Have you played Braid? It’s a beautifully designed platform game that uses a simple time mechanic to gently shift time forward and back in order to cross chasms and solve obstacles. Its gameplay requirements fit the genre perfectly; slow, steady and intellectual, it asks the player to take their time and think about the repercussions of every single movement.
Well, incredible as it may seem, there is now a First-Person Shooter that does the same.
Typically the home of twitch reactions and running headlong into generic firefights, there’s rarely any attempts to deconstruct the formula, which is perhaps why the 7dfps challenge (where indie devs must make a working FPS concept in seven days) is so potentially exciting.
Superhot, the resulting game from Piotr Iwanicki and and Blue Brick, is a perfect example of how new ideas can make the safest formula fresh and compelling once more. Each level is a series of spacial challenges, tasking you to take out the red enemies before they do the same to you. However, aside from extremely limited ammunition, there’s an important addition – time only moves when you do. This means that you’re basically buried in the final twenty minutes of The Matrix – everyone fights for position with you, then time slows to a crawl as you stop and take aim, bullets streaking past your head leaving red trails. Bodies explode in glorious computerised globs and even the sound design reflects the slow ricochet of near-misses. Instructions such as “TAKE HIM DOWN” and “THE DEAL IS OFF” flash in front of your face, giving you just enough context for the oncoming onslaught.
What this all creates is almost something akin to a turn-based battle. Every movement becomes the use of a valuable resource, where even turning your head slightly can result in an unspotted bullet slamming into you. Dancing round the red streaks and taking down the enemies in a gruesome ballet leaves such a sense of satisfaction that you wonder why this have never been done before. And the best part of this: it’s free and playable in your browser using Unity. Once you play it, the offer to fund via Steam’s Greenlight programme gives you tantilising hope of an even more expansive version in the future.
The FPS genre has become so hackneyed that it’s genuinely thrilling when something new emerges from it. Portal was the last title to leave this kind of impression, and it’s no exaggeration to say that, in a week that sees the release of the long-awaited Grant Theft Auto V, Superhot could be the most original and exciting game you play this week.
Find it here: Superhot