Review – SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE

SUPERHOT was originally released in 2016 and it quickly became one of the most celebrated games of the entire generation due to its striking art style and innovative “time only moves when you move” gameplay loop. It was loved by everyone, but there was a nearly universal complaint regarding its length. Sure, the game was filled with unlockable endurance modes, but its incredibly interesting campaign lasted for little more than two hours. The SUPERHOT developers have been hearing the same complaint for the past four years. They are probably fed up of that, because I cannot think of another reason they have decided to create the next “chapter” in the franchise’s saga, SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE.

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We need more shurikens in gaming.

MIND CONTROL DELETE can be summarised as the SUPERHOT developers venting at everyone who has complained about the original game’s short duration. “Oh, you want more SUPERHOT? Here’s more SUPERHOT! Choke on it!”. It’s not exactly a sequel, although it assumes you have played the original right from the get-go. This is more of a standalone expansion that uses the same gameplay loop from before, stretching it to a near neverending extent.

The game begins just as if you haven’t stopped playing the original SUPERHOT after all these years. A linear section of straightforward levels that test your awareness and time management skills, just like in 2016. The game will constantly tease you throughout these levels, however, asking you if you still want more, even after some fake end credits scenes. It will finally give up on convincing you to stop playing it, and it will just give you a ton of new perks, throw you into a huge gauntlet of new levels, and tell you to figure out how to bear it. This is when MIND CONTROL DELETE truly begins.

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“Burn Baby Burn, Disco Infernoooooo!”

You read that right: perks. The original SUPERHOT couldn’t have cared less about your well-being, telling you to sort stuff out with no health, weaponry, or power-ups besides the admittedly overpowered possession mechanic. In MIND CONTROL DELETE, you have a wide array of power-ups and perks at your disposal. The game isn’t as linear as its predecessor either. You can freely select the level you want to tackle from a minimalist hub world of sorts. These levels are comprised of a series of small challenges set in a handful of different locales, with randomly placed enemies and items scattered throughout the place. At every two rounds or so, you can get a perk to improve your chances in said gauntlet, be it more ammo in your weapons, faster movement, a faster weapon cooldown, and… healing?

Ladies and gentlemen, MIND CONTROL DELETE gives a freaking health meter to your character. That’s something I really didn’t appreciate, as it removed a big chunk of what made the game so challenging in the first place: a sense of urgency, a sense of ruining your run if you don’t pay proper attention to your surroundings. You can eventually change your life perk to other equally overpowered perks that last for the entire series of levels, such as a strong dash attack that basically glues you in front of a faraway foe without giving them time to react. So what did the MIND CONTROL DELETE developers add in order to balance things out?

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Foes with specific weak spots. Now that’s a challenge I can get behind.

Throughout the game, you can acquire some new “hacks” (what the game calls the mid-level buffs) by accessing some specific terminals. Whenever you decide to acquire these new power-ups, the game automatically increases its overall difficulty level, as a means to punish you for your greed. These usually come in the shape of new types of enemies, such as foes that only have one randomly designated weak spot in their body, be it their head, torso or a limb, or even spiky foes that explode in a dangerous barrage of bullets whenever they get shot.

This may sound like a fair trade-off, but that’s not exactly the case. Everything in MIND CONTROL DELETE is randomly generated, with the exception of the rough map design. You may spawn with three foes with katanas right in front of you, or you may spawn right next to a railgun with nobody bothering you at first. This results in a very uneven difficulty curve, if you can even call it that. Even after being introduced to harder enemies, the game might not even turn out to be that hard if you end up having a forgiving run. At the same time, it can become hell on earth if the RNG gods decide to have a laugh at your expense, even with the extra health at your disposal.

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If you see a spiky enemy, be careful. They basically become a bullet grenade after being shot.

SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is basically more SUPERHOT, but with an uneven gimmick. Some might love the randomly generated perks and challenges, others might find it annoying, as it’s less about your skills and more about hoping for the RNG not to troll with you on the next run. I’m just glad I have more SUPERHOT at my disposal. It still looks, sounds and plays largely the same, and it goes on for what it seems like forever, so it will keep you busy for a while. If you were craving for more SUPERHOT in your life, don’t even think twice, especially since you can get it for free if you still own the original game.

 

Graphics: 8.5

The same striking low-poly art style from before, which has aged like a fine wine.

Gameplay: 9.0

The phenomenal “time only moves when you move” gameplay loop is still as great as it has ever been, but some of the new additions to the formula, such as a health meter and random perks, remove a bit of the sense of urgency and challenge that was present in the original game.

Sound: 7.5

For the most part, it’s still quite silent, only featuring expertly-crafted sound effects and the robotic “SUPER HOT SUPER HOT” voice, which shows up less frequently than before. Some stages actually feature music, however, and they are poorly mixed when compared to the rest of the sound department, being loud as all hell.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It’s more SUPERHOT, and that alone is already enough to warrant your attention. The addition of random perks and enemy placements ended up being a mixed bag in my opinion, and the game drags on for way too long. Quite ironic, considering that the original game’s campaign mode was painfully short.

Final Verdict: 8.5

SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE was provided by the publisher.