Super Hot’s Novel Take On Time-Stopping Is Super Cool

By Nathan Grayson on August 26th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Well, I mean, if that's what you're into.

Oh goodness gracious, Super Hot is a great, ultra-stylish game concept. Now, I use the word “concept” because there’s not a whole lot to it yet (such is the nature of many 7DFPS standouts, sadly), but what’s here is a brilliant, almost puzzle-like take on time manipulation in first-person shooters. In short, time slows to a near-imperceptible crawl whenever you stop moving, enabling you to dictate the pace of, well, everything. It also looks really, really cool. Dancing between bullet storms with the greatest of ease – pausing to just marvel at the dust fleck of certain death mere millimeters from your forehead – is a magnificent feeling. Only problem is, it makes things rather easy.

At this point, Super Hot is only made up of a few stages, each of which grows in complexity and difficulty, but still never reaches a fever pitch that I would describe as “challenging.” Your goal is always the same: kill everyone in a relatively confined area. Simple enough, but you rarely have enough ammo to pull it off in a single, Matrix-like pirouette around the room. Your best bet, then, is to down a couple enemies, lose the remaining blood-red baddies who’ve opened fire, and then sneak over to a dropped weapon – still burning from its owner’s once-warm touch.

But that’s no fun. I prefer to zigzag between bullets one-by-one, with each push of the W key prompting another hail that just barely halts before turning me into Swiss cheese. It’s a never-ending staring contest with Death, and I always win.

All too often, however, I feel like I’m able to get away with such brazen antics a little too easily. Super Hot’s puzzle-like level design holds potential, but it still fails to take full advantage of its excellent central mechanic. A couple scenarios – like one where you start off by crashing through a roof at your own start-and-stop pace – show huge promise, but they never follow through. Before long, it’s the same old all-too-straightforward song and dance. Enemy AI that could charitably be described as “blind and also a goldfish” doesn’t help matters.

The Super Hot team is already hard at work on more, though, and I’m interested to see where the game’s story of what seems to be a paradoxically out-of-control psychotic breakdown goes. For now, you can play the 7DFPS build here, and I very much recommend you do despite its flaws. It’s a brilliant idea that’s mesmerizing to play around with – lukewarm execution or not.

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37 Comments »

  1. Stevostin says:

    I am stuck at level 3. I simply can’t grab any ammo then die. By I can’t I mean: how do you grab ammo ?

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      1. Throw empty gun away
      2. Walk over gun on ground
      3. ???
      4. Profit!!1

      • Stevostin says:

        thx. This is an unusual mechanism, they could make a better job explaining it. Had to read the manual. How rude!

        • Tom, the SUPERHOT game dev. says:

          There was quite a bit of experimentation along the way – we did a lot of brainstorming about this and decided that instead of spoiling that hectic atmosphere of slo-mo carnage with an ammo counter, we’d give the players hints about how to throw the gun and place gun-throwing keys all over the keyboard.

          We then promptly followed to entirely forgetting about that until after we posted the game on 7DFPS website. Since that was well past sunrise and we were a wee bit low on willpower to keep our sleep-depraved bodies from going all horizontal on us, we decided to let it stay that way and fix it in the nearest release (planned release date -soonish).

          • Premium User Badge particlese says:

            Heh! For what it’s worth, I was inially frustrated when I couldn’t get more ammo, then I realized I was probably a doofus who missed some obvious instructions, but then I felt pretty rad after figuring it out myself.

          • trizzone52 says:

            Personally, I’m a fan of the management of time being so important you don’t even have time to reload.

          • Geen says:

            Why’d the gun texture change in each one? I think the one in 2 looked the best, IMO.

    • tkaczmarczyk says:

      Hi! I’m one of the developers of SUPERHOT – and woah it’s awesome to see a full blown feature of our game on RPS!
      As a token of gratitude to the awesome peoples here, I can let you in on a bit of of an RPS-exclusive insider info: Nathan got it right when he said that we’re hard at work on making this a proper title!

      Our coffee-powered team is already reporting significant progress on degoldfishing the enemies and cranking up the SUPERHOT on level design and game mechanics.

      The next release of our game is right around the corner and should feature much more of a challenge and much less of the occasional glitch soup of hurried execution.

      We started delivering development news on Twitter @SUPERHOTTHEGAME. Click on through for early pics of the next release and punch the Follow button for a direct feed of the SUPERHOT straight to your twitterwebs!

      We’ll also try to scourge the comments here and answer any questions you peoples might have – AMA style!

    • Skabooga says:

      Well, it’s nice to see I wasn’t the only one who thought of that while reading the article.

  2. Premium User Badge Harlander says:

    Things that run in a browser window should capture the mouse pointer entirely or they shouldn’t use right-click as a control.

