REVIEW: Super Mario Odyssey

  • Released: 2017
  • Played on: Switch
  • Also available on: –
  • Time to get into: 30 Minutes
  • Time to complete: 10 Hours
  • Multiplayer: not really, although there are some features

Super Mario Odyssey is a celebration of all things Mario! It’s a joyful and wondrous ride that manages to encapsulate everything that we love about the old plumber whilst at the same time giving him an almost limitless amount of new things to do. The basic platforming gameplay is probably the most rock solid ever created and the levels range from good to great with no misses. In fact, for me it includes the best level in gaming ever! It’s not perfect and it’s over far too soon but if you have any love of gaming at all you have to play Odyssey – it’s exciting, enchanting and euphoric.2018040408335100-8AEDFF741E2D23FBED39474178692DAF

Gameplay – refined and maybe defined
Nintendo‘s first proper Mario adventure on the Switch is an absolute triumph of gameplay design. I remember saying when I (finally) played Super Mario Galaxy last year that Nintendo had focused almost entirely on the fun, varied gameplay mechanics. Well, in Odyssey, they have taken that even further: I think this might be the best platforming ever created from a technical standpoint. Everything Mario does just feels so right, so precise. Which means in turn that you can play the game confidently and thus enjoy the truly ridiculous number of abilities available to you. Sure, we have the Mario standards like jumping and ground pounding but everything is taken up a notch by the introduction of Cappy. More on him from a story perspective later but for gameplay this means throwing your hat about the place. Not only does this open up additional abilities for Mario like collecting coins you can’t reach with a quick hat throw but also Super Mario Odyssey‘s main new gameplay feature: being able to use Cappy to become anyone and anything. Want to stop worrying about holding you breath under water? Throw your hat at a Cheep Cheep and then you can swim about to your hearts content. Or throw it at a Bullet Bill to be able to travel quickly over big gaps. The possibilities are more or less endless, including a few chances to be a T-Rex! Nintendo have done an amazing job, through a combination of intuitive controls and helpful but unobtrusive on-screen tips, of making sure that this neverending arsenal and abilities never gets overwhelming. 99% of the time it was immediately clear to me what I had to do. I expect that Nintendo will, at some point in the future, prove that platforming can be improved but right now I cannot imagine how!2018040618021500-8AEDFF741E2D23FBED39474178692DAF

Story, characters and levels
Wedded to this, everything that Odyssey puts around the gameplay is as fresh and interesting as it has been in any Mario game since Super Mario Sunshine. But whilst the FLUDD and everything else they tried to do there arguably fell a bit flat, the levels you play through here are fantastic. A review isn’t enough space to even go into everything I love about just the best one: Metro Kingdom, aka New Donk City, so I’ll try and summarise across Super Mario Odyssey as a whole. Whilst it’s still the traditional Bowser-kidnaps-Peach story from every Mario game ever, there are a few aspects here that actually made me pay attention. The wedding, the introduction of Cappy as a companion character fighting the same fight alongside you and some other twists I won’t give away all add up to make this as fresh as a Mario story has been in years. Bowser has his usual minions trying to get in your way – this time they are the ‘Broodals‘ – but they are fairly nondescript. But there are plenty of characters you meet on your journey through each level that brighten the game. All of the levels are great too: after the constant stream of small new levels in the Galaxy games, it’s a nice change on pace to have a few, much larger levels with huge amounts to do and discover. It can’t be considered an open-world game but there has been plenty of influence from such games in the level design and it works wonderfully.2018040413405000-8AEDFF741E2D23FBED39474178692DAF

