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IT'S. ABOUT. TIME.

TIME. MOVES. ONLY. WHEN. YOU. MOVE.
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SUPERHOT is a series of First-Person Shooter / Puzzle Game hybrids. The core concept of the series is that time only moves when you move — specifically, when you press buttons on the controller. If you’re standing still, time nearly stops, slowing bullets to a crawl and stopping enemies in their tracks. If you move, bullets will zip right at you and enemies will start shooting again. Once you've used up a gun’s mag, you have no choice but to throw it at your enemies and grab one of their weapons, unless you'd rather take them down up close and personal. It's friggin' cool.

Games in the series are:

  • SUPERHOT PROTOTYPE: This version was originally created by SUPERHOT Team as part of the 2013 7 Day FPS Challenge. The demo released as a browser-based game in September 2013, and can still be played for free here.
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  • SUPERHOT: The full release, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, improving the visuals and mechanics while adding more weapons, modes, and the glorious Rule of Cool stuff people wanted from an expanded release. The expanded version was released on February 25, 2016 for PC, with many news outlets proclaiming "It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years."
  • SUPERHOT VR: SUPERHOT... in VR. Released on Dec. 6, 2016 for headsets including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. This version changes some of the rules (all throwables become lethal) and integrates body and head tracking, as well as telling a unique story that's separate from SUPERHOT.
  • SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE: Released to Steam Early Access in December 2017, and fully released on July 16th 2020, with free copies given to every player who had previously purchased the original SUPERHOT on Steam. Unlike the previous games, MIND CONTROL DELETE takes a Roguelike approach to the series formula, and is a Sequel set after the previous two games that explores what happens to the players who've joined the System.
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ADD. THESE. TROPES:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Even in real time, bullets travel much more slowly than they should. Just as well, since bullets traveling at their actual speed would make dodging pointless and the game less cool.
  • Anticlimax: The prototype ending is killing a CEO with no effort other than a single click.
  • Anti-Frustration Features
    • In MIND CONTROL DELETE, because unarmed and melee enemies are silent, if they sneak up behind the player and land a hit, it doesn't take away a heart, and the System warns you to "WATCH. YOUR. BACK."
    • You can look around without it counting as movement. If time also passed because you were just looking around, the game would be a lot harder (likely beyond reason) and would probably functionally negate the idea of time passing only if you move (since you'd be causing time to pass just by trying to turn your attention towards someone firing at you).
  • Arc Words:
    • The title, at the end of every level in both versions, and a sign of you, the player, integrating their mind into the data of the titular program.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the sense that it takes place in-game and in real life, when the game asks you to spread the word of the game upon completion of the story. That phrase? "It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years."
    • Three phrases that tend to appear close together in the later portions of the game and in secret areas:
    • In MIND CONTROL DELETE, there's "MORE", as well as "Anxiety", "Anger", "Addiction", and "Avarice", the Fatal Flaws of each of the minds within the System.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: The Ninja mind, prior to Superhot.exe uploading him, constantly talks about how no one else at the Dojo was as skilled or talented as he was. It's part of what drives him to Superhot.exe.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Every part of the scenery is white, shiny, and smooth. In fact, it appears to have the texture of Styrofoam or concrete. One of the secret terminals actually allows the player to ask the system why everything looks like concrete, and the response is "Textures are distracting. We'd rather you focus on our goals."
  • Assimilation Backfire: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, the System is unable to stop Avar1ce's desire for MORE. Even when it tricks Avar1ce into giving up everything, they find a way to keep searching for MORE. Eventually the System gives up and lets Avar1ce back into the game, believing they'll have to give up eventually.
  • Assimilation Plot: The apparent goal of Superhot.exe is to integrate everyone into it.
    Group: One of us. One of us.
    Individual: One of us.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: MIND CONTROL DELETE introduces enemies which are entirely white save one part of them (a limb, torso, or head). The white parts are immune to damage, aren't stunned by thrown objects, and normally lethal attacks will only stun them. However, hacks that upgrade one of your damage aspects (piercing for bullets, damage for punching and throwing) bypass this invulnerability.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Using the katana to deflect bullets back at the shooter in MIND CONTROL DELETE. It's just as cool as it sounds, but the bullets are reflected back at the shooter's current position and don't take movement into account. If the shooter is doing anything other than standing still or running at you, it's almost guaranteed to miss. The only time it's worth doing consistently is with the defall.hack upgrade note  or with projectiles fired from the Railgun.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • In the end, the System successfully brainwashes and assimilates the player, and uses them to spread itself to their friends.
