Quite possibly the most innovative shooter of the last ten years or so gets a standalone sequel. Superhot: Mind Control Delete comes out this week, and fans of the original will want to grab hold of it. We playtested the PS4 version, but you can also pick it up on PC and Xbox One – with the game being free for those who own the original Superhot prior to the release of Mind Control Delete.
Superhot’s “time moves when you move” mechanic was what made the game such a great demo – something that’s instantly intriguing. It was one of the first Oculus Rift demos we experienced as well back in 2014, and of course that demo ended up becoming Superhot VR a few years later. Both demos made you fall in love with the gimmick, while at the same time wondering if it would remain fun over the course of a full game. The final product ended up being very well-received, but one question looming over its sequel/spin-off was always going to be how it would expand on what we were already familiar with.
The answer is “not too much”, but that’s not necessarily a big negative since those who enjoyed Superhot will certainly gel with this one too. Levels still play like shooters, but their bullet time ballets make the gameplay also feel like a bit of a puzzle game when you keep getting hit by a stray bullet and need to figure out the right direction to move in or the correct enemy to take out first.
Content-wise, Mind Control Delete is bigger than the first game, and so are the “auto-save” points. Where the first game would throw you back a few levels if you failed before reaching one, these sections can be larger in the sequel, forcing you to repeat more levels than perhaps you’d like. This doesn’t have to be a problem, but it can become frustrating if you feel like you’re not in control of the action, with deaths where you can’t figure out how they happened or enemies that respawn in a spot that doesn’t give you enough time to react.
Mind Control Delete’s levels have a much higher degree of randomly generated events than those in the first game, which were more tightly designed. While this adds to the replay value of the game because you can’t just go on auto-pilot, it can also add to the frustration – especially when sections of the game lose their momentum because of seemingly unfair deaths.
More content and randomly generated events aren’t the only changes though, as Mind Control Delete also adds the ability to hack into the system to the mix. Essentially translating to perks and boosts in other games, these give you extra abilities that help you survive or even mix up the gameplay a bit. An example of the former is getting access to more health points, while the ability to dash opens up new avenues in taking down your enemies. In addition, these hacks also give you more ways in which to tackle the game when you do subsequent playthroughs after completing the story campaign a first time.
I have to admit that going back to a non-VR Superhot felt a little strange and like a step back in time, but it didn’t take long for me to get back into that familiar Superhot groove. Though the random elements generate more frustration, the added content and the new ways to play through the use of hacks make up for it. If you enjoyed Superhot, you’ll want to continue the journey with this one – especially because you’re getting it for free as a Superhot owner.