But not perfect
So if Super Mario Odyssey has class-leading gameplay and best-ever Mario story line and levels, what can possibly be wrong with it?! For me, there are 2 aspects that hold it back. Firstly, it’s just too easy. This has actually been great for The Boy – more on his experiences with the game later. However, I breezed through it with barely a stutter. It wasn’t until the final couple of world’s facing the most difficult challenges and bosses that I felt I really had to try at all. Perhaps it if it was harder it would lose some of it’s joyful carefree abandon but I am not convinced they have the balance right. Secondly, it’s over too soon. Sure, there is plenty of post-game content – I’ll discuss this more in the next paragraph – but playing through the main game at a reasonable pace I completed it in only 10 hours. Whilst I didn’t spend ages doing ‘unnecessary’ things, neither did I rush at all – I totally enjoyed those hours. I just wish there were more of them before the credits roll.2018041913583400-8AEDFF741E2D23FBED39474178692DAF

After the credits roll, you open up a huge amount of new content. Suddenly there are more power moons everywhere and the Mushroom Kingdom opens up to play in. For me, this all felt a bit after-the-fact. There’s just not enough reason to keep playing. I tried to go on for about another hour but I felt I needed more direction to maintain enough interest. I was going to criticise the game for this but then The Boy reached the end… and went on… and on… and on! He loves this game so much and he has had an amazing time with this additional content. Searching for moons is an end in itself for him and Super Mario Odyssey is an amazing playground for him to look for them. This is officially now his favourite game ever and a huge part of that is the freedom to just do whatever he wants in the quest for all the moons. You also get a huge ton of customisation for Mario with different clothes, hats and other bits. Odyssey really does reward it’s fans with a lot of content to get stuck into.

Whether or not the post-credits content captures your imagination you’ll find more than enough fantastic gameplay here to justify the asking price. Playing Super Mario Odyssey is just a stream of joy, wonder and delight! It’s the ultimate Mario experience and one of the best games of it’s type ever made. Enjoy!Review5

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Top 10 New Games at E3: Monthly Roundup June 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars
February: Top 5 Open World Games
March: Top 5 Mario Kart 8 Items
April: Top 5 Underappreciated Games
May: The Boy’s Top 10 Games Ever

So E3 has rolled around once again and we have all marvelled at the new games that were revealed. Or at least, at those that weren’t leaked beforehand, anyway! Overall, I was impressed with the presentations of Ubisoft and Xbox and rather disappointed with Playstation and EA‘s showcases, with the rest somewhere in between. Ubisoft were the ‘winners’ for me – a great combination of games I am excited about, series that I haven’t been interested in before but might be now and a presentation that was just a lot of fun! But let’s just get straight to the real point: the games. Here are the ones I am most looking forward to, and a few slight disappointments.

  1. Halo Infinite (Xbox One, Microsoft)hi
    • We were given next to no details about what Halo Infinite was in Microsoft‘s press conference but my love for this series is still super strong, despite diminishing returns since it was taken over by 343 Industries. If anything, the fact that Halo 4 and 5 were only OK makes me even more excited: I still have hope that the series can get back to it’s previous heights!
  2. Beat Saber (PSVR, Sony)IMG_20180612_123132.jpg
    • This game is why I picked up a VR headset, so I am waiting for this more than any other game right now! So glad we got proper confirmation that it is coming to Playstation VR, although I was sad that we didn’t get a release date – I will have to continue hassling their Twitter account about it for the time being!
  3. Beyond Good & Evil 2 (Multi, Ubisoft)

