SUPERHOT VR is a great example of virtual reality changing traditional game mechanics. The game is, at its heart, a first person shooter which uses the Playstation Move controllers effectively as hands for the user to grab various objects. The twist on this traditional take comes with its time controlling mechanic, which effectively means that time only progresses when the player is moving or performing some action. This mechanic unleashes a puzzle aspect into the game, forcing the player to carefully plan out moves in sequence in order to successfully complete each scene within each one of the game’s levels.
The gameplay in SUPERHOT VR feels amazing, but suffers a couple of minor issues. In addition to being able to hit enemies with your fists and shoot them with guns, the player can also pick up and throw various objects to incapacitate the hostile NPCs. This is great when it works, however when we reviewed this on the Playstation VR, the tracking occasionally went a bit wonky with the Playstation Move controllers, and more often than not, objects were thrown off target or spiked into the ceiling or floor of the environment. Firing the various munitions in the game felt downright fun and didn’t suffer from the same issues, as long as we took our time to aim properly. The targets are constantly moving and changing directions, making it necessary to carefully plan shots whenever the enemy is remotely far from the player. Dual wielding the weapons added more difficulty for us than it helped, as we were so used to games that only allowed the player to hold one thing at a time (we need to become more ambidextrous).
The graphics and story within the game are the parts that feel the most underdeveloped. The graphics look polygons from the original Playstation console, with usable objects rendered in black, enemy NPCs in red, and the rest of the environment in white, except for a few areas between scenes. The story of the game is somewhat confusing, jumping between a computer desk with a virtual reality rig overhead, and various levels depicting different situations where you fight bad guys. The stages within each level seem to tell a short story of fight or flight, but the story’s complete arc is mostly unexplored. In the overall scope of the game, these flawed areas didn’t make the game severely less enjoyable to play, but it would’ve been so much better with a great story and top notch graphics.
After beating the game’s campaign mode the first time, the player is allowed to access various challenge modes in the game. This doesn’t seem to get old…ever. Seriously, the feeling of repeatedly headshotting an NPC, catching whatever weapon they happen to be carrying, and relentlessly killing all of their friends cannot be understated. The variations between levels even make the campaign very worthwhile to play multiple times, as there is always a different way to kill every enemy if the player is creative enough to figure it out.
Overall we highly recommend SUPERHOT VR to anyone who has a virtual reality rig, whether it be the PSVR which we reviewed it on, or on the Rift or Vive via Steam. The gameplay is fun and exciting, and the gameplay itself is simple enough for just about anyone to pick up and play within minutes. The time control mechanic gives you enough time to figure out how to get through each level, without feeling too easy or gimmicky. This is a VR title we will be playing long past the publish date of this review, and we hope to see more like it from its developer, SUPERHOT Team.
Note: GameOctane Editor Jason Germino received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience. Check us out at Opencritic!
Great Replay Value
Some Controller Tracking Issues
Not Much of a Story