Oh, man. This is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever had to write. Not because I’m under any extra duress – of course, Mr Biffo keeps me chained up in a wheelybin round the back of Boots and regularly ‘incentivises’ me with a jolt from a cattle prod, but that’s no different to normal. No, it’s because I want to give Superhot VR a higher rating than I know it should probably get.
There are three things at play here. One is that Superhot (VR or regular) is a bit of a marmite game at the best of times. If you get it, it’s the greatest thing in the world.
Finishing a level in Superhot, and the same for Superhot VR, makes you feel like some sort of bullet-time demi-god like almost no other game can.
For others, though, it’s just a weird-looking minimalist shooter with a stupid twist and a hokey storyline straight out of 1980s sci-fi. Obviously these people are wrong as Superhot is chuffing brilliant, but these days we have to show respect and that so apparently I’m not allowed to call them complete dingwads.
The second factor is that to get the most out of it you need an expensive set-up that in turn is set up perfectly. That is, a PS4 (ideally a Pro), the PSVR headset and 2 of the bobble-topped Move controllers, and enough space around you to move freely – more than any other PSVR game I’ve played so far has needed.
And even then, sometimes objects seem to be placed just out of reach of your grasping avatar hands, or a tiny involuntary movement will push game time on just enough to see you killed by one of your featureless red adversaries.
Thirdly, like a cocktail sausage roll you’ve injected with molten lead, it’s very tough and awfully short. Checkpoints are few and far between, leading you to have to replay whole stages when you die. And you will – repeatedly.
Sometimes an enemy seems unreachably out of range and you’re out of shots before you know it, or you just have no idea what happened to kill you. And then, when you finally do clear every last punishing stage, you realise there was never an awful lot there in the first place – maybe a few hours-worth at most.
But holy moly: when it works, it works like nothing else. You materialise, punch the guy right in front, grab his gun with your other hand in midair, twist, dodge bullets and shoot 2 other guys, twist to the other side, shoot 1 more enemy – out of bullets.
You drop the empty gun, grab a shuriken, throw – miss. Grab a vase, dodging bullets literally whizzing past your VR face, throw – hit… what seems like an eternity passes and then… SUPER… HOT. SUPER… HOT.
Never mind people complaining about VR pornography, this is absolute and utter filth right here – even writing that out rather than playing it made me feel a bit funny all over. If they sold physical copies of this game, it’d be passed to you from under the counter in a brown paper bag by a shifty-looking dude with lank hair.
Superhot VR is simultaneously crushingly hard, woefully short, clunky to play and the absolutely best thing ever. It’s a double espresso of a game served in a chipped, dirty cup from a roadside snack bar with scary hygiene issues, yet is somehow the best coffee you’ve ever had. The only other VR game I’ve played that’s left me as slack-jawed is the awesome but painfully brief Star Wars Battlefront VR X-wing add-on.
I honestly can’t say ‘yes, you should buy this’ because of all the caveats. Of course I couldn’t. But also, I really, really want to say ‘Seriously? You ABSOLUTELY have to buy this!’ because sod the caveats – do you want to genuinely feel like a superhero or not? I know I do.
SCORE: XXX out of XXX