    • I wasn’t expecting to love this game. I didn’t really enjoy the original but I was blown away by what we were shown by Ubisoft. It’s looks epic! Fantastic game worlds and the Hitrecord collaboration, if it works, could be both groundbreaking and amazing.
  4. Gears 5 (Xbox One, Microsoft)
    • Across their series’ so far, Gears of War might not have quite hit the heights of the Halo series but it has been more consistent. And Kait is one of my favourite new characters of recent years. Can’t wait.
  5. Trials Rising (Multi, Ubisoft)
    • The Boy and I will be all over this! Trials Fusion has been one of our mainstays. Can’t wait to play Trials on Switch as well. I also really loved the video set to Blue Danube too – great stuff.
  6. Control (Multi, Sony)
    • This game really intrigued me. I love sci-fi in general but particularly anything that messes with the fabric of reality. It quite reminded me of Quantum Break, which was Remedy‘s previous game so hopefully they can build on that with this new one. Few details so far but I really like what I’ve seen.
  7. Sea of Solitude (Multi, EA)
    • Was great to see a publisher like EA dedicate a whole section of it’s show to a game about emotions. The rest of it was mostly guns and goals but Sea of Solitude looked and sounded great. It reminded me a little of Rime.
  8. Super Mario Party (Switch, Nintendo)
    • The Boy and I have been waiting for a Mario Party game ever since the Switch was released! Great to see the technology of the two Switch consoles working together too – something that can only be done with Nintendo Switch.
  9. Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Multi, Ubisoft)
    • I’ve put ‘multi’ there, but let’s be honest: if you have a Switch you are going to get this game on Nintendo‘s console so that you can get Star Fox! Great to see another Nintendo character doing crossovers with other Ubisoft games. Now I’m actually excited for Starlink.
  10. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Multi, Square Enix)
    • Lara looks like a machine! I was slightly underwhelmed by Rise of the Tomb Raider but this looks like a proper evolution of the gameplay. Will be great to see how the trilogy ends.

Top 3 Disappointments across E3a

  1. Anthem
    • This just looks like Destiny set in Mass Effect: Andromeda locations. Hopefully they can pull it out of the bag but my high hopes from last year have diminished from this E3.
  2. The Last Of Us Part 2
    • 99% of me is still confident that this will be amazing based on the fact that Naughty Dog don’t seem to be able to make a game that doesn’t shoot straight into my All-Time Top Games List. But every single thing we’ve seen about this game has focused on how brutal it is. Like, really brutal. What made the first one so great, however, was how the brutal combat juxtaposed the heart and the relationship between the characters. A little 1% of me is worried that the hype is going to make The Last Of Us eat itself.
  3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
    • To be clear: I don’t mean that I was disappointed with the game itself. Really, I have little or no interest in it at all. I played a lot of Smash Bros on the Gamecube and a little on the 3DS but fighting games just aren’t something I am good at or enjoy. I am simply disappointed that Nintendo dedicated such a ridiculously large amount of their presentation to it. They clearly don’t have anything else up their sleeves this year. Where was the Yoshi game, for example? Bring on 2019 I guess.

What about you? What new game reveals got you the most excited? Let us know in the comments below.

REVIEW: Trials Fusion

  • Released: 2014
  • Played on: Xbox One
  • Also available on: PC, Xbox 360, PS4
  • Time to get into: 30 Minutes
  • Time to complete: 8 Hours
  • Multiplayer: Yes, local and online

The best moments of Trials Fusion are when you perfectly nail the landing of a small jump and accelerate hard into a huge subsequent leap into the sky. Soaring above the track you are racing on, your rider seems to briefly pause in mid-air before screaming out as they fall back down to earth – AAAGGGHHH! Trials Fusion is an exhilarating and immediate game that turns out to be surprisingly deep and varied. Despite a few flaws, it will keep you coming back for quite a while.10-02-2018_22-39-21

Full to the brim
The Boy and I have been playing this game for months and months, since it was one of the Xbox Live Games With Gold in August 2017. But it had only ever been that – a game that we played for fun. Earlier this year, however, I decided to tackle the single player game and see what the other various modes had to offer. It has an impressive array of options, features and modes that rival much more expensive packages. I had not played a Trials game before this, so I can’t comment on how the series has evolved up to this point, or whether all of these features were available at launch. It seems clear, however, that Fusion does one thing very very well, whilst the rest of it has been bolted on, to varying degrees of success.26-02-2018_23-10-32

