You gotta respect a game that tells you exactly what it is upfront. Within minutes of starting Superhot: Mind Control Delete, you’re told, in those now infamous subliminal text cards that pop up from time to time in the previous games, that yes, this game will give you more. No story. No closure. No long-winded explanation of what happened in the last two games. Just more senseless shooting, and then it’ll be over. And to Superhot Team’s credit, they deliver on their promises. This is, definitely, a lot more Superhot. But it’s also a few other things that aren’t nearly as welcome.
Mind Control Delete is still fundamentally following the same mantra as the other two games: Time Moves When You Do. It’s still a first-person shooter that places you in sparse, stark white, and self-contained little killzones, against a small group of keen-to-kill goons made out of, seemingly, fragile red glass. Your job is to John Wick your way out of whatever wild scenario you’ve been placed in, using objects in your environment to your advantage. There are guns, but with very limited ammo. So, when you don’t have a gun, grab a sword. If you don’t have a sword, grab a knife. If you don’t have a knife, grab a book, a pen, or a teacup. Even with a relatively limited moveset, the time mechanics at play turn what would be a breathless massacre at full speed into a sort of kinetic chess game, allowing you the ability to plot every maneuver down to the millisecond. While gunplay is certainly your bread and butter in Superhot, there’s a maniacal glee that comes with taking out a guy wielding a katana by throwing a typewriter at him in Superhot that makes it truly special. That winning formula is still very much in full effect here in Mind Control Delete, but a few new ingredients have been added to the concoction: rogue-lite elements. And while the formula hasn’t been ruined in the least, the effectiveness has been lessened a tiny bit.
For starters, the game’s levels, which were once all unique, impeccably staged setpieces, are now relegated to around a dozen or so themed rooms–such as lab, disco, prison, or casino–with enemy/item placement and your own start point randomized each time. There’s more variety to be had than one might think in that randomization. The environments are elaborate and full of tiny, devilish design elements for you to mount for a better vantage, mail slot-sized holes to shoot through, or daredevil jumps to make out of windows to stomp an enemy from above. Even despite the minimalist aesthetic, these are still impeccably designed, functional places that still evoke the tense feeling of getting into a shootout in a place clearly meant for public use. The environments follow real world placements for everyday objects, which means using them to your advantage–using an open car door to evade a bullet, grabbing the handle off a slot machine to use as a weapon, or getting behind a DJ booth to take cover behind a speaker. Suspension of disbelief in the sparseness of it all tends to vanish in the moment. There are vast, glorious opportunities for you to surprise your enemies, or vice versa, and it takes hours to get to a point where things start to wear thin.