    • In the VR game, despite being apparently destroyed, the System is clearly still active.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The player is shown several flashes of themself at a computer, lending credence to the idea that whoever is behind Superhot.exe is constantly watching your real-world body.
  • Black Site: What appears to be a secret government research facility shows up in the last two levels of the game.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • Katanas usually stick in the floor or walls when thrown or dropped, to allow easy retrieval.
    • All edged throwing weapons in MIND CONTROL DELETE land pointy-end in, from throwing knives to screwdrivers.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The game resorts to Literally Shattered Lives instead.
    • Notably doesn't apply to the prototype.
  • Boom, Headshot!: MIND CONTROL DELETE adds some side benefits to targeting the head. A hack causes bullets to ricochet to the nearest enemy on a headshot, and any pointy thrown object (from pens to discarded railgun rounds) is instantly fatal if you score a headshot.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Throwing objects at people isn't lethal, but it distracts them for a crucial few seconds while you grab new equipment (even theirs) or beat them to death, and has the added bonus of being able to block stray bullets better than other bullets.
    • Subverted in the Throwing Challenge: Your guns can't fire, but anything that makes contact with an enemy (if it hasn't been shattered first) kills on impact. That entire bar? 64 lethal throwing knives. Have fun.
    • The VR version makes any thrown object lethal by default - ordinary objects, guns, you name it!
    • MIND CONTROL DELETE adds a slew of semi-lethal to very lethal thrown objects. Anything pointy that isn't lethal will stick in the enemy and can be grabbed out of them to be thrown again. Headshots with anything pointy will always be lethal, unless the enemy is invulnerable for one reason or another.
  • Bottomless Magazines: For the enemies, anyway. You'll still run out after a few shots, but this is mitigated by the enemies having a slower rate of fire.
  • Body Surf:
    • An ability called "Hotswitch" that you gain near the end of the game, with the added benefit of killing your former host whenever you switch. As a drawback, however, you automatically discard your victim's weapon.
    • In MIND CONTROL DELETE you are able to use this ability as a CORE. Hacks can upgrade the skill so it doesn't discard the enemy's weapon and allow multiple uses in a row. In addition, the Addict can pull this on you, being heavily implied to be the protagonist of the original game. He has the advantage of getting to keep your weapon when he does it.
  • Brain Uploading: "The mind is software" is not a recurring phrase for no reason. The full version has the player do this near the end of the story, and the System's final demand is that they kill their own body, as "Bodies are disposable." The ending implies the System has been drawing other people to upload themselves for its own unknown purposes; MIND CONTROL DELETE explores who some of the other characters were.
  • Broken Record: Finishing a level results in a real-time replay of your efforts while the words "Super. Hot." are repeated endlessly.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: MIND CONTROL DELETE has two kinds:
    • One node has a whopping 100 levels to defeat. It's a Bragging Rights Reward if you can pull it off.
    • Once you've completed all the standard levels, several error nodes are unlocked. Each one has a unique gimmick, such as all spiked enemies or every enemy using a shotgun, forcing you to adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Bullet Catch:
    • Used to be possible during the beta. It was taken out for the full release, but put back in for VR.
    • The suppunch.hack in MIND CONTROL DELETE lets you punch back bullets.
  • Bullet Dancing: Invoked in a level where you are stuck in a cell with enemies shooting at you from above, thus forcing you to run around like an idiot. A similar level in the VR version starts you out next to a stripper pole and instructs you to "Dance, Dance Dance!"
  • Bullet Dodges You: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, the lightreflx.hack is a downplayed version; bullets near the player slow to a crawl, even compared to their usual leisurely pace, making avoiding them trivial unless the player is unaware of them or bumps into them by mistake.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Bullets can't penetrate mooks, which means you can't shoot through them and they can't shoot through their buddies to hit you. The melee enemies can be used to block the gunners in this fashion.
  • Bullet Time: Constantly when you don't move too much. Upgraded to Time Stands Still in the VR version.
  • But Thou Must!: Dialogue in the game is done in the IRC chat window, where the player hammers on random keys to type out a scripted response. Played for tension when whoever created Superhot.exe starts changing your responses. Even your player character claims they aren't typing their own responses near the end game (and demonstrates when the keystrokes match your actual input, which is mostly likely gibberish, than the pregenerated words keystrokes form in guruchat), which is a joke about how hammering your keyboard randomly would form complete responses, and that you are in control of a fictional character and showing SUPERHOT.EXE slowly taking control of your player character.
  • Character Class System: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, the COREs serve as this. Each has a unique ability and two hacks related to it.
    • MORE.CORE: More health, 3 instead of 2, and upgrades that bring it to 4 and even 5.