What it does so well is a unique type of racing that I have not come across exactly in other games. In terms of steering, your bike is on rails – you cannot turn left or right. This seems odd to begin with but in fact allows you to focus on the real key – perfect balance. The left stick, instead of steering left and right, allows you to push your rider’s weight forward or back. Without doing so, they will tip over and crash pretty quickly but the more you play the more you realise how well nuanced this mechanic is. Your ultimate speed is linked to accelerating your bike, of course, but it’s having your weight in the right place as much as possible that will be the difference between a bronze medal and a gold medal in single player, between competing online or simply being left in your competitor’s dust. Once you have picked up this basic idea, Trials Fusion has a multitude of places for you to use your skills. The single player game is lengthy and varied. You can play multiplayer, locally as we do, or online. In addition there is a track-builder where you can design your own tracks and upload them for others to try out. There are a dizzying amount of options in this creative tool – it feels much like it’s own game in many ways. Countless hours could be lost trying to perfect your designs.23-02-2018_07-25-14

Trials Fusion does have a few flaws. There is a whole point-scoring tricks dynamic to parts of the game. You move the right stick in certain directions to have your rider perform tricks during jumps. It’s fun, but is implemented a bit vaguely, making it hard to pin down exactly which tricks you are trying to nail. It feels like the beginnings of an idea that might be perfected in a sequel. Also, Fusion does get very difficult towards the end of the single player. Of course, challenge isn’t a flaw in and of itself, but what both that and the tricks do is make the game more intricate. Thus it looses something of the out-of-control exhilaration that makes the game so immediately enjoyable early on. The harder levels and targets force you to maintain tighter control of your bike but don’t replace the wild abandon with anything else – it almost turns into a puzzle game late on. Not bad gameplay, but not what Trials is all about.10-02-2018_22-39-23

Trials Fusion is not perfect but for the price it is great value for money – with the multitude of different things to get your teeth into you get plenty of opportunity to enjoy the pick-up-and-play nature of the basic game. Recommended for anyone who enjoys arcade racing and/or extreme sports games. You’ll be shouting out ‘WOAH!’ along with your character, as you plummet back down from a huge jump, in no time!


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One for the purists: Impressions of TT Isle of Man

I really enjoy motorbike racing games. MotoGP 2 back in the early 2000s is the only game I’ve ever been very good at online. I don’t particularly know why, but something about racing bikes clicked with me. Since then there has been a pretty much total lack of good motorbike video games: I usually give each one a go but none of them has been good enough. The next in line is TT Isle of Man: Ride On The Edge. This game manages to simultaneously be far, far better than every bike game of recent years but still not be a keeper. Why? Because it is just really, really… really… hard to play.19-05-2018_08-46-17

This is a game built for purists or die hard fans of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. Otherwise, unless you are a glutton for punishment, racing in this game just isn’t fun. In fact, it doesn’t work at all as a racing game – it would be better described as a riding game. If you are under no on-track pressure the difficulty of the game is a great challenge. Every bump is felt – every corner is a tiny victory. The speed, the flow of it – it’s an absolute rush. However, as soon as other riders are on track with you it falls apart.

And you fall down.

A lot.19-05-2018_08-46-32

Let’s be fair and look at what is good about TT Isle of Man first. It looks very nice. Various parts of the British countryside have either been built or imagined for the tracks and they are varied and detailed. For example, things like road signs and pavements (avoid these like they are walls!) have been created properly alongside the tracks. The lighting is also gorgeous – different times of day bathe the roads in different colours. Handing is also detailed and well done. Braking and accelerating are truly fully analog but it’s the fantastic level of feedback that you get that sets TT apart. The video below will show the really fantastic flow of a lap in the game but what it can’t do is show you the detailed gamepad vibration. You can feel every tiny detail on the bike in your hands – every bump in the road, every wheelspin, every gear shift. Combine that with the visual feedback (such as the rush of the wind at high speeds – makes you feel like you are really travelling!) and the bike feels really solid and thoroughly part of it’s world.


