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Sep 20, 2019

SUPERHOT (Switch) Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $24.99
We Recommend: $24.99
  • Developer: SUPERHOT
  • Publisher: SUPERHOT
  • Genre: Action, First-Person, Puzzle
  • Released: Aug 19, 2019
  • Platform: Windows
  • Reviewed: Switch

It somehow feels like SUPERHOT has always existed. It somehow feels as though it only came out as recently as last year. Perhaps that’s a testament to how thoroughly it has permeated our collective gaming memories. Now, three years on from its release, it is the iconic title we all knew that it would be. The stylish visuals, clever mechanics (“Time moves when you move!”), and ever-increasing challenges of its levels have made a lasting impression and a combination that is hard to put down. The follow-up, SUPERHOT VR became what many consider to be the gold standard for VR games. To say that it has been successful would be an understatement. Given its legacy on PC, the release of SUPERHOT on Switch may at first seem superfluous (“SUPERFLUOUS”?), but in reality it is an earnest port that makes a whole lot of sense for the platform, and more importantly feels right at home.

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The White Room

If you know nothing else about SUPERHOT, you know it by looks. It sports a striking, flat polygonal style sporting a high level of contrast between the off-white environments and glowing crimson enemies. It leaves a strong impression, especially in motion.

The game’s main hook is letting you play through carefully designed combat scenarios in ultra-slow motion, allowing you to plan your movements before you act, but also challenging you to work within the constraints of minimizing your movement when things get tight. And tight they’ll get, because once you start to run, the bullets fly at you fast, and you have to bob and weave around them with acute awareness if you want to stay alive.

Ultimately, the game is a giant Badass Simulator, putting you in shootout situations that feel plucked straight out of action movies, giving you a host of tools to use to turn the unfavorable odds back in your direction. When you complete a level, your run starts looping at full speed, showing off the seemingly impossible feat of reflexes, strategy, and skill that you just achieved. It makes you feel exceedingly cool.

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For some reason, I had concerns about how SUPERHOT would look on Switch. Admittedly, this is not a very taxing-seeming game on the surface, but I was concerned that something to do with the simulation or effects would be more demanding in some hidden way than the Tegra X1 chip can handle. Generally speaking, this is not even remotely true. In docked mode, everything is crisp and fluid and looks fantastic; it’s practically indistinguishable from any other version of the game.

In handheld mode, it’s mostly pretty good, hitting 60fps most of the time and without any immediately noticeable visual downgrades. There are occasional, slight stutters, most of which I’ve noticed seem to happen during end of level replays, but nothing so egregious as to harm your ability to play. They will come up from time to time, though, and you will notice them, but they are more the exception than the norm.

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Full Tilt

What makes this version of SUPERHOT particularly unique is the addition of motion controls. The sensors in both the Joycons and the Pro Controller can be put to use for aiming if you like, and while motion controls can often be a gimmick or unhelpful, I’ve found them to be extremely useful in SUPERHOT. Your aim needs to be relatively precise, and analog sticks may not always get you exactly where you need, so being able to fine-tune the position of your reticle with some subtle controller tilting actually feels really good.

The acceleration curves on gyro movements have been tuned well so that it truly does feel like a feature addition rather than an annoyance that needs to be turned off. Of course, you can disable it if you like, though I’d reccomend taking advantage of this extra option to make sure that you’ve got your shots lined up exactly where you want them. It’s also worth noting that the tilt controls as implemented in handheld mode are a bit more sensitive, which helps ensure you’re not having to tilt the entire Switch too far away from a natural viewing angle while you play.

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They Cracked The System

Ultimately, I feel SUPERHOT plays best on Switch when docked and using a Pro Controller, but thankfully this is a situation where you do have options as a player, and you won’t be making huge sacrifices if you choose to play on the go.

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Somehow, peering into the world of SUPERHOT‘s text terminals and stark environments through my Switch’s LCD screen feels very correct, as though it was always meant to be this way. In a probably accidental but happy parallel, it feels like I have gotten my hands on some kind of special prototype that I’m not supposed to see. SUPERHOT almost works too well on Switch, and being able to play it on a system that fits in my hands with near-perfect accuracy is an almost magical experience.

A Switch eShop code was provided by the publisher for review purposes