gives you a way out of sticky situations.
The story is a little difficult to comprehend but essentially as you progress the people who made superhot.exe don’t want you to keep playing. They password protect some levels, they force you to make a deal, and they even warn you that they know where you live. You come to find that what you are doing is actually affecting real life and that you are transported into someone else when you play superhot.exe. This comes to a head when you literally find and punch yourself in the head as a warning (It looks like you’re playing in VR). With little regard, you go back in and they show you that they have all the power and could keep you trapped in the game forever if they wanted. They end up deciding to use you though and you transfer yourself to the cloud by shooting yourself in the head because your body is holding you back. You then become a killing machine capable of just looking at someone and making their head explode. Crazy interesting and fun to see how the story evolves and twists.
The game accomplishes a lot and is the first of its type. It’s pretty short but luckily I got it on summer sale. I think I would have been upset to pay full price for a two and a half hour game. I wanted even more and I think they could’ve done so. It was really fun, unique, and they nailed the feel they were going for to say the least. It is worth your time and even creeped me out a little toward the end. Overall, I give Super Hot a 4.5 out of 5 tree men.