PC, XBOX ONE (coming soon)
SUPERHOT has been floating around in the background for a long time. Someone raving about the prototype, someone's in the beta. SUPER.HOT. they'd mutter.
The full game is with us now, and it is a belligerent tornado of a game. A white-washed world of bullets whizzing and bottles smashing, while a continuous stream of angry red enemies swarm towards you.
The game has an intensity that only stops when you do - its key mechanic being time dilation that slows the game to a crawl when you're not moving. If you need to take a breather you just stop moving and look at the situation. You can use this to take down multiple enemies in hand to hand combat, snatch weapons out of the air and even dodge bullets.
Careful use of this newfound time magic is key to survival - the game's difficulty curve is near vertical and you'll find yourself dropped into a series of battles, learning to run before you can walk.
The thing is: picking up guns, firing, turning - it all takes time. Many of my earlier deaths were from trying to grab weapons or fire back at people while rounds were slowly moving towards me - so were many of my later deaths.
A single bullet isn't all that much of a threat to you, but it's never just one. It's a room full of goons unloading automatic weapons while others rush you with katana's or clubs. A well placed throw can disarm your enemies, letting you snatch their weapons out of the air and use the weapons against them.
But why stop at weapons? SUPERHOT lets you turn the enemy's own body against them - after a few levels you unlock the ability to hop between the enemies after just a small cooldown, letting you blitz around the level. It's an interesting idea but not one I was entirely taken with at first, negating the challenge by letting you skip out of harm's way without much in the way of risk.
Then I saw it used in action properly. Tossing a bottle into the faces of the attacking horde before inhabiting the body of the guy at the back of group, catching a flying gun out of the air and gunning down 3-4 guys in a few seconds felt incredible, feels incredible.
With death getting closer with every turn of the head, you start to view your enemies not as the teeming horde charging toward you but as a collection of single enemies - each enemy needs to be individually outplayed to succeed.
Much like Hotline Miami, the game has this idea that one wound, to anyone, is absolute death. Also like Hotline Miami, a quick tap of the R button propels you back into action. This loop of life, death, repeat turns into a sort of flow and it's that flow that I found most compelling.