Review: Superliminal – Sometimes it helps to see things from a different perspective
If you loved games like Myst, or have a fond spot for sadistic puzzles in the vein of Portal, Subliminal is going to be a dream come true.
Perception is reality, that’s what all the self-help books say. Is it true though? I mean, the world does change according to the observer, at least, quantum theory tells us so. So what about the physical world? Could we change things by tricks of perspective, essentially willing things into existence?
Well, no, not in the real world, but in the world created inside Superliminal, that’s exactly what can happen. Objects can shrink to near-nothingness or grow so big that you can fall into them, all by reversing the tricks our eyes play on us with forced perspective.
If that item looks like you’re holding it over the wall, it probably is and can be dropped on the other side of otherwise locked paths. Need a stairway to climb? No problem, pick up that dice, hold it in the air, and drop it. Catch it before it goes out of view and you’ll have a jump-sized block to clamber over, or an even larger object to bash things down with.
It’s all fairly brain-bending from the start, and just as you get used to a mechanic, the game turns up the heat a few notches. You move from dream-like set piece to set piece by first realizing that in a dream, not everything is as it seems, then side-stepped when some things are literally what they seem, and then wrong-footed yet again when you have to take a leap of faith into what can only be described as “huh, never thought that would work.”
Superliminal is full of nice touches, from forced perspective tricks to pulling blocks out of thin air, to forced humor, and forced escape routes. While you can probably finish it in one sitting, don’t let the short playtime dissuade you, much like a well-paced movie, Superliminal will keep you guessing at every turn. Putting it down to do something else and come back to it almost seems like cheating, giving your brain time to mash through the concepts each new room brings.
I supposed I should talk about the graphical quality. I mean, I don’t really want to, some of the best puzzle games of all time had terrible graphics, and yes I’m looking at you Myst. Superliminal has umm, functional graphics, with everything just exactly where it needs to be, which is just as well because figuring out some of the puzzles is hard enough without having to squint at elaborate graphics.
If you loved games like the aforementioned Myst, or have a fond spot for sadistic puzzles in the vein of Portal, Subliminal is going to be a dream come true. And yes, I mean that literally.
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