Analysis of SUPERHOT VR (on Occulus Rift)

“Time moves only when you move” 

The caption above is a pretty succinct explanation of the core mechanics of the game. The gameplay is simple: time moves only when you move, use this ability to take down numerous bad guys with a variety of weapons lying all around the map. Originally it started as an entry from 2013 7 day FPS challenge, it further expanded to a full game with funding from Kickstarter. This is one of the most engaging FPS titles that I’ve played and it adds a new dimension to FPS genre in which the genre has gotten pretty stale over the years (my honest opinion, don’t stone me if you enjoy FPS games).

“Dodge this.” If you know where this iconic one-liner came from, you’re awesome.

Despite dying repeatedly in this game, I could not help but to keep retrying over and over again. Because time only moves when you move, everything around you slows down, allowing you to evade bullets and take your time to aim with utmost precision. It feels incredibly badass to be able to dodge incoming bullets similar to the famous bullet dodging scene in the Matrix. It is thrilling to see bullets whizz past you knowing that if one of these hits you, it’s game over.

Being able to dodge bullets in slow motion is a powerful selling point, but it’s not the only element that keeps me engaged in the application. The reason why I keep going back to the game is due to the high level of freedom, creativity and immersion offered. In VR, you can individually control each hand. This allows for more immersive gameplay as you feel directly involved in the middle of the gunfight itself. Instead of playing through WASD + mouse on PC, your hands are frantically searching for anything useful to fight back.

you are not controlling the character, you ARE the character!

To make things more interesting, each hand can carry a different weapon. Other than firing guns, you can actually throw your weapons to kill, hit enemies in close range or even block bullets like in a Japanese anime fight. This allows for many creative approaches to the game. You can dual wield pistols like Lara Croft, throw bottles like in a bar fight or shank opponents up-close. Unlike most VR games that has clunky controls and being largely restrictive, freedom in Superhot VR is largely bounded by your wits, luck and the amount of space in your room.

The first feature that immediately caught my eye is the minimalist, abstract art style. I really liked the simple color palette of the game: white means environmental backdrop, red means bad guys, navy blue means weapons, only 3 crucial colours reminiscent of the popular “3 Colour Rule” in fashion. It is stunning to see the bad guys shatter like glass when they get killed. Other than simply being a unique treat for the eyes, this minimalist graphics serves an important function: allowing the players to see important elements clearly. In a game where you have to dodge bullets to survive, you have to be able to see the bullet trails, where the weapons are, where the bad guys are located. With all these things that the player have to look out for, I can’t see this game having a realistic-looking graphics replicating the Matrix as it would be too visually noisy to be immersed in evading bullets. Overall, this abstract art style is an excellent choice, both aesthetically-stylish and utilitarian.

The next nice feature that I would like to highlight is the game balance & direction. In this game, ammunition is scare. You run dry after firing 2-5 rounds. Made worse by the fact that you can’t reload, forcing you to scavenge weapons from fallen enemies. The lack of a hit-point bar makes it very clear that once you’re hit, you are dead. The combination of the inability to reload, death on hit and the slow motion gameplay makes the direction of the game very clear: Be careful, do not waste bullets and kill with well-timed precision and finesse. Not only does this make the game engaging in terms of difficulty, it reinforces the image that you don’t need overwhelming firepower to win. All you need are just your wits and using your foes’ weapons against them. This makes Superhot VR stand in the interesting middle ground between being an action and a strategy game.

However despite the game having nailed well in numerous aspects, there are still some shortcomings to be addressed.

The first shortcoming is insufficient levels and the lack of difficulty chokepoints (aka mini-bosses). The campaign (story mode) eventually becomes boring, and I ended up only playing endless mode, where I try my best to survive for as long as possible. The lack of bottlenecks and levels might make some users lose interest in the game experience gradually. Taking this game to a multiplayer realm is extremely daunting. Hence, my suggestion to improve replay-ability and engagement would be to make the game more rogue-like. This heavily ramps up the game’s unpredictability, making the experience more interesting for veterans.

The next is the ‘lobby’ of the game which I think is not very intuitive and have perspective scaling issues. To start the game, you have to insert a floppy disk (which some players might not even know what a floppy disk is!) representing a game mode, and then putting on a VR headset from above (yes, putting on a VR headset in-game while wearing a VR headset). I have to stand up physically to reach for the top to try to put on the virtual VR headset and it is difficult to grab. Not to mention the floppy disk representing different game modes are not the most easy to understand. This act of inserting a disk and then putting a VR headset looks cool, but to a first-timer with no prior experience of the game, this can be a bummer as they probably do not know what to do to start the game.

What’s the difference between “Endless” and “Don’t Die” game mode? They sound the same to me.

