Alice and Pip are talking about Superhot. It’s one of Pip’s most anticipated games of the year and Alice is pretty amped about anything which makes her look even more cool as she roams the land taking dudes down…
Alice: Oh no.
Pip: What do you mean “Oh no.” You don’t even know what I’m going to say yet. I could be about to tell you of an exciting new pond for you to go swimming in.
Alice: I know you find my ponding more worrying than exciting, so this is cruel teasing for the sake of intro banter. Tell me what we’re talking about.
Pip: It’s only worrying because you can’t feel some of your limbs and appendages nowadays. Also you might get eaten by savage PIKE.
We’re talking about SUPERHOT, by the way.
Alice: So we are talking about me?
Pip: No. You are SUPERCOOL, especially after titting about in that 2 degree water. We are talking about that 7 Day FPS-turned-fully-fleshed-out-game where time only moves when you do.
Alice: Oh! It’s good, that. I like the bit where you shoot the men and look cool.
Pip: That’s the whole demo as well so you like the whole demo, Alice.
Alice: Yeah! It’s really good!
Pip: But one thing I noticed is that you know how they say that time only moves when you do?
Alice: That’s a lie, Pip. It’s a lie. Time does roll on constantly, albeit slowly. Are video games allowed to lie to you? That doesn’t seem right.
Pip: WELL, I was going to say I’ve been thinking about this and I have decided it’s a comment on the fact that we’re never entirely still. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on all the time – heart beating, galvanic skin responses, eyeballs swiveling to focus, kidneys filtering things… You’re still alive. The bullets slow to a crawl as they sail past your head but they won’t ever truly stop because neither have you.
Alice: A meditative slowing and hyperawareness of everything you’re doing. I like games which do that with ‘pause’ mechanics. I’m drawing a blank on examples, but games where drawing up the weapon wheel slows time right down but it keeps on rolling. No stopping until we die, Pip.
Pip: I know what you mean, although sometimes it’s my mum on the phone and she doesn’t understand why I’m muttering about having to restart something because I just got killed in super slow motion.
I also really like the other end of the spectrum – I liked trying to speedrun the demo and doing the levels in as close to real-time as possible!
Alice: I like that too! You still outrun bullets, so you still feel supercool. Either way, you’re a cool murderer who’s really good at cool murders. Given an RPG system, I will always try to build essentially The Superhot Person: someone who dodges bullets rather than soaks them up.
Pip: I try to build people who are somehow out of range of projectiles. That’s okay when you’re a mage in a land of swords but less good if you’re playing Call of Duty and anyone in the game at all has a sniper rifle.
But yes, this made me feel COOL and good at dodging things. I do believe the Kickstarter stretch goals mean there’s going to be a replay mode too, so you should theoretically be able to see yourself being really cool all over again! And then I can make gifs of it!
Alice: Did you see Ronin? That has a similar vibe of cool, well-timed fighting, small bursts of action then lulls between turns, flowing on and chaining nicely with sharp jabs of murder.
Pip: Is that more stop/start than Superhot? Superhot lets you adjust the rhythm as a result of movement so it ebbs and flows as you navigate. From the Ronin description it sounded more like you stop the whole thing and then strategise, more like Dragon Age: Origins or something?
Alice: It’s more stop-start, as it doesn’t have that constant slow trickle of time, but the end result is somewhat similar. It’s turn-based action with one-hit kills, rather than turn-based tactics. Which is nice. Pick a target, strike, leap up, strike down, roll over, no “And if I curse this enemy to lower their attack then taunt with…” I’d like to see more turn-based action.
I’d like more games that look like Jackie Chan fight scenes, really. Beautiful choreography with people moving in harmony.
Pip: What would you call Superhot, though? I think I was telling someone about it last night and I ended up calling it an analytical shooter, but that isn’t quite right. I was also going to go for a existential shooter but that’s more about me overthinking things and ending up where I always do – knee deep in existential crises.
Alice: It’s more about spatial awareness than shooting, isn’t it? The slow time means aiming isn’t an issue, so it’s about keeping track of enemies and bullets in flight and finding a path between them all. It’s Flight Control With Guns, obvs.
Pip: That is an interesting point. I wonder if it would have been something they could have used as a round on The Krypton Factor to test spatial awareness? So many middle-aged office workers would have fallen victim to the guy who shoots from behind those boxes in the demo, I’m telling you.
Alice: I couldn’t watch The Krypton Factor as a child because it infuriated me so much that these ADULTS got to go on a cool obstacle course with cool ziplines and cool water pits but they didn’t seem to enjoy it AT ALL. None of them ever shouted “Whoooooooo!”
Pip: How do you feel about Total Wipeout? WAIT it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you told me a game called Froggy would become relevant and that is still unclear to me.
Alice: Froggy has a similar they-move-when-you-move deal and it’s funny and cute and great and I thought you might like it and I am SORRY.
Pip: Alice. I am going to have to end this conversation because I now have pressing frog business to which I must attend. SUPER. BYE. SUPERBYE. (SUPERHOT)
Alice: Okay bye.