Su­per­hot VR

Rift

EDGE - - GAMES -

We’re bent over back­wards, hold­ing a hand­gun side­ways and tak­ing aim at our next tar­get’s head. Bul­lets are slowly fizzing through the air as an­other en­emy re­coils, as if through trea­cle, from the ham­mer we just threw at his head. We can’t imag­ine this looks par­tic­u­larly dig­ni­fied. But in­side Rift at this ex­act mo­ment, we feel like Neo from The Ma­trix.

Su­per­hot’s time-trou­bling game­play – the world and your en­e­mies only move when you do – sings in VR, and makes even the tense orig­i­nal game feel oddly muted by com­par­i­son. Here, rather than straf­ing, you must con­tort on the spot as Su­per­hot’s ruby-coloured, crys­talline ag­gres­sors move into po­si­tion like gun­tot­ing glaciers, fill­ing the air with pro­jec­tiles. You can get away with mov­ing your head – and you’ll have to do so in some rather com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tions to get a clear pic­ture of which threats should be your pri­or­ity – but as soon as you open fire or move your arms, time will roll a lit­tle fur­ther for­ward and the dis­tance be­tween you and that vol­ley of shot­gun pel­lets will de­crease.

Just like you, en­e­mies ex­pire from a sin­gle bul­let or punch, no mat­ter where it makes con­tact. The daz­zling feats of mur­der­ous au­dac­ity you’re able to per­form in pur­suit of this goal will leave you grin­ning As you’re rooted to the spot, spool­ing time along re­quires you to duck about or move your hands. While this can cre­ate some amus­ing ‘dukes up’ mo­ments, it can also feel a bit frus­trat­ing when you’re out of bul­lets like an id­iot. In one sec­tion, we ca­su­ally de­flect en­emy bul­lets with a fry­ing pan while lin­ing up shots. In an­other we take out three en­e­mies with grace­fully hurled snooker balls. An­other trio of ag­gres­sors suf­fer the in­dig­nity of be­ing ex­e­cuted with their own weapons af­ter try­ing to make us dance on a podium.

In lieu of be­ing able to move about, each chap­ter sees you switch­ing be­tween a num­ber of po­si­tions within the same level. From each new van­tage point you’ll of­ten be able to see the shards of the foes that you felled from your pre­vi­ous po­si­tion, and Su­per­hot Team uses this me­chanic to play with your ex­pec­ta­tions and crack a cou­ple of jokes along the way. While the in­ter-body hotswitch­ing of the orig­i­nal game doesn’t make an ap­pear­ance here, you gain the abil­ity to burst one en­emy’s head by clench­ing your fists. The spe­cial at­tack takes a cou­ple of sec­onds to charge, how­ever, and time moves quickly while you’re us­ing it, so it needs to be de­ployed strate­gi­cally.

Though stripped back – the short cam­paign is over in a cou­ple of hours, and there are no ad­di­tional modes – the ad­di­tion of VR, dual-wield Touch con­trols and full-body move­ment makes Su­per­hot VR feel some­how more fleshed out than its pre­de­ces­sor. It still of­fers a short, sharp thrill, rather than any­thing more sub­stan­tial. But its ideas co­here into a blaze of bril­liant white heat while it burns it­self out.

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