SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, many people may remember last year’s Kickstarter success story (and our indie game of the year) SUPERHOT. What they may not remember is the later release of SUPERHOT VR, bringing a VR take on the original concept to PC based headsets. Now that both games have finally made their way to the PlayStation 4, I finally got a chance to get my hands on SUPERHOT VR. Does the new perspective bring an exciting new look at the already innovative shooter, or should you just stand still and not let time pass?
The basic idea of SUPERHOT VR isn’t all that different from that of the original game. Time still only moves when you do. Shaking one of your hands, leaning in any direction, firing a gun, whatever action you do to create movement will cause time to move with it. This means that you’re in a unique position at the start of every level. The calm before the storm gives you a chance to look around and work out exactly how you want to approach each unique situation. Sometimes you’ll have guns, sometimes you’ll just have objects you can throw, but no matter what you’re going to have to figure out a way to kill all the red enemies standing in front of you.
Give a guy a gun and he thinks he’s Superman. Give him two and he thinks he’s God.
Unlike the main game, you can’t move around here, making the game feel more like a shooting gallery. You’ll use two of the required PlayStation Move controllers as your two hands, and this makes picking up objects around you and punching nearby enemies a fluent motion. The game requires a bit of a larger space than any other VR game I’ve played so far, requiring me to utilize my entire body and take a few steps to dodge bullets. Just playing while seated wasn’t an option, as I could never lean far enough for levels that required dodging bullets before fighting back. I also had some problems with throwing items, and I rarely felt like they were going where I needed them to go. It’s by far the weakest mechanic in the game, but at least it wasn’t one that was required too often.
Eventually, you’ll unlock a special ability. By putting your hands in front of you and balling them both into fists you can send out psychic mind waves to literally blow apart the heads of your foes. It runs on a cooldown timer that resets if either of your hands are shot, so you need to be careful. Initially, I found it difficult and unintuitive to put my hands in the right position to pull off the ability, but this subsided over time. It’s most useful for when enemies are in a strange spot that you can’t easily reach but ultimately ended up being a forgettable part of my arsenal.
Get three coffins ready.
Each level is broken into several segments with similar goals. Load into an area, kill all the enemies, activate a teleportation pyramid with a quick glance, then rinse and repeat. A level isn’t complete until you reach the last area and hear the iconic “SUPER. HOT.” repeating. If you die at any point before that, you’ll need to repeat the entire level. This can get frustrating in some of the more difficult levels, but even repeated attempts don’t prolong the experience more than a couple hours.
Thankfully just finishing the story mode doesn’t mean you’re done. Similar to its non-VR counterpart, the endgame is really where the good stuff opens up. You’ll unlock the ability to play through again with modifiers, including requiring headshots for kills or a time trial speedrun. You also get an endless mode, tasking you to survive as long as you can against waves of enemies. This is where you can lose hours to the game, as there’s an almost absurd level of fun in being able to just fight the red dudes off over and over.
Speaking of the story, SUPERHOT VR has a metanarrative about someone playing SUPERHOT VR which hits on themes that will be familiar to SUPERHOT veterans. There are implications that the player is jumping into the bodies of random people to try and undo the events of the first game, but it’s not spelled out very clearly and is more left up to your own interpretations. Ultimately you can totally ignore it and not worry much, but those who are interested in that sort of thing should find something they’d enjoy here.
SUPERHOT VR retains the lovely art style from the original SUPERHOT, and the game still looks surprisingly good even after all this time. The striking “white, black, and red” makes identifying everything you can interact with, or need to kill, super easy. SUPERHOT VR does reuse some of the environments from the first game, but I only really noticed because I decided to play the first game directly before this one. There’s a notable lack of soundtrack, almost as if I was always hyper-focused on nothing but killing enemies. It never really bothered me much, but some people may want to toss their favorite action soundtracks on before they drop into the game world.
Soundtrack or no, SUPERHOT VR has successfully taken one of the most impressively innovative first person shooters and translated it into VR exactly how it needs to be. Every time I finished a level I couldn’t believe how much I felt like I just acted out an action scene from one of my favorite action movies. If you ever saw John Wick, Atomic Blonde, or The Matrix and decided you wanted to be that action star, SUPERHOT VR is the game you need to play.
SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.