Thank goodness for all of that, as just navigating a single corner is so difficult. On one of the loading screens there’s a quote: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”. This really feels like the philosophy of the game and when you manage to walk on that knife’s edge for a whole race it does feel good. But there are just too many times when you think you are getting everything just right and next thing you know, your rider is plastered all over the floor. It doesn’t feel fair. I expect it is fair but the window you need to stay in to stay up is just so small that finishing a race starts to feel a little bit ‘phew I made it‘ than anything celebratory.19-05-2018_08-46-24

If this was just a time-trial game then this would be worth battling through but what really ruined TT for me is having other bikes on track. Firstly, the tracks are so narrow. This isn’t really a criticism as such, as the roads on which the Isle of Man TT are held on are very narrow for racing, and are accurately recreated here. But it does not make for great gaming when a coming together results in not just a paint swap but one or both of you on the floor. Where the game is most at fault is the second issue with on-track racing: The AI. The other riders on track seem to basically not heed your presence at all. Occasionally this is to their detriment but usually it is to yours. Think that braking early for this corner so you can have a straighter line out might be better? Well, if the AI doesn’t agree they will smash right into the back of you and send you into the scenery. Every time. For the purists that can live with these issues, TT Isle of Man is a technical marvel. I, however, cannot. Here’s hoping that the new MotoGP 18 that’s out tomorrow is better than last year’s!

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REVIEW: Overcooked

  • Released: 2017
  • Played on: Switch
  • Also available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
  • Time to get into: 4 Minutes
  • Time to complete: 12 Hours
  • Multiplayer: Yes, local only

Overcooked is a wonderfully fun game that that on the surface has you chopping onions and frying burgers, but in reality has you managing a complex set of simple tasks to a tight deadline. It’s breathless and stressful, but cute and fun! In single player it’s good but in multiplayer, with the absolute need to communicate constantly and work together, it is fantastic. It loses it’s way later on as a package and it’s attempts at a story are woeful, but you’ll want to have Overcooked around for a quick and crazy go with friends every once in a while.2018032910375700-F897DAA49269BC023482B5C9AAA6BE73

Anything but basic
On first glance everything in Overcooked seems so simple, perhaps even too simple. There are only 2 or 3 buttons and an analog stick in use and none of the actions require any finesse – it’s just press and go. One button is used to pick up/put down items and another to perform actions on those items. From washing a plate clean to slicing up a tomato; just hit the button, wait a bit and it will be done. However, it doesn’t take too many levels for the requirements for the number of completed meals to start to get a little tight and this is when it all makes sense. This game isn’t about cooking at all! The levels are kitchens but they could just as easily have been a garages or office buildings. Overcooked is really about managing your time in the most efficient way possible and by keeping each individual task very easy the developers, Ghost Town Games, have allowed their players to focus on the more complex bigger picture of how to complete the most meals. There is even good incentive for you to keep searching for the perfect critical path – you’re gonna want to get your rating up to 3 stars on each level if you intend to complete the game. This whole concept lends Overcooked a very smooth learning curve and good reasons to continue to climb it.2018032318214500-F897DAA49269BC023482B5C9AAA6BE73

When your greatest strength…
This is all achieved by Ghost Town Games by giving each different level or kitchen a different limiting factor. Sometimes it’s how many things can be chopped up at any one time, other times you’re limited by how many things can be cooked at one time. This creates a bottleneck in each level that needs to be managed and is the real genius of the game. Without this it would take no time to work out the quickest way to have your chefs complete each task and then it would just be a case of execution. The bottleneck inevitably leads to the one thing you want to avoid – chefs just standing around doing nothing. All of a sudden your nice convenient sequence of events isn’t so clear. What can you do with your spare chef? Have them chop extra ingredients? Well, now you have too many things hanging around not cooked. Have them wash up? But that takes too long and how your tomato soup has started to burn! Agghh!

