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There is no meaning. Just a hollow sense of progression.

No climax or resolution. Just more of the same

When I keep doing the same thing over and over again, like many folks, I often ask myself what am I doing with my life? What’s the endgame or the prize at the end of the road? And usually, it seems that there is none for it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. But what if the road is just a looping circle, a snake biting its own tail, an unending cycle? Will you still tread on knowing that even if the tasks performed are exactly the same, it gives you only momentary bursts of adrenaline? Are you willing to accept the illusion of complete control while subconsciously submitting to the commands written by someone else?


Story & Narrative

Let me just put it straight, SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is not at all straight forward. There’s so much hidden beneath layers of inherent themes that you won’t even notice the objective of the game. Even I couldn’t as I John Wick’ed my way through hordes of human-shaped geometries only to realize that I had already fallen prey to the MIND CONTROL. The game’s a virus, a resilient parasite that latches to your subconscious to get you addicted so that you’ll keep coming back for more.

Each level starts with subliminal messaging; you’ll keep hearing the words ‘SUPER’ and ‘HOT’ continuously. It gets stuck in your head as the machine-like voice keeps repeating itself unless you press a button; your software of a mind getting diluted by the digital alcohol the game offers. And what do you become? A zombie, a weapon used by SUPERHOT to dispose groups of faceless red dudes inside the game. You think you are playing a game but in essence, the game is playing you. It’s getting what it wants by setting up the illusion that you’re getting what ‘you’ want, and not once you pause to question whether you really want it or not, because at the end of the day you know you just want to have fun. Even the FBI agent monitoring my communications was confused.

Gameplay and Mechanics

Time moves when you move – these are the only words you’ll see on screen before starting the first level. And by ‘moves’ I mean every single movement of your character whether you’re just moving your mouse/gamepad or simply clicking it. That said, this ability to stop time by standing completely still allows you to plan ahead as to how you’ll be taking down the enemies, where the trajectory of a fired bullet will follow, and hence aim as such or avoid it as such.

Things you don’t look twice in your daily life like say, a pen, a pot, or even a coaster can be used as deadly weapons to stagger the enemies making them drop their weapons and allowing you to pluck them midair. This means you’ll have to decide in what order you should be taking them down to get through the levels. For example, you see an enemy with a gun but he’s far away but there’s another one within your range with a katana, you can kill the one closest to you then throw the katana at the one wielding the gun. Combinations and on-the-fly-tactics can make or break your momentum and it’s quite easy to get into it as SUPERHOT is designed for that purpose only.

As you devote yourself to the killing loop, you’ll unlock perks that will help you in your journey. Eventually, as you keep playing you’ll unlock a vast array of deadly perks like the ability to recall a thrown katana slashing back through anyone in its path, or even seize control of enemies or ricochet bullet from enemy to another. As for me, I would opt for aggressive ‘cores’ like charging at enemies so that I can use it to get a gun early on, and then choose healing or health related ‘hacks’. So even if you take damage, you can breeze through the levels if you pause and think tactically.

And this is exactly what the intention of the SUPERHOT Team was, to bind you in this never-ending loop of acquiring new perks to make the killings more satisfying. They are well aware of our fetish for in-game violence, well aware of our thirst for something similar and yet a bit different from what we have already experienced, and therefore blatantly mock this aspect. MIND CONTROL DELETE started toying with me as messages kept appearing on the screen, bright-red contrasted against a black mirror congratulating me that I’ve defeated the game, and yet fully aware that I’ll ignore these messages and keep going. It even told me that “There is no closure. Just more senseless Killing.” and yet, quite subtly, the continue button was disguised as ‘More’ (though you can exit a level by pressing No More) In essence, MIND CONTROL DELETE hacks your mind to do its bidding.

The Level Design

SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is divided into ‘nodes’ and each node has the same set of limited levels, only that the order in which you play through them is random. Might be because the team didn’t have the resources to make hundred of levels (since MCD was initially planned as a DLC to the first game instead of a completely new game), so they instead built levels with interchangeable elements, all of them procedurally generated like your and enemy’s spawn points, items and weapons in your vicinity, number of enemies, weapons wielded by enemies, and even the hacks you get when you reattempt the node.

One thing I noticed that sometimes the game becomes a bit lenient as it warns you of an enemy creeping up behind your back. Because of the randomness, there will be instances when enemies spawn right behind you or you are shot as soon as you spawn. There is a dedicated jump button but I wish there were buttons to crouch and lean left and right so that you might be able to dodge bullets even at close ranges though it will be hard to dodge all the scattered bearings of the shotgun.

Visuals, Sound, and Performance

The graphics are as minimalist as it can get. Everything is immaculately white while the enemies are geometry-clad in highly distinguishable red. While you, Mr. zombie, and the things you interact with are as black and lustrous as metal. Environment detailing is surreal and just enough to make each level stand out in the world engulfed by blinding lights. In fact, some areas reminded me of the Animus tutorial sequences from the first few Assassin’s Creed games

As for performance, not a single issue was observed and I bet MIND CONTROL DELETE can run even on potatoes. But when it comes to the sound department, I’m a bit divisive. On one hand we have the subliminally diluted SUPER…HOT in a loop and on the other hand, the game lacks any OST other than ambient sounds. The only level that had a soundtrack was the disco and I liked how the music faded in and out as I slowed and moved time.


SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is an impressive and innovative take on the fps genre where the game dips the concept of addiction in minimalist surrealism. This metastory takes the limelight via onscreen messages and makes it clear that there is no more to see in the game and we have won, despite knowing well that we can’t stop. All this to get some powers that will help in even more killing, progressing towards an ending that would make even Hideo Kojima cover his head in shame. And then it repeats all over again. All in all, SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is a solid ‘pass-time’ if you only want some ‘fun’.


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