Although Superhot wasn’t originally a virtual reality (VR) title, the reimagining of the game for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR has indeed set the bar for all first-person VR titles. The innovative take on the genre only moves time forward when the player moves, in visually pleasing and minimalist environments that are both refreshing and unique. Setting itself apart from the initial release, Superhot VR has been designed with VR in mind, building an already great game into a top-notch, must-play VR experience. When compared to the PC release, the PSVR build has some issues with tracking due to the sheer amount of movement required in combination with the lackluster tracking of the hardware.
Just like in the original game, time in Superhot VR is in a constant freeze frame unless you deliberately move your head to look around the environment or your detached hands (via PlayStation Move controllers). The more elaborate the motions, the faster time will advance. Each level is divided into a different number of smaller encounters/sections, giving you all the tools you need to make you feel like a legitimate badass. In your way, polygonal, bright orange/red enemies with the goal of shooting, punching or stabbing you to death. Getting hit only once is enough to kill you, forcing you back to the start of the level, regardless if you are in the last section or not. Considering you can be shot from off-screen if you aren’t careful, you’ll be spending a lot of time replaying set pieces multiple times, but when it’s this fun, does it really matter?
Your goal? Kill them before they kill you using your own two fists, or any highlighted object in the environment, including various types of guns, knives, bottles, etc. Your movements must be carefully planned out, but if you find yourself in a jam, you can dodge bullets in slow motion with relative ease, or use any object that you are currently holding to deflect incoming projectiles. Don’t get cocky though, as the first bullet you dodged is generally followed by a dozen more, especially when you are facing foes with shotguns or machine guns. More importantly, killing enemies forces them to drop anything they are holding, launching them into the air for you to grab, a concept that is heavily used throughout the game. Start a level off with nothing more than a glass bottle in front of you? Throw it at the charging enemy with your right hand and snatch his handgun in mid air with your left to take out the three other enemies aiming for your head. As you don’t have a physical body represented in the game, there are certain liberties as what constitutes as getting hit; generally if a projective is in your direct line of sight, you are getting hit. It does take a few attempts to get used to last second dodging, and it never gets old following a would-be kill shot whizzing by your head.
Superhot VR can be played standing or sitting down, depending on your setup, just be sure that you have plenty of space around you, as you’ll be moving more in this game than anything else on the platform. Not only did I smack into my desk a few times over reaching for objects, but I had to alter my play area slightly as I generally played right in front of a wall. I found out the hard way that dodging side to side is an excellent way to avoid getting hit, but moving your upper body backward, even a little, helps out tremendously. On the downside, with the sheer amount of movement, you’ll most likely encounter moments where the camera loses track of either your controllers or your headset. Since the PSVR utilizes light tracking technology, ducking down puts you out of sight in the eyes of the camera, as well as holding your Move controllers in front of your face to block incoming shots, blocks the lights from the headset. It’s not a perfect system, lacking the precision tracking from the PC alternatives, but isn’t a game breaker. I found that resetting your view a necessity in every level (not each set piece mind you).
Superhot VR is one of the most unique shooters on the market and is without a doubt a must-have VR experience. The PlayStation VR build does have its issues with tracking when compared to the Rift or Vive experiences, but it is still one of the best options on the platform. Once you finish the game’s story mode, which lasts less than five hours, you’ll unlock bonus levels that are some of the best moments in the game. I never got the hang of tossing items at enemies, but thankfully the shooting mechanics are top-notch.
Note: Superhot VR was reviewed based on a digital PlayStation VR copy of the game, provided by the publisher.