…is also your greatest weakness
As the difficult increases so does the stress level and so does the feeling of reward when you manage to completely minimise the time your chefs wasted on the way to many happy customers. Unfortunately, Overcooked loses it’s way towards the end as the limiting factor bit by bit becomes the level itself. Now the bottleneck is how long it takes your chef to move from one workstation to another or how the kitchen somehow changes or shifts to ruin your work patterns. The first few of these changing levels are great – you end up having to have more than one plan and switch between them on the fly. By the end though there are too many changes and too many variables in each kitchen and it becomes so difficult, if not impossible, to perfect your strategy that any sense of reward from your achievements is gone. This is a real shame but to be clear; the absolute majority of the levels are great – and completing the game is only really the start of the fun…2018032211465100-F897DAA49269BC023482B5C9AAA6BE73

Better with friends
All of this can be done in single player. You have a third button that switches between your two chefs to enable you to control both. This is how I have completed the game as neither The Boy or the other folks I’ve played it with have played long enough to reach that point. However, the real fun is in those multiplayer games. Now you can no longer control what each chef is doing and so it is completely vital to communicate in detail with everyone playing. At best it would be horribly inefficient for each player to just make their own meals but in many levels that’s not even possible. This leads to all kind of hilarity! “No, not another tomato“, “you chop that mushroom whilst I go and get an onion for you“, “which pan is about to burn?“, “but I need to wash the dishes!“, “what can I do?“. It is just brilliant and once again an outcome of how the game is deceptively simple. No one playing is concentrating on some complex task by themselves – everything is connected to something being done by someone else and the subsequent shouting (mostly good-natured, we’re on the same team here!) and, upon completing a level, the high-fives make Overcooked one of the best local co-op games I’ve ever played.2018032909204400-F897DAA49269BC023482B5C9AAA6BE73

It doesn’t get a high score as it has too many significant issues as an overall package. When Overcooked succeeds though, it does so massively. It’s available for a bargain price across most platforms so even if you never reach the end of the game, pick up a copy for next time you’re playing with friends.Review3

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Playlink Games – Mini-Reviews of That’s You! and Knowledge is Power

I recently picked up a copy of Gran Turismo Sport so that I could play it in VR. That didn’t go very well, let’s say, but it did come with a free copy of That’s You!, one of the Playlink games on PS4. If you don’t know of Playlink then it’s basically a way for Playstation 4 owners to play mini-games with their friends without the need for controllers – all players use their phones to interact with the games over WiFi and much hilarity can ensue! I also picked up Knowledge is Power, a quiz game for Playlink and have played them a couple of times with friends.That's You!™_20180504222011

That’s You!
This is a really hilarious game that asks you questions about each other. It’s like a high-tech version of Mr & Mrs for groups of friends! For example, it might ask ‘which one of you would be most likely to get sunburnt at the beach?’ Everyone selects which of the group they reckon is the most likely via their phones. However, of course, the game doesn’t know the right answer! As such the scoring works where only people who get the same answer get the points so even if you select the ‘correct’ person, if everyone else chooses another then they will be scoring points and not you. This (in combination with the fact that we all like to be a little wicked to our friends, don’t we?!) means that everyone quickly moves to selecting the funniest answers rather than anything else.That's You!™_20180504220413

The other tasks in the game also lend themselves towards fun first – you might be asked to all take a selfie making a silly face and then rate whose was the best. Each game ends with a round where each player is asked to draw on their screen to add more ‘art’ to a picture of another player. Only the person who took the selfie doesn’t know what everyone else is designing them to be so the results are always fantastic. If you have a group of friends who know each other well enough then you’ll get a huge amount of good laughs from That’s You!Review3

Knowledge is Power™_20180504230214

Knowledge is Power
This is a more standard quiz game as we’ve known them in the past but at least here there is no need for huge amounts of peripherals like you had with Buzz from back in the PS3 days. It does of course mainly test your knowledge but also let’s you interact with each other by way of different types of power play which enable you to do things like override another’s choice of topic or obscure the multiple choice answers on the other player’s phones.Knowledge is Power™_20180504224449

Having other ways to beat other players besides just answering the questions better and faster than them is an additional part of Knowledge is Power that does up the fun factor and help keep things closer. However, it all seems pointless by the end as the entirely of each round is only for the purpose of placing yourself a certain height up the final pyramid. With a question or two of that final round everything can have changed which somewhat devalues all that came before. In the final count Knowledge is Power is a perfectly serviceable quiz game but not something that is going to be first choice for a gaming session, or even a Playlink session, with friends.Review2

A quick word on the Playlink concept. It does use the technology well. These games, or parts of them can only be played in this way with the additional screens and cameras that are then available via the devices in each player’s hands. For example, drawing on each others selfies is not something that has been gamified well before now and my experience with them so far is that this has every chance to be more than a short lived gimmick. I am certainly looking forward to playing the other Playlink games and to see where the series goes in the future.

