HANDS ON: SUPERHOT – Timing is everything

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SUPERHOT_scr_1With the main focus of PAX Australia is indie games, Xbox has allowed us the opportunity to try SUPERHOT as part of their ID@XBOX. SUPERHOT is a first person shooter which a unique twist: time moves when you move. This key gameplay mechanic makes this came similar to a puzzle-esque game, akin to like Portal. The premise of the game is very simple – you are an unnamed person who is suddenly attacked by people and your goal is to survive these attacks. The graphics of the game is very distinct, using colours to signify different things, such as the colour black were used to represent guns and bullets, red for enemies and bullet trajectory, while white was the surroundings. Moreover, the menu screen was akin to older computer operating systems, using black and white texts, which was confusing for younger gamers, such as myself to navigate.

Upon starting the game, I was thrown into various levels focusing on the different game mechanics, such as shooting the gun, picking up items, throwing empty guns and close range melee, with big glaring letters shown on these screen. Every time your character moved time moves and accelerations at the same speed, making strafing, aiming and even shooting and reloading important as every wrong move could lead to death. For every time you were hit, the level would reset from the beginning where you could retry the attempt with a different tactic. Gameplay wise, the spark that made the game unique died out fast. Every time you reset you learn a bit of the AI, such as their spawning location and what triggers these events, where would the enemy shoot and their pathing mechanics. Therefore, the game drastically shifted from an interesting puzzle-like game to a very slow pace and tedious gameplay.

After each level, a replay occurs which shows the level and player’s movement in real-time, allowing the player to gain a sense on how much time actually elapsed with giant words of SUPER HOT appearing every second during the playback. These flashing letters also lost their appeal, eventually being more annoyance as you progress through the demo. Nevertheless, the game brings a new fresh light into this overall saturated market of first-person shooter through its unique time gameplay mechanic, allowing the game to be fun and innovative, while being challenging at the same time. SUPERHOT will be available for the Xbox One and PC later this year.

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