A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Superhot: Mind Control Delete is an action game available for download on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows Pcs. The game's a standalone expansion to Superhot, a first-person shooter with puzzle elements and lots of stylized violence, but no blood or gore. The protagonist is engaged in a virtual reality video game that involves attacking humanoid enemies in slow motion using a wide array of weapons, from shotguns and rifles to swords, darts, and books. Foes are made of fragile red glass and shatter into hundreds of pieces when defeated. The game's squarely focused on action, but thoughtful players will be able to infer subtle warnings about the dangers of hacking and blindly trusting what you encounter online. Parents should also be aware that this is a challenging game that frequently forces players to replay multiple levels, and that it could prove frustrating for those with little patience.
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What's it about?
SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is designed to give fans of the original Superhot plenty more of what they want. A standalone expansion to the base game (it's free to download if you already own Superhot), it begins with little explanation or backstory, opting instead to simply inform players that that they are about to get more -- a whole lot more -- of the highly stylized first-person shooting and puzzling found in the original. The story's very self-referential. Players are placed in the role of a video game player trapped inside a secret pirated virtual reality game with an innovative shtick: Time only moves when they do. If you don't touch the controller, the world remains frozen, allowing you to analyze incoming attacks and formulate strategies to avoid them and counterattack. This allows for some very cinematic sequences that allow players to do things like dodge bullets and grab defeated foes' weapons before they can fall to the floor. It plays like both a puzzle game and a shooter, rewarding both careful forethought and keen timing. As the game progresses players can earn a wide variety of special "hacks" which function as cheats, letting them start levels with a weapon or release a burst of throwing stars if struck by an enemy. Unlike the original game, players aren't killed by a single hit, but instead have a small supply of hearts that deplete one by one when struck. If you run out of hearts, you have to begin the current "node" (set of stages) over again from scratch.
Is it any good?
This beefy expansion is perhaps best described as more of the same, but different -- if that makes sense. Anyone familiar with the original will be instantly at home with Superhot: Mind Control Delete. Its innovative puzzle-meets-shooter play mechanics remain fully intact, and once again make for some spectacular action sequences you simply won't find in other games -- like, say, throwing a slot machine handle at someone's head, grabbing the katana they were holding in mid-air as it falls to the ground, and then dodging a hail of bullets from another nearby enemy before slicing them in half. It may take minutes to plan out and execute in game time, but it takes only seconds for it to play out in real-time replays. Players who enjoyed these mechanics in the original get a heaping second serving here. There's really nothing else like it.
But while much is the same, there are some noticeable changes, and they're bound to leave players split. The addition of a heart supply -- meaning you're no longer killed by a single bullet -- is an inarguable improvement. It's allowed the developers to create more complex and challenging scenarios with a tiny bit of wiggle room for the player to make the occasional small mistake. And the hacks you can use to cheat the system make players feel more super-powered as they plow through waves of enemies. But if you run out of hearts (and you will, frequently), you'll be forced to start nodes all over again, which can be very disheartening -- especially if you fail multiple times in a row. Enemies and weapons are procedurally generated this time out, which helps keep you on your toes when restarting a node, but it doesn't completely cancel out the frustration. Superhot: Mind Control Delete is smart, innovative, and often dazzling to watch, but it seems designed to cater to Superhot's most ardent, hard-core fans rather than bring in a new batch of players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Levels in Superhot: Mind Control Delete are very short, but get stacked together into "nodes" that can take a long time to complete, so are you satisfied if you can't complete a node in a single play session?
If you use a software hack to cheat, are you making the game more fun or cheating yourself out of the satisfaction of earning victory?
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