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REVIEW: Superhot VR

  • Released: 2017
  • Played on: PSVR
  • Also available on: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
  • Time to get into: 5 Minutes
  • Time to complete: 8 Hours
  • Multiplayer: No

I had been meaning to play Superhot ever since it came out but had just never got around to it. The main idea and main selling point for the game – that time only moves when you do – is pretty much unique, at least to my knowledge. As it turns out, I am kinda glad I missed out, as instead I picked it up as Superhot VR – one of the first games I’ve played on PSVR. It is an absolutely brilliant concept and perfectly executed in virtual reality. Superhot VR is more than enough reason to own a VR headset.SUPERHOT VR_20180403234438

Don’t move
If you’ve not come across Superhot before then you may not know about it’s headline feature: time only moves at the same speed that you do. In other words when you stop, so does the game. This gives you time: to look around, to maybe take in the distances of two bullets heading your way, to spot the new enemy appearing around a corner to the side. Then you can decide how you are going to approach the battle and then act accordingly – you start moving and the game jumps back into life. This is great but what really makes it unique is that it’s not just on/off. If you move slowly, so does the world around you. This takes things to a new level – suddenly you are dodging bullets, throwing things at enemies and shooting them down in complete control of the speed of proceedings. If you are under threat, move slower – if you are confident then smash those bad guys into pieces (literally!) with abandon. Check out this video to get an idea of it all:

He’s beginning to believe
The best thing I can say about Superhot VR is that it made me feel like I was in The Matrix (still my favourite movie, 19 years later). There are a couple of levels that don’t give you access to any weapons – you have to dodge left, right up and down to avoid a hail of gunfire before your foes come close enough for you to smite them down with your bare hands. Add to the that joy that comes from snatching the weapons of downed enemies right out of the air and turning them on others. The virtual reality is wonderful. I haven’t played the standard edition of the game but I cannot imagine that is anywhere near as immersive (let me know your thoughts in the comments below if you have played it), despite not making any effort to look like the real world. Being stood at some strange angle trying desperately not to move until you’ve figured out how to avoid some incoming bullets just can’t be replicated outside of VR. The combination of this immersion with the ability to so closely control the flow of events (or at least, the speed at which those events happen) is a marriage made in heaven. Superhot is totally at home in VR. Technically it matches up to this – there are very few tracking issues, despite how much you are moving around. Occasionally I thought it was generous with how near my hands were to objects when it let me pick them up but I was hardly complaining in the heat of battle!SUPERHOT VR_20180404200546

Backing up the main thing
All of this fun would still get tired though, without some stuff to back it up. What little plot there is is odd and intriguing without ultimately meaning anything. You are in a room filled with computers through which you are being asked to go into a virtual reality world to complete all these missions. I really enjoyed the virtual-world-within-a-virtual-world angle and it does give a little meaning to the sparse environment and shattering enemies. Otherwise the only variety in Superhot VR is in the weapons. From objects strewn about like bottles, to throwing stars and axes, to pistols, automatic weapons and shotguns. Which one you pick up in any given level has an effect on how you can tackle it but there is rarely a choice so it just becomes another part of each particular challenge. For me, despite basically only doing one thing the whole time it remained interesting throughout – there was enough fun that I didn’t need more backing it up. But I can see that for some it might be a little one dimensional.SUPERHOT VR_20180404205024

Superhot VR is a great showcase for what virtual reality games can be. Not just a normal video game that is a bit more immersive, but an experience that can’t be matched outside of a virtual world. It’s also a great shooter – Superhot VR enables you to play a little bit stylishly if you like but mercilessly punishes trying to rush or not concentrating. An absolute must play for VR owners.


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