    • CHARGE.CORE: Gets a charge attack that effectively teleports to a target and strikes them with a melee attack, as well as a slightly stronger punch (two hits to kill instead of three). Upgrades make it recharge faster with kills and allows the player to chain them.
    • RECALL.CORE: Start with a katana, and the ability to recall it after throwing it, slicing apart enemies between you and it. Upgrades allow thrown katanas to pierce enemies and make the recalled katana bounce between enemies.
    • HOTSWITCH.CORE: The Hotswitch from the first game, allowing you to jump between bodies. Upgrades allow you to keep the weapon instead of automatically throwing it, and to chain hotswitches together.
    • PURE.CORE: One health point. No hacks.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A bizarrely literal version. Superhot VR, the levels are broken up into segments that take place within a small portion of the level (so the player doesn't accidentally run into a wall in the real world or have to use nausea-inducing touchpad controls); however, objects at the end of one segment don't necessarily despawn before the beginning of the next one. If you've played through a level enough times to know where all the segments are, you can Fling a Gun into the Future—demonstrated thusly.
  • Clean Cut: Katanas cut enemies cleanly through the waist or the neck.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: In the museum level, panes of glass will absorb the first shot then break. This works both ways for you and your enemies.
  • Competitive Balance: Each of the firearms, in a way.
    • The pistol gets three shots and is the easiest to toss at enemies, but you have to aim carefully.
    • The shotgun can potentially hit multiple targets with its buckshot, but it only gets two shots and is clumsy to throw.
    • The assault rifle gets three burst shots in groups of four, but each shot in the group counts as movement, so enemies have a chance to get a shot off themselves.
    • MIND CONTROL DELETE adds a Railgun, which fires much faster than any other gun (it's as close to hitscan for the player as the game allows), but has the longest reload time of them all, as well as a larger hitbox for the projectiles to get caught on geometry. Enemies also can use it against you, requiring you to take cover or prioritize them.
  • Cool Shades: The enemies in the prototype sport these. The museum sports a giant-sized pair. An easter egg restores the shades in the full game.
  • Cryptic Conversation: The primary method by which world-building exposition is delivered to the player upon discovering one of the secret terminals hidden around the stages.
  • Cyberpunk: Initially played straight but ends up being toyed with later on. Sterile, hyperstylized environments, technology run amok (and implied to have come from a runaway corporate and/or government experiment), transhumanism coming at the cost of individuality and humanity, and an evil AI? Check. But the technology depicted in the story is somewhere around the late 80s early 90s, and the sterile environments are filtered by the System to avoid distracting the player.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In your typical FPS, the average player will run and gun with little thought put into where they are running and what they might be running into. Such thoughtless behavior will swiftly get you killed in this game.
  • Death Is the Only Option:
    • One level in the full version progresses up to this after a lengthy period of bullet-dodging.
    • The game concludes with the player killing their own physical body.
  • Determinator: Deconstructed in the original, reconstructed in MIND CONTROL DELETE:
    • In the original, the System keeps trying to shut the player character out, intimidate them into leaving, and even at one point physically assaults them. The player refuses to back down, passing the System's Secret Test of Character. Unfortunately, that just makes them a prime target for the System's Assimilation Plot. In MIND CONTROL DELETE, they return as the Addict, and it's clear the mindset driving them was an unhealthy one.
    • Avar1ce in MIND CONTROL DELETE starts the game already assimilated, but the sheer force of their greed, their desire for more, is more than the System can keep up with. The System makes an effort to show them the error of their ways, driving them to give up everything they've earned if they want to see how it all ends. This backfires; Avar1ce still finds a way to recover what was deleted. The System gives up and lets them have it.
  • Dodge the Bullet: The Bullet Time mechanic allows you to do this a lot. Doubly so in the corridor levels of the prototype and the retail version, which see you sprinting down a stretch of hallway dodging bullets as you go. Rule of Cool, indeed.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Literally. The Dog Mind of MIND CONTROL DELETE is heavily implied to have been a System test subject and was constantly abused and tortured during the experiments run on it by the System's handlers. superhot.exe empowers it to rip through its handlers and escape.
  • Double Meaning: The Tag Line of the game, "It's about time", refers to the 5 year development cycle of the game, as well as the game's prominent Bullet Time mechanic.
  • Easter Egg: There's at least one on almost every stage, integrated into the story as secret terminals that allow the player character to ask one question upon discovery. They are often found on the surreal, poorly-modeled outer borders of the stage, overlooking the abyss.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: One level starts with this, where you take down three enemies before stepping out to complete the level. In the full version, two Mooks with shotguns are waiting outside to ventilate you when the elevator arrives.
