It's not often that a game makes enough of an impact to reinvent its genre. For first-person shooters, a few recent examples come to mind, including Titanfall, Doom (2016), and Metro 2033. Then a game like Superhot comes along and takes everyone by surprise. The emphasis on slowing down and planning your actions millisecond by millisecond was and still is thrilling. It seems like it'd be hard to top Superhot, but the developers manage to make a superb game even better in Superhot: Mind Control Delete.
Superhot: Mind Control Delete is a "standalone bonus disk," originally beginning as DLC before morphing into an expandalone sequel. The premise remains the same, but now with another layer of unpredictability. With new items, weapons, and enemies, using the word "bonus" seems like an understatement.
The Levels and Progression in Superhot: Mind Control Delete
Superhot: Mind Control Delete's gameplay is as simple as its predecessor. Time only moves when the player moves, all while an onslaught of vicious enemies armed with katanas, guns, or just their fists rush to kill you. Running fast is only going to end in your defeat. No, Superhot is a slow and methodical game and so is Superhot: Mind Control Delete. Just take that formula and add new powers, new abilities, and a roguelite structure on top.
You'll start off with no abilities whatsoever. Your main objective is to survive and take out a set number of enemies. Each stage (or node, as it were) features multiple themed arenas to fight in. Later, you'll have to survive a set number of fights to progress and expand your arsenal of abilities. As you progress, you gain so many new abilities that it makes it hard to go back to the original.
These arenas are what you expect from the series. You might fight in an office, or a bar, or even a dojo filled with throwing stars and katanas. You'll encounter a variety of levels, and they're all chock full of themed items with impressive layouts. Herein lies one of my only complaints with Superhot: Mind Control Delete: the level variety is lacking. This title does not have procedural generation, so you'll encounter the same areas a great number of times throughout your playthrough. After a couple of hours, you're probably going to see most of the levels that Superhot: Mind Control Delete offers, although there are some subtle changes later on to throw you off your guard.
Roguelite Elements of Superhot: Mind Control Delete
Despite some repetition, the real fun lies in the numerous upgrades granted over time. Called Cores and Hacks, they both drastically affect gameplay. In fact, it's sometimes hard to tell why the developers made one ability a core and the other a hack. Some have more standard perks, like an extra heart to your health pool. Others think more outside the box. Want to summon a katana back into your hand after throwing like it's some kind of lightsaber? Want to transfer from your body to an enemy with ease? They're all here and more, just waiting for your unlock.
Cores definitely mix up the gameplay, but most feel very situational. I have a hard time choosing anything other than an extra heart. Mitigating the risk of repeating 15 levels was just too good an offer to pass up. There are also only a few Cores in total, and I felt like that left things with some untapped potential. The greater variety comes with Hacks. After conquering a few levels in a single node, you pick one of two abilities as a reward. One might grant you bullets that pierce enemies, while another causes thrown items to explode.
You can build your playstyle around these hacks as you see fit. If you want to become a brawler that excels at throwing pencils, syringes, and razor-sharp CD disks, that's perfectly within your means. If you prefer firearms, you'll find plenty of apt abilities at your disposal. If you find that you play recklessly, you can even benefit from losing hearts. For one hack, if you lose a heart from your health, a flurry of shurikens spit out and kill any enemy unfortunate enough to be in range. I find myself using the same hacks over another in most cases, but there's a lot of different choices for all kinds of players to enjoy.
Cores and Hacks sound quite overpowered in the context of fighting the normal enemies of the original Superhot. While you're more powerful in this entry, the enemies aren't just going to sit by and die quite as easily as before. In Superhot: Mind Control Delete, but there are new variants of these crimson foes that allow this entry to stand apart from the other and keeps you on your toes in every scenario. You'll have to use every weapon and power at your disposal to survive.
You encounter different types of foes as you make your way deeper into the story. As mentioned, normal enemies are all red, and their entire body is their weak spot. Later on, there are enemies with a single red limb, forcing you to aim more closely. It's much trickier to hit a moving target when you can't shoot center mass. Another unexpected twist on the normal enemies is that some are covered in spikes. Upon death, they explode and unleash deadly projectiles in every direction, making for a frightening experience. There are even a few very special story-based enemies that are actually terrifying to encounter and
Perhaps the most challenging, and sometimes frustrating, of all these new enemies are ones that have red weapons. These weapons are basically a part of the enemy's body, so they can't drop their weapon for you to retrieve it. These guys add a lot of pressure and excitement to every encounter when you know you can't just take their weapon from them. Overall, the variety of enemies is fantastic, since each one adds some element of increased danger. Depending on your build, you might have a more difficult time with some rather than others. One thing is for certain, however: the gameplay in Superhot: Mind Control Delete never ceases to be fun, and much of that can be credited to the enemies.
The story is one other point worth mentioning. It's cryptic, requiring you to think outside the box and piece it together. This method of storytelling isn't my favorite, but what Superhot Team presents is riveting, pulling some surprising moves. Don't go in expecting this to be purely about gameplay, the meta elements are all still here. I have a feeling that the ending is going to be polarizing, but I think it's a good thing. It helps create an incredibly immersive and almost otherworldly experience.
Superhot: Mind Control Delete Review | Final Thoughts
If you thought the original was captivating, wait until you get your hands on Superhot: Mind Control Delete. This is a deeply immersive shooter that innovates on the original in almost every way. Sure, there's some repetition here and there, but there wasn't a moment my time playing where I wasn't on the edge of my seat. With new powers, weapons, enemies, and an enthralling narrative, fans of Superhot will go nuts over Mind Control Delete.
TechRaptor reviewed Superhot: Mind Control Delete with a copy provided by the publisher.
- Gameplay is Still Great
- Roguelite Upgrades
- Weirdly Awesome Narrative
- New Enemies and Weapons
- Level Variety Repetition
- Some Cores More Useful Than Others