It has been some time since we had a good puzzle game out there to play now it is time for Superliminal to take a shot at giving us all something we have been longing for. For those that may not have been following along, this would be the latest game from Pillow Castle Games that aims to use forced perspective to drive the puzzles and paths in the game. Something that sounds like it would be rough to simulate in video game form, but Superliminal is up to the task. I had a chance to play through the game and here is my review of how well it all worked and what did not.
As you fall asleep with the TV on at 3 AM, you remember catching a glimpse of the commercial from Dr. Pierce’s Somnasculpt dream therapy program. By the time you open your eyes, you’re already dreaming - beginning the first stages of this experimental program. Welcome to Superliminal. Now we have to use our own brains to figure out how to escape the dreams we are now trapped in…
Starting things off, I will have to point my fingers at some of the controls in Superliminal as being a big hold up. Not that the normal first-person style of controls were not done well or as one would assume, but in terms of trying to manipulate items in the world. Some of the puzzles in the game require you to enlarge or shift sizes of items by holding them into the new perspective and then releasing them. The only issue here is that sometime the items would completely resize without warning just by clicking on them to move things about. This trapped me in a few places in Superliminal and made parts overly frustrating to even press on with.
This is then compounded by some of the physics engine items in the game that did not flow as they really should have. Even while in the dreamscape of Superliminal, some things need to function consistently if you want the players to progress and have a good time. If there is a deviation, make sure it is known in the game world so the player can use or plan around it. That was not the case in a few instances where pushing an object up a hill was the only solution presented. I was still able to progress, but I ended up stuck in places of Superliminal for way longer than I should have. At least to keep the flow of it all going well.
One thing I was looking forward to in Superliminal had to be the puzzle-solving and style that felt close to that of one of my other favorite games. I will not namedrop it here, but I am sure you can guess it. Thankfully, Pillow Castle Games nailed that extremely well in the game. The puzzles were tricky enough to make me scratch my head a few times, but never too difficult to make me want to throw my keyboard aside. At least in design. Superliminal brought me back to some great memories and experiences with trying to understand what the developers were going for and the sense of accomplishment when I figured it out. Something that brought a smile to my face many times during my run.
Building off that, there were also some great level and visual layouts in Superliminal that perfectly lent themselves to the overall experience. Sometimes I had to line up the camera just perfectly to see where to go to do it again to solve the puzzle. That or just explore the world to find hidden solutions. Sometimes with more puzzle pieces out there than needed to try to throw me off the trail. Again, something felt amazing when caught in Superliminal, but never to the point where I felt like I needed a walkthrough of sorts. It is something that feels missing in more of today's games.
Superliminal is not a perfect game but it is one that should be experienced. The controls need to be worked with a bit more or better explained in the game from the start. Getting past that, there are some great level designs and puzzles to experience in the game that always seemed to feel amazing to figure out. Especially when the way you look at everything in Superliminal can easily shift and alter the game's world. I would say to give it a go but know what you are getting into before you do. If not, you may be buying a new keyboard or mouse along the way.
I give Superliminal 7 Fire Alarm Switches on the Fire Alarm Switch scale.
Superliminal — Trailer