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Review: Superhot – the time-bending FPS plays great on the Nintendo Switch

Fun, but challenging.

superhot gameplay
Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie
The Good
Extremely fresh, satisfying gameplay
Excellent Switch port with great controls and no noticeable performance issues
The Bad
Harsh difficulty curve
If you’re not here to shoot red bad guys, there’s absolutely nothing else here for you
8
Overall

I feel like I’m the last person on Earth to play Superhot, a first-person shooter that came from the question, “What if time only moves when you do?”

Originally a #7DFPS (7 Day First Person Shooter) jam project, I’m glad they took this one all the way into a full release. I’m especially glad it’s on Nintendo Switch now, which we’re going to get into in just a moment.

Superhot starts strangely. You’re presented with a DOS-like terminal and someone is talking to you through a console that looks like a mix between command prompt, IRC, and DMs. There’s a new program out there and it’s…super hot. Here’s the file: superhot.exe. Go play it.

You can dick around in the menus first, which are lovingly crafted and even contain a few mini-games and screensavers, but I only did that for a few minutes before diving into the main game.

The premise in Superhot is exactly what it sounds like: Time moves only when you move

superhot on nintendo switch

Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie

You can freely aim, but every step, punch, throw, or trigger pull advances time. As a result, Superhot drops you into wild, seemingly impossible scenarios. For the most part, even when it looks like you’re never going to get through this one, you just have to remember that you’re playing as Neo here.

Oh, and everything is a one-shot kill. That goes for both you and the red, bad guys, even for grazing shots. Got em in the foot? That’s a kill shot.

After a few badass levels of blasting low-poly enemies apart, punching them into crystallized fragments, and getting through scenarios that at first looked impossible – all while getting to watch an incredible real-time replay at the end – I started to wonder the same question as the protagonist: Why?

In their words, “No plot, no reason for anything, just killing red guys.” Honestly, that’s fine. I loved Hotline Miami and that story trope was similar. That said, there is more to Superhot than meets the eye. It looks like there’s some sort of conspiracy going on, you don’t seem to have control over your real-life person anymore, someone starts hacking and altering your chat messages, and it all goes a little sideways in a hurry. I love all of that.

superhot gameplay

Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie

Well, I love all of that, but I would love it more if I could actually get farther in the game and experience the rest of it

The difficulty curve was great for a few hours, then massively spiked and I got completely stonewalled. In the above level, I got through it in about 10 attempts. You’re provided a katana and you get to slash through some melee enemies, then a couple of pistol-wielding foes appear, then some machine gunners show up all the way at the other end of the hallway behind you. It’s tough, but eventually doable.

One of the next levels is called Elevator Pitch and it feels completely impossible. You’re in a tiny elevator with three enemies surrounding you, one already pointing a gun at your head. You somehow have to disarm all of them, kill all three before the elevator doors open, and then deal with two machine gunners who just start blasting as soon as they do. I must have attempted this one fifty times or more and I’ve come close, but the last gunner kills me no matter what.

For such a great idea and such satisfying gameplay, I’m disappointed that the difficulty curve is so harsh and there’s literally no way around it

superhot review gameplay

Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie

Until I can get through the elevator fight, there’s nowhere else I can go, nothing else I can do, and no other mode I can play. It’s this level and that’s it. When so many games design around potential roadblocks like that, it feels bad to run into that problem here.

Of course, I will eventually beat that level. I will eventually get to see the rest of the puzzle combat and to experience the rest of this conspiracy-laden story. The gameplay in Superhot is too good to get hung up on one level forever.

As for the Switch port, rest assured that Superhot implements (optional) motion-assist aiming and it works great. I didn’t have any problems landing handgun headshots from across the levels and that definitely says something given how much I hate the joy-con analog sticks for precision FPS aiming.

I’d recommend Superhot to anyone who likes first-person shooters but is looking for something fresh that completely shakes things up. Even if you’ve played this one before, it’s now on Nintendo Switch and there’s nothing like playing great games on the go.

Jake reviewed Superhot on Nintendo Switch with a review code from the developers. It is available now on Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Oculus Quest.

Curious what our scores mean? Find out more in our comprehensive guide to Understanding KnowTechie’s Game Review Scoring

Editors’ Recommendations:

The Good
Extremely fresh, satisfying gameplay
Excellent Switch port with great controls and no noticeable performance issues
The Bad
Harsh difficulty curve
If you’re not here to shoot red bad guys, there’s absolutely nothing else here for you
8
Overall

Jake is a writer and game designer in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He loves action, exploration, building, filling bars, and turning numbers into bigger numbers. Someday he'll release a video game.

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