A sleek looking two-hand shooter that’ll have you arching your back in bullet time and bending over backwards for one more go.
I first became aware of Superhot, the non-VR version, in the middle of last year when the React channel launched a Superhot VR video. The first things that struck me about the game back then were its arresting art style and unique gameplay element: time only moves forward in-game when you do – a game-changing mechanic made even more compelling by the use of virtual reality.
There are several things that strike you as you first boot-up and begin playing SUPERHOT VR. Firstly, is how the game looks. It’s a great looking game in VR. The lines are clear and crisp and the brilliant white of the levels contrasting with the bright red of the enemies works perfectly. Secondly, the motion controls are second to none. You’ll be a professional gun-slinging, knife-tossing, murder-machine within minutes.
The aim of SUPERHOT is simple enough: kill the enemies before they kill you. This can be accomplished a variety of ways, from a bullet between the eyes, a dagger to the throat, or a trusty old gutter-punch – they all work just as well.
Each level consists of various stages with numerous waves of blood-red baddies. If you fail a single stage, you’re right back to the beginning of the level. This can get frustrating on a particularly tricky part but if you keep your cool and don’t try to rush through you’ll always make it through eventually.
The unique twist is that time only moves forward when you move your body. If you have lightning reflexes you’ll be able to judge the situation you’re placed into and act accordingly. If not, you may have to perform some living room acrobatics in order to avoid an onslaught of bullets – that again, only move when you do. This makes for some truly tremendous adrenaline rushes – even if to an outside observer you did look like a drunk attempting yoga for the first time with a toaster your head.
The art style is perfect for VR and the immersion level is extremely high. You really feel as if you’re a gun-toting cowboy who’s taken control of The Matrix. The simplistic graphics don’t take away from the immersion but actually aid it. Realism in VR games is hit and miss at the moment but an art style like this is so far removed from real life that you have nothing to compare it to. It’s like you’re in an alternate world, but you’re there. If you don’t get shot, that is. (You will.)
Loading times are minimal. Every so often you’ll find yourself in an endless white void but it’s much less nerve-wracking than being stranded in a black void, which so many other games go for. If anything I found myself stretching out my arms, kicking back and taking the time to appreciate the fleeting moments of tranquillity.
The difficulty curve is helped by being in VR. Learning feels more intuitive being in the actual space and, of course, failing can be frustrating but it really does feel as though you learn from your mistakes – even more so than traditional games.
The motion controls work well for the most part but throwing can be tricky. It’s not impossible to throw but it is difficult getting the item to go where you’d like it to – but that could just be down to my terrible aim. Punching an enemy and stealing their gun, just to turn around and shoot their mate is a great feeling and it makes you feel cool. The sheer amount of bending and weaving you’ll be doing to avoid bullets may feel like a work-out for some, though it’s the most fun I’ve had working out in a long time. I had a few issues with tracking here and there – nothing major. It’s more likely a hardware issue than a SUPERHOT one.
The main campaign consists of just under twenty levels of various stages or waves. Each wave sees you teleport to a different part of the level so no two feel the same – another refreshing feature. With Speedrun, Headshots Only, Endless Modes and more, you’ll have plenty to do once the main campaign is done and dusted. The levels are well designed and feel different enough to keep you entertained throughout.
The game is surprisingly fun with a group of friends. There’s no multiplayer but it’s a great laugh getting some people together and taking it in turns. SUPERHOT VR looks superb on the social screen (TV) so others can join in the tension-filled atmosphere – and laugh when you get shot in the head.
My only gripe with SUPERHOT VR is the lack of any music. A beat-heavy soundtrack would do wonders for the “cool” factor. Of course, you’re able to create your own with the Spotify app but you shouldn’t have to resort to that as a default. The sound effects are simple but suit the game and work well.