    Otherwise, kinda interesting, particularly the one where you get a speeded-up replay of your ballet of death

    • jon_hill987 says:

      And also allow you to invert that mouse…

      But lets face it, this is a proof f concept, nothing more.

      • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

        I guess, but not inverting the mouse when you want it inverted is annoying.

        Having a system popup appear when you try and use part of the interface metaphor is close to game-destroying.

    • Premium User Badge particlese says:

      It loses the mouse if you hit escape (useful), and it only seems to recapture it when a new game starts. It also doesn’t seem to grab it the first time you click the game area, but maybe that’s just me.

    • Tom, the SUPERHOT game dev. says:

      Yar – there’s a bunch of unfortunate glitches like that plaguing SUPERHOT in it’s 7DPFS form. We’re fairly merciless in terms of squashing such bugs as we find them, so the SUPERHOTness should work uninterrupted in the nearest upcoming release.

  3. stkaye says:

    Very Braid.

    • Tom, the SUPERHOT game dev. says:

      Braid is intensly amazing.
      We still have a couple of ideas for SUPERHOT time mechanics up our collective sleeve in case we ever get to develop it into a complete game. Even if we make SUPERHOT as awesome as it’s dreamed to be, it’s gonna be a real hardcore challenge to give Braid a run for its money for a spot in the time manipulation game hall of fame!

      • stkaye says:

        It’s great to see an effort that’s building on what Braid did – and in three dimensions!

    • KDR_11k says:

      I was thinking of roguelikes with their simultaneous turns.

  4. Stevostin says:

    For a moment I thought they would display a #THICKE message.

  5. Colliwinks says:

    Repeat after me:
    “a couple of”
    “a couple of”
    “a couple of”

  6. Jahkaivah says:

    So basically it’s like Braid’s fourth world, but without the non-linear progression of time.

    Though I have to say I love the game’s way of letting you know your gun is out of ammo.

  7. Premium User Badge particlese says:

    That was fun, and it was novel enough to have left me with a temporary Tetris effect: For a short while after playing, whenever I scrolled a web page, I expected everything to speed up. The page movement did, of course, but there was a more general feeling of weirdness. BRAINS!

    • DissidentDan says:

      The infection has begun. particlese is the first casualty.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Yeah, I got something similar. Sitting at my desk, expecting time to be slow-mo because I wasn’t moving.

      I think the full game is gonna fuck me up.

      • DissidentDan says:

        Haha, that was just a zombie joke because you ended with “BRAINS!”, but that interpretation works, too.

        • Premium User Badge particlese says:

          Heh! The zombular interpretation hadn’t even occurred to me. I originally meant it as shorthand for “Brains are so weird. I love them!” (…to eat)

          The Bridge was another game that messed with my brain (and Mr. Walker’s) a fair amount. I think I’ll really be in trouble once I get around to playing Perspective!

  8. Flammablezeus says:

    This kind of game would be good with Oculus Rift. I would often get hit by bullets that look like they’re going past me. The Rift would make it much easier to tell.

  9. DissidentDan says:

    I also made a game for 7DFPS. I know that Ben Barrett liked it a lot. The idea is that you can see enemies only in mirrors. It’s called Reflections. Check it out, and let me know wot you think:

    http://7dfps.com/?action=games&id=221

  10. Hastur says:

    Dear Tom, the SUPERHOT game dev:

    Something I have been aching for in a fighting game is the ability to rewatch a fight in real time. I’m not very good at these games, but when I accidentally run into an amazing combo and for a brief few moments I’m into The Flow, dammit I want to watch those moments over and over again.

    So how about 3rd-person replay, hmm?

    • Tom, the SUPERHOT game dev. says:

      Hi Hastur! Yup – this feature is a big fat point on our release schedule. In the 7DFPS version there’s a rather experimental version of instant replays on the third stage.
      When you kill a couple of enemies you go into a combo frenzy mode with a giant combo counter increasing with every successful and satisfying murder you commit. You break the combo when you haven’t killed anyone in half a second of gametime (which can be umpteen seconds of real time if you’re not moving too fast). The game ‘rewards’ you with a rather scary flashback recap of your horrible horrible deeds in real time.

      The concept is trully awesome and even though it spooks players out of their socks in its current incarnation, we’ll make it SUPERHOT in the final game! Kinda like in the recent Colin McRae Dirt games you get about as much of a kick from driving the car as you get from watching the replays after you obliterate the other contestants.

  11. Jack Mack says:

    I can really recommend playing this game with this in the background.

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  13. obd2works says:

    I prefer to zigzag between bullets one-by-one, with each push of the W key prompting another hail that just barely halts before turning me into Swiss cheese.