  • Endless Game: The full retail release of SUPERHOT includes Endless gameplay modes, introduced after you complete the story campaign. There are currently eight arenas, each with a selection of unlockable objectives and modifiers. Scoring is determined by the player's body count.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Every bullet leaves a long trail behind it. It makes it easier to spot.
  • Evil Counterpart: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, breaking QUARANTINE spawns an unkillable enemy who stalks you through the levels, people who were sources of each CORE:
    • The Dog, an attack canine with an unstoppable charge attack that bypasses your slow-mo.
    • The Ninja, a katana-wielding Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who can hurl his katana at you and deflect your bullets,
    • The Addict, who can body-surf as you could in the original game.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The System makes a clear point that superhot.exe is not a game, it is a tool. It proves this point by forcing you to punch your real body in the head, and to back out if you are not serious.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The commander's voice in the prototype is electronically modified. In the full version, the only voiced line is from superhot.exe itself ("SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT."), but superhot.exe itself is sentient and evil and the line is said in a deep, modulated voice.
  • Excuse Plot: Explored and discussed in MIND CONTROL DELETE. The System says at the beginning that there is no grand underlying plot, no answers revealed, no way to break out, just MORE. As the player progresses they find out there's really nothing to be discovered, beyond exploring what led other minds to the System, and the System's struggles to contain Avar1ce's desire for MORE.
  • Extended Gameplay: After beating the main story you unlock both the Endless modes and Challenge modes. Endless mode challenges you to kill as many enemies as you can in one life (among other things), while the Challenge modes are essentially replays of the game under differing conditions.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Death node in MIND CONTROL DELETE, instead of activating hacks, makes you choose what aspect of your control you give up (melee, shooting, throwing, jumping, looking, and moving). You can do up to four of those things and possibly survive, but once you've given up looking and moving, you're dead. Each level has the option to immediately give up and skip to the next, per the theme of relinquishing control.
  • Fatal Flaw: Each of the minds in MIND CONTROL DELETE has one that led them to the System. The Dog's is anxiety, the Ninja's is anger, the Addict's is their namesake. The player's is Avarice, the endless desire for MORE.
  • Feelies: An unusual digital-only example. The game's menu interface is a DOS-inspired OS, and the entire file structure works, allowing you to dig around in your (character's) computer. Culminates in a rather creepy video labeled "rsm.avi" promoting another of the developers' games.
  • Follow the Plotted Line: The final boss fight in the prototype. After you kill the boss, a window will break and the Commander will order you to jump through it. There's no other way to progress, but you do get a couple of demanding messages if you try to walk away.
  • Forbidden Fruit: How the recruitment process works.
  • Forced Meme: In-Universe, the game actively encourages players to tell friends how the game is the most innovative shooter they've played in years in order to conform into the game's Assimilation Plot.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • You always throw away your weapon at the end of every level, no matter what. You do the same thing when releasing control of a body during hotlinking.
    • One detail that's hard to spot is that, halfway through the game, the city skyline contains a pyramid-shaped building and you keep getting closer to it with each level. You'd have to go "out of bounds" to get the secret terminals before you really start noticing this.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The mysterious folks behind superhot.exe will take more control from you as the game progresses. Midway through the game, you have to punch yourself in the head, superhot.exe is locked out, and you can't continue unless you quit the game. At the end, you shoot yourself in the head.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Assault Rifle: fires 3 bullets in sequence and has a low recoil time, allowing you to kill enemies faster and more reliably. However, it's forced to fire on burst mode, meaning you're forced into real time and have less time to think about your dodging.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When the system asks you if you need more details, if you answer "yes", a lengthy EULA scrolls across the screen quickly, giving you no time to read at all. The full text can be found here. At the end of the EULA is a section named "Truth", explaining the backstory behind the game. However, there are actually multiple versions of this section, ranging from Superhot being a conspiracy by The Illuminati to an AI that will kill all of mankind if it's destroyed. All of which are Blatant Lies designed solely to keep you playing.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: MIND CONTROL DELETE has an error with the spiked enemies that causes you to automatically take damage upon destroying them, even if you're nowhere near the bullets they release. It appears to be more common if the spiked enemy is at a lower elevation than you are, and throwing objects seems more likely to trigger it than bullets.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The Retraux aesthetic is tweaked slightly in MIND CONTROL DELETE to reflect story details. There are no longer ambient sounds from the computers or anything other than superhot.exe and The System's messages, because Avar1ce has already killed their body and is a part of the System.
