When Superhot first burst onto the scene back in 2016 it caused quite the stir. With the tag line “Time moves when you do”, the simple graphics but intricate gameplay blew everyone away. Combine that with the fact that it made you feel like Neo from The Matrix and it was always going to become a runaway success.
Superhot: VR followed a few years later, but that only served to give people hunger for more, rather than satisfy anyone’s appetite.
Fast forward 4 years and that hunger might be satisfied, or at least eased. Superhot: Mind Control Delete takes all the things from the original and throws a few new things into the mix. While most of these innovations stick (and a few not so much) the core gameplay remains the same, and it is as fun and fast as it ever was.
Having said that, if you’ve played the original you know how Superhot works. Each level sees waves of red enemies attacking, but they only move when you do. Bullets freeze mid-flight, enemies stop their attack mid-swing, only resuming when you move the analogue stick. Superhot lies somewhere between action game and puzzler, as each level becomes a chess-like ballet of chaos as you plan each move in order to take out your assailants as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Superhot: Mind Control Delete takes this formula and tinkers with it ever so slightly, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Foregoing the level progression from the first one and replacing it with a grid-like map that consists of several nodes, Superhot assumes you are familiar with the series and throws you straight into it.
Each node contains a series of levels that randomise where enemies spawn. Where the first game felt like you were working through a series of puzzles, with enemies spawning in set locations allowing you to memorise and plan ahead, Mind Control Delete feels more action-focused, largely due to this change. Memorising enemy locations was a strategy to be utilised, but by randomising spawn points, that strategy is made useless.
Enemies will continue to swarm on you until you have defeated a set amount, or they have kicked your arse instead. In another change, Mind Control Delete starts you off with 3 hearts, as opposed to the one-touch kills of the original. With these 3 hearts you have to complete the 6 or so scenarios within each node; losing all 3 resets the node and the scenarios so you have to start it all again.
Again, another minor change but it is one that has a significant impact on how the game plays. You might sail through the earlier scenarios but then stumble towards the latter few within a node, lose your hearts and then reset, starting again but with different scenarios to test yourself against. This can very quickly escalate into a loop of failure, and I found that would cause me to get frustrated and fail even more, struggling to break the cycle.
Initially, when the scenarios changed I was confused as to what was happening. Had I died and thus failed? Did I have to access the node and start again, or work my way back up to my original starting point? Years of being conditioned by games to expect a set thing to happen when your character dies led me to believe this change was attributed to my failure, and I’ll be honest it messed with me initially before I got my head around what was actually going on. Once I figured out it was all part of the process it didn’t feel as jarring but even so, there is definitely something psychological about failure causing everything to change, and whether by accident or design it does add to the whole mess with your head dynamic that Superhot strives for.
One downside to this trial and error gameplay is that things feel repetitive very quickly. Although the scenarios you are faced with might change, how you navigate them and the ultimate goal of each one is still the same – destroy your enemies without being taken down yourself. The gameplay does hold up but after a few levels, I did find my attention wandering as things just started to feel a little repetitive with only the background really changing. Mind Control Delete does try and invigorate this a little bit, but the new features that have been introduced don’t go far enough to stop the game from feeling repetitive after a while.
Alongside the levels contained within each node, Mind Control Delete introduces hacks. Hacks allow you to improve your already god-like abilities, such as by refilling your hearts or starting levels with a weapon. Each hack lasts for the duration of the node you are currently completing, and once finished they reset back to base abilities.
New hacks can be unlocked as you play, by finding them within the Node map. Once unlocked and activated they are added to a list that you can choose from, which mixes up how you play.
Mind Control Delete also introduces a new enemy type, one that is predominantly white but with a splash of red. The white part of these new enemies is invincible- if you want to smash these mannequin-like buggers to smithereens you have to hit them in the red bit. This could be their head or an arm or a leg, but wherever it is, it serves as a nice break in the flow when you have to switch it up and aim for a particular body part in order to defeat them.
As for the story, Mind Control Delete continues to build upon the idea of you living in a simulation and being able to manipulate the world around you. Although it doesn’t have a story as such, simply putting you in one situation after another, sometimes text will briefly flash up on screen extending the mythology and helping to further the ideas established in the first game.
Mind Control Delete takes what worked in the first game and tries to build on it with a few tweaks and new takes on the familiar formula. Fans of the first game will love it, as it does build on the mythos and gameplay Superhot is know for, but it does start to get repetitive towards the end. Mind Control Delete is a solid sequel, and if you enjoyed Superhot, you will be pleased to find more of the same here.
Superhot: Mind Control Delete PS4 Review
Overall - 7.5/10
While not reaching the lofty heights of the first, Superhot: Mind Control Delete brings some new ideas and mechanics that work to build on the innovative gameplay and frenzied action of the first. For some, the similarities to the first game will be refreshing, but to others the changes won’t go far enough.
- It’s the same Superhot we know and love, but with a few new abilities added
- Hacks serve to invigorate levels in new and interesting ways
- enemy spawn locations differ each time, offering lots in terms of replay value
- It’s the same Superhot we know and love, but with a few abilities added
- Can feel repetitive
- Not much in the way of narrative to help drive the game forward
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4
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Stuart has had a long and lengthy love affair with video games, since he first woke up to find Santa had left him a Sega Master System complete with Alex the Kidd built in no less. Since then, his thumbs have become calloused and he has missed many a nights sleep in the pursuit of those elusive “5 more minutes…” but his love has never wavered.