SuperHot: Mind, Control, Delete (2020)

Let’s get this out of the way first, Mind, Control, Delete is basically SuperHot 2, it is more SuperHot with a bit of a twist on it. Team SuperHot announced and threw Mind Control Delete into Early Access back in 2017 and I did what I normally do with more Early Access games, I bought it and forgot about it and waited until it released.

Waiting was the right step for me, as I now can experience the full game and go in blind and keep an accurate time of how long it takes to complete.

The story is simple, after the events of the first game, you, the hacker are wondering if there is more SuperHot. The game tells you no, there is no more, you beat the game and that’s all there was, but as you dig deeper, there is definitely more to it. And this is where the game changes up from the original or the VR game.

Mind Control Delete is now Run Based, technically. It’s got branching paths, and as you play through a set of levels, all with random spawning enemies, you start to unlock hacks/perks for that particular collection of levels. Each unlockable perk gets placed in a pool of perks, and you’ll be given a choice later on in the levels of which one to choose. Once you complete a few runs, you start unlocking starting perks that will give you the upper hand in combat. Some of the starting perks are things like more lives, or being able to swap into an enemies body. You keep this perk throughout the run of levels. As you complete a couple levels you are given a choice of two of the pool of perks, which mainly pertain to the starting perk.

Time moves slowly if you don’t move… this is one of the things that everyone gets wrong, even the game. It tells you “Time stops when you stop” which isn’t true at all. If you start a level and don’t move you will die, because the enemies move, just very slowly, but each movement, even minor adjustments will let the enemies come after you just as fast as you move.

This being a run based game, the challenge is that the enemies and levels are always a bit different. The levels themselves aren’t procedurally generated or anything like that, they have the same layout, it’s the enemy types and placements and spawn points. Each level is fairly large and you have to kill a certain amount of enemies. There are more enemies in the level than you need to kill, and that is the hard part of this game. You constantly have to be aware of your surroundings and moving constantly, because there are spawn points everywhere, and you don’t know who or what type of enemy you’ll have right around the corner.

I was initially bummed that the game felt so easy, but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk, SuperHot came out in 2015, and I beat it in two hours. Then SuperHot VR came out in 2016 and that was a fairly short game too. And that’s all the SuperHot I’ve ever played, launch day. I don’t go and replay games multiple times after I beat them, nor do I sit and replay levels over and over again just to get better times. I move on. Mind, Control, Delete banks on the fact that you probably have played dozens of hours of SuperHot and have gotten really good at it and want more of a challenge, one that never ends and is always changing.

So for me, it feels like a bit of a letdown as that’s the main hook of this game, to give a never ending challenge of small changes to enemy layouts to give people a game to play endlessly.

That’s not me. I won’t play it forever, heck, I’ll probably never play it again. Not because it’s bad, but because I beat it and move on to the next game. I really enjoyed it for what it was, SuperHot is a really interesting premise for a game. It’s mechanics are tight and solid, you can pick it up and learn the game in an instant, but becoming good at it takes time. With this game, it adds in more unique surprises and ways to conquer the game, but to get that, it had to trade in some of what made the original and VR games awesome. The extremely well crafted level design and placement of enemies to give you a perfected experience. Sometimes you get dealt a bad hand in Mind, Control, Delete, where the game simply spawns too many difficult enemies in a small area where you can’t get away. And to top it off, it’s a very difficult game as well.

If this is the last game in the series, which I hope it is for now, it’s a great send off. I’d like to see how the team can learn from these three SuperHot titles and move on to something new. Maybe someday down the line we’ll get a new SuperHot in 10 years that can improve on the formula, but for now, this is a great way to end the series.