  • Game Within a Game: Tree Dude is a simplistic score-based ASCII game found on the player's computer. Briefly discussed within the in-universe IRC channel #HACKING that the player can listen in on.
  • Goomba Stomp:
    • You can land on top of enemies to kill them. The achievement for doing so is even called "It's a me, Mario!".
    • MIND CONTROL DELETE adds dthstmp.hack, which lowers the requirement to merely jumping into enemies. It's awkward to pull off and not the best upgrade to go for.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Bottles can be found at various points in the game. You can either toss them to stun enemies or bash them over the head in close quarters.
  • Gun Kata: Essentially, this is what the gun play revolves around, with the player having to judge the trajectory of incoming fire and strategically move out of the way while firing back. The VR version takes this even more literally with speedrunners positioning their bodies to aim at the enemies' spawn before they even appear and killing them with bullets as soon as they appear.
  • Guns Akimbo: Quite doable in the VR version.
  • Hacker Cave: Effectively the main menu in the VR version.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A core gameplay mechanic is stunning enemies to make them drop their weapons and then killing them with said weapons.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Sometimes the messages on screen can get sassy. Find a fan hidden in the 2nd level and the text says "FAN SERVICE".
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The baddies take several shots to line up a decent bead on you - their aim would be usually perfect, but they're not the ones who can slow down time. Doubly so in level three, where, as you get closer, a pathfinding glitch can lead to Set a Mook to Kill a Mook despite said mooks standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
  • Improbable Weapon User: MIND CONTROL DELETE features an expanded set of lethal props that include: vinyl records, an artist's palette, darts and even pencils. The record and palette can somehow be thrown clean through bad guys like a buzzsaw, while the pencil is only a one hit kill when thrown into an enemy's head.
  • Instant Death Bullet: All bullets are lethal no matter where they hit. The "Pointless but Cool" achievement lampshades this, as it requires you to score 100 headshots.
  • Interface Screw:
    • The more you play the game, the more the superhot.exe overseers wrest control from you in ways like changing your chat messages and messing with your view.
    • MIND CONTROL DELETE has its own take: the deeper the player progresses, the more maps break apart into gibberish, have massive distortion and perspective effects, and eventually the level select itself bugs out to show a very glitchy Level 5.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Pistol, with no real advantages or disadvantages, and hence useful due to the nature of the game.
  • Jump Scare: While it might be unintentional, the appearance of the commander at the end of the prototype can easily be this (even if you're expecting it).
  • Katanas Are Just Better:
  • The Last Dance: Towards the end of MIND CONTROL DELETE, Avar1ce must give up the COREs they've earned. Each core is removed only after a short gauntlet of levels where that core is mandatory, it automatically gets its related hacks, and faces enemy types designed to highlight its strengths, and must face its Evil Counterpart.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: MIND CONTROL DELETE has many, most especially with the end of SUPERHOT being ritualistically repeated several times throughout the story as Avar1ce continues to kill their body despite the System telling them there's nothing to gain from doing so.
  • Lead the Target: A non-intuitive part of gameplay. It's not just that Bullet Time kicks in whenever you're not pressing buttons; it's also that all bullets move slower than normal, because if not then you still wouldn't be able to dodge them. But all bullets move slower than normal; if you can dodge them, mooks can too. And do! Unless you... lead the target. Even the railgun in MIND CONTROL DELETE has a very small delay, despite its near-hitscan attack.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: In a way. Enemies in the full release shatter when killed as if they were made of glass. Thrown projectiles also shatter on impact. It's beautiful in slow motion.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Explored as a concept in MIND CONTROL DELETE. The repetitions of superhot.exe aren't literal anymore, and are just the System feeding Avar1ce more of the game. But even the System struggles to contain Avar1ce desire for more, with the levels becoming increasingly broken as Avar1ce pushes for more and more. Eventually, the System tricks Avar1ce into giving up everything and deleting the game, but Avar1ce pushes past it to find a way to restore it.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Sometimes. Given the nature of the game, there can be times where you get yourself into a bind and can't set up a viable escape route for yourself no matter how much you work it. Most situations are escapable but every so often you'll just be stuck without any recourse.
    • MIND CONTROL DELETE is even worse in this regard, as enemies have randomized loadouts, you often spawn in with two of them just out of reach, and some of the levels may spawn you into places with no throwables to work with.
  • Magic Floppy Disk:
    • You'll be loading some of these in the VR version, which appear to contain the in-universe version of the game.
    • New hacks in MIND CONTROL DELETE are represented with floppies.
