July 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features

Publisher: SUPERHOT Team  Developer: SUPERHOT Team  Genre: FPS/Action/Strategy  

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

SUPERHOT had its issues, although it was also an extraordinary game, which was very memorable for being something completely different. MIND CONTROL DELETE is essentially the third game in the SUPERHOT series, following on from the equally special SUPERHOT VR, and it’s a feature packed twist on the formula. Additionally impressive is the fact that the game is free for those who purchased the original SUPERHOT before July 16th of this year. Based on what you get here, that’s either very generous or completely insane. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

If you are not familiar with SUPERHOT it’s an ingenious FPS/Action/puzzle game that has time only moving at full speed when you do, which means that the stylish action slows to a crawl whenever you are still. This setup allows you to do things such as weave between incoming bullets, make use of melee weapons, including slicing bullets out of the air with a katana, as well as tossing objects and weapons towards your enemies. It’s a gratifying and intense concoction of action and puzzle, and it’s hugely satisfying to get to the end of a stage and then see all the action played out in a full speed replay, having just got through with a much slower and steadier approach. 

Visuals remain simple but also very striking.

MIND CONTROL DELETE is more of the same, which wouldn’t have been a bad thing at all, although developer SUPERHOT Team have also thrown in plenty of surprises to freshen things up, resulting in this third SUPERHOT game being the most varied instalment in the series yet. The claim has been made that the team wanted to deliver more of everything, and that they most certainly have. 

While more story wasn’t necessarily demanded, there’s slightly more of the shallow narrative here, but what most fans wanted more of was more beautiful SUPERHOT action, and SUPERHOT Team have definitely delivered that. This is the biggest SUPERHOT game yet, and there’s a much larger campaign than the two hour campaign that was featured in the original game.  

Levels are procedurally generated in MIND CONTROL DELETE, which does mean that the puzzle element has somewhat been taken out, although the strategic action is still front and center. Stages are laid out in separate nodes, and you have to complete a number of stages without dying before you are able to complete a node, which is easier said than done when you only have two or three lives to do so. 

MIND CONTROL DELETE also takes inspiration from Roguelike games, other than in the way that it uses procedurally generated levels. You’ll also unlock cores, and you can switch between these cores before playing through a cluster of levels. It’s nicely balanced in the way that you can either begin with more health, or you can opt to play with less health but a special skill such as quickly dashing toward an enemy, being able to recall your katana after tossing it, switching to an enemy body, and so on. These core skills have to recharge between each use, but it definitely makes things feel all the more varied, and experimentation is definitely key. Other than the cores, you’ll also unlock hacks, and you are then able to choose between two of these unlocked hacks between specific stages. These so-called hacks can result in everything from items exploding when thrown at enemies, quicker reloads between shots, healing yourself as well as increasing the number of lives you have remaining, your bullets ricocheting off walls, beginning each level with a random gun, and so on. It’s an interesting twist, and it does go some way to offering a more varied experience, and mixing up both cores and hacks makes for some exciting gameplay. Some cores even have their own unique hacks. 

The red guys are the glass-like enemies that you face in the game, and this time around there’s some brand new ones for you to deal with. Some are seemingly made from grey stone, with the red areas being their weak points, while others explode when killed, which means that caution is advised whenever they are defeated, and there’s even one type that cannot be killed, meaning you can only avoid it. Again, it adds to the variation and also gives you something else to think about in the midst of the action, which is all very pleasing. 

The game also features unlockable Endless and Infinite modes.

The structure of the game does mean that things can feel a tad repetitive from time to time, as you’ll be seeing similarly themed levels again and again, at least until you unlock new ones, but the stylish action is never anything less than intoxicating. The new structure also may not go down well with those who like a pure and more simple SUPERHOT experience, although it definitely freshens things up and it also manages to stand up on its own feet. This is a different type of SUPERHOT game, but it is still very much SUPERHOT.

SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE may have started out as DLC for the very first game, although it has turned into so much more over the four years of its development. While deepening its gameplay systems and throwing in random elements is both a good and bad thing, there really is a lot to like here in this fully featured and highly recommended third instalment in the SUPERHOT series. If you are eligible for a free copy, download it now, if you have to purchase it, then it’s definitely worth the price of admission as well.