Superhot VR – Welcome to the Matrix
Video games allow the player to experience things beyond the realm of possibility. Fighting dragons, thinking with portals, exploring new galaxies. But what if it’s all just a ploy? What if there’s more to these games than meets the eye? What if they are made to keep you playing…forever? Superhot poses this question to its players and it’s VR incarnation is no different. With its light story comes an interesting gameplay hook. Time only moves when you do, leading what would otherwise be a standard FPS game into a calculated strategy and puzzle solving experience. In VR it feels like that game has realized it’s potential. So let’s dive in to the world of Superhot VR, strap on your headsets, and let’s get SUPERHOT.
Superhot VR takes place sometime in the future where the player is in their apartment playing a series of games ripped on to floppy disks labeled “superhot.exe”. The player has to insert these floppy disks to boot the game up, then pull the in-game VR headset down to wire into the game. This tongue-in-cheek writing and interactivity give Superhot VR more soul to its story. The further in the game you get the more sinister the world begins to become, with the game frequently demanding you to ‘show your dedication’. This eventually leads to the reveal of a dark side of Superhot, where you might not be in control anymore. This is really all there is to the story but the gameplay more than makes up for it.
Superhot VR is a puzzle/strategy disguised as an FPS game, and that’s a good thing. This makes the gameplay more thoughtful and engaging, as you need to look around the environment to plan out your play. Guns, knives, throwing stars, and other props are littered around the area giving you plenty of tactical options to dispatch you foes. And if push comes to shove you can always throw a fist to dispatch enemies around you. The added ability of time only moving when you do makes small things become exciting, such as dodging bullets or catching guns in the air. In VR you feel like John Wick as you tear apart hordes of faceless goons. When you kill enemies the game is programmed to send whatever they were holding in your direction so you can catch it. This leads to the action feeling fluid so you never have to stop and try to find new equipment. Each section isn’t too long, taking up to two minutes a piece for each scenario, but there is a twist to the gameplay, if you fail you start at the beginning of the section and complete every scenario again. While this can be a bit frustrating it is the game’s way of telling you to slow down and think through your situation. Taking your time is always the safest bet, looking around only marginally moves time, whereas moving your hands causes time to flow normally. So looking around and gauging what items are near you as well as where enemies are is typically the right way to approach a situation. When you have a relative plan then go into action. A mechanic that is clearly introduced in the gameplay is the ability to move your body to dodge bullets, but many people I’ve seen play it quickly forget about this mechanic. My advice to new players: DON’T FORGET THIS. The ability to move your body to dodge will save you from a game over more times than you can count. Keeping all these aspects in mind is difficult but makes you feels unstoppable when you finally get in the groove.
The simple story and fun, easy to pick up gameplay means that you can easily put down the game, only to pick it up later without losing anything in the experience. It also helps that the physical movement is great exercise. A friend of mine, a Marine, played it for about two hours, afterwards my headset and floor was covered in sweat. This game is a calorie kicker and is a ton of fun to boot. So if you have VR and want to get some exercise in I highly recommend it. All in all Superhot lives up to the potential that the original game set up. With it’s well crafted scenarios, excellent tracking, lack of motion sickness, and superb visuals it is a must buy for VR owners. So go play Superhot, just don’t get stuck in the simulation…