  • Magnetic Weapons: MIND CONTROL DELETE introduces the railgun. It fires a metal rod much faster than any other gun, to the point of being nearly hit-scan in the player's hands. This effect also stops katana enemies from deflecting the rod, with the exception of the Ninja. It pierces enemies as a standard effect, so it will not only penetrate multiple mooks, but also kill white mooks regardless of where you shoot them. The rods can even be picked up after they're fired and thrown at enemies. As a tradeoff, it takes even longer to chamber a new round than the shotgun, though it has three shots instead of two.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Is superhot.exe a rogue AI or something weirder? The main game implies the former, with it being apparently made of code and propagated through the internet, but the secret terminals imply the latter, stating it was never created but merely "discovered", and that it engineered its own programming because it needed "limbs" and "mouths".
  • Mighty Glacier: The Shotgun, which shoots a massive spread of bullets with decent range, but takes a very long time to reload and only gets two shots.
  • Mind Prison: As the player draws the System's attention, they are trapped within a cell at several points, especially in the later portions in the game, unable to get back to the game unless they do what the system says - such as being forced to repeatedly dodge bullets from enemies until they die. It's implied these were experiments on subjects part of "the System". Once they get past the prison, it's used again: this time an extremely low poly tunnel with a caged door at the end that's a symbolic representation of the real world; it only opens when the player embraces the Arc Words: "bodies are disposable".
  • Minimalism: There are no colors aside from red, white, gray and black. The enemies are humanoid, but lack any characteristics besides color. They sport sunglasses in the Unity-based prototype, but the eyewear was removed in the full retail release.
  • Mirror Boss: The minds in MIND CONTROL DELETE. Each is the source of one of your COREs (except MORE which is your own and PURE which is a post-game bonus) and can therefore use your own tricks against you.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The Ninja mind of MIND CONTROL DELETE turned to superhot.exe when his rival at the Dojo was consistently promoted above him. Combining this with his repeated belief that he's better than anyone at the Dojo made it easy for superhot.exe to empower and subsume him.
  • Nameless Narrative: None of the characters in the series are named, with only vague descriptive titles or screennames.
  • No-Gear Level: Near the end of MIND CONTROL DELETE, there's a gauntlet without any hacks available.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Lampshaded by one of the IRC conversations, particularly with regard to how the levels don't seem to have any kind of interconnecting context. Justified in that it turns out SUPERHOT.exe isn't a game.
  • No-Sell:
    • Enemies with melee weapons will bat aside thrown projectiles unless you aim for their legs. Enemies with katanas can also cut through bullets under the same conditions, but only one at a time, allowing you to overwhelm them through volume of fire.
    • White-bodied mooks in MIND CONTROL DELETE suffer no damage to their white parts unless you have a hack that enhances weapon damage, and are only stunned by attacks that would be lethal. Objects that would merely stun them do nothing at all.
    • The three Core enemies are invulnerable to everything and the Ninja enemy will deflect bullets back at you.
  • Off the Chart: Repeatedly invoked during the Kickstarter campaign, with the chart painted over the table, mouse, coffee cup and everything.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, you can kill a man with a paint pallete, which is as deadly as a saw blade.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The in-game #HACKING forum shows a (eventually looping) chatroom conversation between (mostly) fans of superhot.exe. Visiting it after finding all the secret terminals shows the same conversation, but with the added revelation that the System has been telling the MOD what to say and do the whole time, in order to recruit more players.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder:
    • Both your enemies and you die from one bullet shot, regardless of where the bullet hits. The only real difference is you die from a punch, they need three. On the upside, jumping on top of them instantly kills them.
    • Averted in MIND CONTROL DELETE. All COREs can take two hits before dying except MORE which can take three. Further hacks can add two additional hearts, but you have to get them progressively. Until you finish the game and unlock PURE.CORE, which lets you replay the game with the rules of the original.
  • One-Hit Polykill:
    • Bullets stop when hitting something, but a thrown katana will keep going until it hits a wall... skewering any Red Dudes caught in the way. Getting a double-kill with a thrown katana nets you the Shishkebap achievement.
    • The railgun in MIND CONTROL DELETE fires a super-fast metal rod that pierces all enemies in its path, making it perfect for polykills since it can kill from across the map in nearly an instant. The piercing shot hack adds this property to all bullets. It also makes the normally invulnerable white enemies vulnerable to bullets.
  • One-Man Army: Adding to the action movie-like feel of it all.
  • Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future: The world of Superhot has DOS prompt menus, floppy disks and ASCII art, but is advanced enough for VR headsets and Brain Uploading.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Even when moving, the bullets move much slower than they would in real life. Combine this with a deliberate aversion of the Very High Velocity Rounds trope, and you'll find standing still to slow down time isn't a perfect solution.
