Superliminal Review (PC)

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Superliminal Launch Trailer

Developer: Pillow Castle Games
Publisher: Pillow Castle Games

Review

Review Context: I really enjoy playing puzzle games, especially puzzle games that bring a new perspective or spin to the genre. Portal and Portal 2 are two of my favorite puzzle games that I immediately compare this game to based on the trailer.
Date of Playthrough: November 2019

PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU 540 @ 3.07GHz
RAM: 8 GB
Video Card: GeForce GTX 950 2GB GDDR5 ACX 2.0 SC+
Resolution: 1280×720

Disclosure: This review is based off of a review copy.

Superliminal, developed by Pillow Castle Games, is a first-person puzzle game with puzzles centered around perspective. What first drew me in to wanting to wanting to play this was the trailer showing a tiny house in a room being resized followed by walking into that bigger house that was just resized. I didn’t know exactly what to expect as far as how the level-to-level progression was set up, but I knew immediately this was a new kind of puzzle game that any fan of puzzles needed to at least try.

The premise of Superliminal is that you’ve fallen asleep in front of your TV late at night and suddenly find yourself part of Dr. Glenn Pierce’s SomnaSculpt dream therapy program. In order to wake up you need to complete the dream therapy program. I’ve never played a puzzle video game where the puzzles were based on first-person perspective, so during my playhrough of Superliminal I had to always keep reminding myself that the puzzle solution always had to do with perspective.

The gameplay loop of Superliminal has you walking through different rooms in a first-person perspective starting from your bedroom with an alarm clock, only to be brought back there and go through some of the same rooms again, except the puzzles are a bit different. There are clear inspirations and similarities to games like The Stanley Parable (gameplay loop) and Portal, as the game also has a GlaDos-eque type of narrator aside from moving room to room to solve puzzles. Dr. Pierce also gives commentary during the game, sounding similar to the narrator in The Stanley Parable. There are also other small tidbits within the game that will reinforce the inspiration.

As for the puzzles themselves, difficulty is always going to be very subjective, but the design of most of the puzzles were interesting and creative. Although there some puzzles that I really struggled with and was left with the feeling the puzzles weren’t setup to understand the rules, it was few and far between. The bread and butter of most of the puzzles in the game is changing the size of objects in first-person by using your mouse to make objects larger or smaller. Most of the objects were things like toy blocks, chess pieces, or even cheese. If there is any criticism I have overall, it’s the constant use of blocks to platform up or down an area, which seems a bit redundant and annoying by the end of the game.

The puzzle experience itself was actually very smooth and enjoyable due to the sometimes funny commentary by Dr. Pierce, in addition to the nice and melodic piano music playing in the background. Although I felt the latter third of the game got a bit crazy and maybe lessened my enjoyment a little with the puzzle design. I was always constantly impressed by the technical achievement of how the levels were designed and rarely got frame rate drops going in and out resized rooms or when resizing objects. The combination of special effects, visuals, and lighting make so many things in the game standout so it isn’t just another stale puzzle game.

The game length of Superliminal is going to depend on the player, but it took me at least several hours to complete. Just for game length perspective, the fastest the game can finish is under an hour if you have zero difficulty. The game generally has a linear path, although there are some side areas you can mingle in and explore if you desire. My favorite puzzles in the game were handling chess pieces to solve puzzles and there are some really cool house resize puzzles you can enter that always kept my interest.

Superliminal

I view Superliminal as a huge technical achievement in puzzle design, as this is the first puzzle game designed around first-person perspective that I’ve ever encountered. There is an ending sequence in the game that I found very well narrated and warmed my feeling of the game to really put an exclamation point on what was just experienced. Pillow Castle Games should seriously consider a sequel and build off of a puzzle genre that can only expand from here. If you’re a puzzle gamer then you should definitely play Superliminal.

 

Similar Games Liked:
Portal (PC)
Portal 2 (PC)

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