Superliminal (Xbox One) Review
Unexpected, creative perspective based environmental puzzles are a complete trip
Short and sweet gameplay quits before it gets old – the right balance
Some puzzles wind up using the same solutions and tricks
Superliminal is a trippy first person puzzle game that forces the player to unlearn what video games have been teaching players since the beginning of time. As most puzzles are based around perspective, solving these environmental puzzles will require some trial and error but provide constant “ah-ha” and “whoa” moments.
It is difficult to explain what Superliminal is and what it does without spoiling it. A game this bizarre should really be played for yourself with little to no background information to get the most out of it. The 2-3 hour campaign gives off Portal vibes but instead of messing with teleporters, the gameplay here is all about how perspective is not what you think. For example, the player has the ability to grab almost any object from any distance, something that took me a while to wrap my head around, then drop it by placing it what seems further in the distance. However, when you walk up to this object, it becomes bigger as you get closer, allowing you to reach that door. As another example, there was a huge Chess piece in my way but when I came within close proximity, it was just a smear on the floor made to look like one big interactive object like those crazy sidewalk chalk drawings. Each puzzling moment is always satisfying and uniquely odd.
These bizarre perspective tricks are the name of the game but luckily there is enough variety in the puzzles for the campaign to not outstay its welcome even though there is some slight repetition. By the end, it feels like there was an opportunity to explore these cool tricks even deeper but what is here is something special. The best part is figuring out one extraordinary puzzle, walking into a new room and thinking “oh man, what is going to come next,” Again, it is difficult to explain and something players should experience for themselves.
The glue that holds the gameplay together is an equally peculiar narrative. You play as a doctor exploring the field of sleep therapy. Set within your medically induced coma, the entire quest feels like, well, a fever dream. While there are no nightmarish creatures or things chasing you in the dark, rarely do things makes sense as your gameplay subconscious is explored.
Superliminal is not your typical environmental puzzle game and something you have not played before. There are tons of clever and unexpected ideas here and the fact that it totally messes with gameplay troupes we all have taken for granted, this winds up being a fresh experience absolutely worthy of your time.
Also available on PS4 and Switch.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com