  • Parrying Bullets:
    • Using a katana, you can slice bullets out of the air.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in MIND CONTROL DELETE, since slashing at bullets with the katana now reflects them back at the shooter. This goes even further with defall.hack which will reflect all bullets on the map when you reflect one. If you get the punch hack, you can punch bullets back.
  • Pinball Projectile: The ricochet hack causes bullets to reflect once off any surface and into the nearest enemy. It can miss depending on how the enemy is moving, but is generally reliable as long as they're not turning a corner.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, the Super Throwing hack causes any circular object that kills a mook to immediately fly right back to you. Assuming you don't catch it, it will pass through you and imbed itself in the wall behind you.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: In MIND CONTROL DELETE, it's strongly implied that the Addict, who you get Hotswitch from, was the protagonist of the first SUPERHOT.
  • Product Displacement: A subtle example in the VR version's Hacker Cave menu. Anyone familiar with the Commodore Amiga line will immediately recognize that there's an A4000 on top of an A3000 on top of other "big box" Amiga workstations covered in sticky notes, with an A1200 tucked away on its side beside the tower of desktop cases. The A1200 even has its distinctive italicized Amiga key and keyboard layout. However, it falls under Displacement because the Amiga trademark is outright omitted from the computers.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The on-screen text appears as a non-verbal example of this. One word is printed at a time, accompanied by the sound of a camera shutter.
  • Retraux: The technology level of the real world portions is a loving send up of old hardware, complete with DOS commands, IRC clients, ASCII displays, the clicks and whirr of the machine, and so on.
    • SUPERHOT VR takes this even further by showing the protagonist's setup including a VR helmet and gloves... connected to a bunch of old CRT monitor PCs resembling Commodore Amiga 3000/4000/1200 systems with SUPERHOT itself stored in floppy disks.
      • This isn't too far-fetched when considering that the Amiga 3000 was the architectural basis of older Virtuality arcade VR systems, the sort you could play Dactyl Nightmare on.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: You and your enemies go down in one hit. Good thing you have Bullet Time on your side.
  • Rule of Cool: You toss your weapon at the end of every level for no reason other than it's cool. And because you always throw away your weapon when you release control of a hijacked body.
    • The achievement for getting 100 headshots is "Pointless but cool."note 
    • There are also hidden achievements for shooting down a bullet with another bullet, and for slicing a bullet with a katana.
  • Sensory Abuse: Firing a gun while standing still will basically blind and deafen you for two seconds.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The enemies don't have protection against friendly fire so if you can line up an enemy in the way of another and he shoots, the bullet will kill the enemy between you and leave you unscathed.
  • Shoot the Bullet: It requires timing and positioning, but it is still very possible. Doing this (intentionally or not) gives you the "No They Didn't" achievement.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. Shotguns have just as much range as other weapons in the game.
  • Shout-Out: The level "19OLDBOY.lvl" takes place in a hallway, like the Signature Scene of the movie with the same name.
  • Show Within a Show: The menu is part of the story itself. Superhot.exe (that is, the telltale bullet-time shooter) is a game that your in-game friend sends you.
  • Shur Fine Guns: Every gun breaks if thrown into a wall, an enemy, a bullet, or just thrown away in a panic by a hotswapped enemy. Averted when a shooter's arm is punched the instant they fire a bullet. The gun is fine. The arm explodes, though.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The time mechanic that's the core of the gameplay; allowing you to position yourself just so and to speed-blitz many of your foes.
    • Within game, punching an enemy, catching their gun when they drop it, and then shooting them with it is a very reliable way of defeating foes and is very, very awesome.
    • Jumping over enemies is usually more efficient than punching them out. This is very useful in the Speedrun challenges.
  • Stealth Pun: The Boss fight in the game jam prototype. As in, a fight with a CEO, who is unarmed and does nothing to defend himself.
  • Stylistic Suck: In sharp contrast to the crisp, smooth visuals of superhot.exe, the other apps and programs (including videos and 3D demos) on the player's computer are rendered in white-on-black text or basic ASCII.
  • Summon to Hand: The gimmick of the Ninja CORE in MIND CONTROL DELETE is the ability to recall your katana to your hand after throwing it. The final upgrade lets it bounce between any nearby enemies on the way back.
  • Surprise Creepy: Both the prototype and the full version appear at first glance to be just a High Concept action game with No Plot? No Problem! - and both become increasingly clear that they're actually a Cyberpunk horror story.
  • Symbolic Blood: Defeated foes shatter like glass, in a way the would be incredibly gory if they weren't, y'know, polygons. Of course, they likely really are spraying blood everywhere in the real world, but you don't see that in the overlay that the system uses.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • In the main game, the player cannot stop playing over and over, even when he is told to walk away or face the consequences - much like hardcore gamers.
    • In MIND CONTROL DELETE, both Avar1ce and the Addict desperately search through superhot.exe, hoping that the System's Core gives them something worth their time - like hardcore gamers trying to justify following a story to keep getting at that gameplay loop.
  • Taking You with Me: Spiked enemies in MIND CONTROL DELETE explode in a hail of bullets when killed. Specifically, this happens when their body is shattered, so while bullets and other forms of instant death will explode them on contact, punching them to death or using blunt weapons allows you to get behind cover and wait for the body to explode when it hits the floor. If you swap into one with Hotswitch, it will activate the effect without killing the host, which can be useful in killing off nearby enemies and is a safe way to detonate them in general.
    • There is also an upgrade where you explode into ninja stars when damaged, though this is Downplayed since you still have extra lives.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Guns have limited ammo, so throwing them away is a given. Throwing your weapon is also much faster than waiting for the next bullet to cycle into the chamber if you're using the pistol or shotgun. You also end up throwing your weapons away when a level ends for the sake of looking cool and because that's what always happens when you abandon a body.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    • The katana can be thrown and is lethal upon hit, and is one of the few thrown items which can be retrieved. The Ninja mind of MIND CONTROL DELETE focuses around throwing your katana, and its various upgrades allow you to do far more fancy tricks with it.
    • One endless mode level also has throwing stars, which are the only other weapon lethal when thrown.
    • Downplayed with every other item you can throw; it stuns an enemy on hit and makes them drop anything they're holding, allowing you grab it for yourself. Thrown items can be faster than waiting for your gun to stop shooting in many instances.
      • Unless it's the VR version, in which case any thrown item is lethal.
  • Time Stands Still: An interesting variant tied to your motion. Stand still, and time slows to a crawl - or stops completely in the VR version. Start walking, and it'll speed up to real time. It even extends to moving the camera: time accelerates a little when aiming and firing.
    • The fact that in the original game time doesn't stand completely still is explained by The System as a result of the player actually not being able to stay perfectly still, because that is basically impossible, even when you're actively focusing on staying still, there are little things you might not be aware of that you're doing, or even something as simple as breathing is essentially a small amount of movement. The VR version seems to be more generous in this regard.
  • Trigger Phrase: It's heavily implied (particularly by the #HACKER chatroom once all secret terminals have been found) that the System's mind-control is strengthened by the repetition of the mantra "SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT."
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The final level has the System make the player assault the core housing the System itself to upload themselves to it, while killing every guard in sight.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: The first shotgun you see is on a guy behind the bar.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • Hot-swapping into an enemy causes them to immediately discard their gun, denying it to you. In MIND CONTROL DELETE, upgrades to the CORE ability allow you to negate this.
    • MIND CONTROL DELETE introduces enemies whose weapons are connected to them, represented by the weapons being red instead of black. These enemies can't be relived of their weapons in any way, though they still recoil from stunning hits. Even if you have the Hotswitch upgrade that lets you keep weapons, these enemies will discard theirs in defiance of it.
  • Viral Marketing: Invoked by the end of the story - the game itself compels you, the player, to spread the word about the game in order to bring more and more people into the system, using the exact words, "It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years".
  • Wham Line: A completely meta example depending on how blind you're playing the game. The game encourages players to snag unsuspecting players into the System's Assimilation Plot with a single sentence:
    Superhot is the most innovative shooter I've played in years.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: You eventually learn how to Hot Switch, which lets you Body Surf by pressing E. Trying to do this in any level before FALL will cause it to fail, and the game will even tell you "WRONG SIMULATION" or "NOT HERE."
  • Your Head A-Splode: Not just with bullets (there's even an achievement pointing out the pointlessness of it), but also the fate of any body you abandon via hotswap and everybody in the room when you take control of the core.
    • You gain a ranged version of this power in place of hotswapping in the VR version.
    • In MIND CONTROL DELETE, since you only have to kill a certain number of enemies to clear a level rather than all of them, any remaining enemies will have their heads explode when you win.
  • Zerg Rush: One of the ERROR nodes in MIND CONTROL DELETE causes most of the enemies to spawn either unarmed or with a melee weapon. Roughly one in five will have a pistol. As a tradeoff, it takes three times as many kills to end a level, they spawn a lot faster, and they spawn in greater numbers than normal.

SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.
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