The last shortcoming is the limited freedom of movement. While the VR arm movement are well-executed, I felt that locomotion (movement from one place to another) still leaves a lot to be desired. You can move in the map to a limited extent as long as you have sufficient space in your room, but gameplay is still largely static. The developer addressed this by having the option to teleport to another spot in the room with a grab of a pyramid after slaying all/enough enemies.

Grabbing the pyramid allows you to progress the level in Campaign mode, or change to another location in Endless mode

I understand that this implementation of locomotion is easy for the user, but I really wished I could have the option of moving in all 4 directions in the room like your typical FPS shooter. Decimating an enemy stronghold on the offence is much more fun than defending myself from enemies.

Overall, this is still a fun and interesting VR application that is easy to learn and fun to play. I had so much fun doing numerous goofy antics, like lying down on the floor killing minions or waving my hands to speed up the game. All the while, my friends having a great laugh watching me play. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a VR application that is easy to pickup and play while still wanting to feel like a badass.

Game Analysis : Invisible Inc

Store Page:

Invisible Inc is a turn-based rogue-like stealth game. Players have to control their secret agents to sneak past guards, open lockers & complete mission objectives. Fly around the globe to look for lucrative jobs, upgrade 

Elemental Tetrad:


The game is turn-based. Player & the computer AI take turns to make their moves. This gameplay mechanic is similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, an award-winning turn-based game, but with strong emphasis on stealth.

At every turn, each agents have a certain amount of Action Points (AP). Players can spend these AP to control their agents to move, peek, predict guard patrol patterns.etc. Agents can use a wide variety of gadgets & weapons to navigate through the map safely.

When it comes to dealing with guards, guards typically have 2 types of vision: peripheral & direct, which the cone of vision is noticeable on the round. 

Note the red patch on the ground. Bright red indicates direct vision while partial indicates peripheral.

Agents spotted directly by the guard would immediately raise the alarm, whilst being in their peripheral vision means that the guard would investigate your spot once your turn ends. which can be used as a distraction. Guards have 3 states: Patrol, Investigating & Hunting. The first 2 state would be oblivious to your presence (until they spot you), while the last state means the guard is hunting for your agents. 

Besides navigating the agents, all electronics have firewalls. Players have to use a hacking AI known as Incognita to break firewalls. Players can buy programs for the AI to bypass electronics such as cameras and terminals to steal cash, move pass areas without getting detected. etc.

Invisible Inc.: Contingency Plan
Number beside the electronics indicate firewall level which one have to break to gain control of the device.

Another mechanic to increase mobility is the alarm. At every 5 turns, the alarm level would rise, given the player additional threats such as activated cameras, increased firewalls & guards. Alarms can also be raised by killing guards, getting spotted by guards or cameras.etc. This forces the player to complete the objective and leave the mission as fast as possible.


The year is 2077. Big corporations took over the world, and a freelance intelligence agency known as Invisible Inc provides espionage services to these companies using field agents & a powerful AI, Incognita. 

One day, their headquarters was attacked, with most of their assets gone, except 2 field agents and Incognita. Their AI cannot survive outside a terminal for more than 72 hours, which within this time, the agency can infiltrate various corporate offices to upgrade their agents, before striking back to host their AI. 


The art style is primarily cyberpunk. This flows well with the weapons, gadgets, guards & drones used in the game, such as Cloaking Rigs to gain temporary invisibility & Buster Chips to hack devices, inspired by shows such as Ghost In the Shell & Psycho Pass. The field agents available are inspired by fiction such as Sherlock Holmes & James Bond.  One of the mechanics, Incognita, fits well with the cyberpunk theme as well.


Mouse/trackpad primarily, keyboard optional. The iOS version uses a touch screen which potentially makes the gaming experience even better since it makes the player feel more like a tactician commanding his troops on the battlefield.

Lens #1: Essential Element

The partial top-down view makes me feel like an espionage tactician when I play the game. Being able to see a guards field of vision, as well as agents being able to predict guard patrol patterns gives me a strong sense of control. The randomly generated maps gives me a strong sense of curiosity as to what lies beyond each room which i have not explored. The alarm mechanic also gives a sense of urgency, forcing me to rush the mission as efficiently as possible instead of being slow & steady.

Lens #2: Surprise

Every match & post match is a trove of surprises, shock & disappointment. In the match, I could never expect the kind of goodies I would find, such as a side mission, or a super powerful rifle that cannot be purchased in-game. Sometimes I get nasty surprises, such as a guard waltzing into the room when I least expected it. 

Travelling to a mission location takes time. After the timer hits every 24 hours, the difficulty level of missions would rise, followed by a new list of sites to infiltrate, each with a different objective, such as rescuing a captive, stealing credit, or simply gaining augmentations. 

You can choose your missions depending on availability.

Lens #4: Curiosity 

Similar to Lens #2. Every gameplay entrails a random set of challenges and architecture. Agents start off in an enclosed room. Outside the room is pitch black & players have to look into the unknown to learn about the map. Agents have to explore the map as the game progresses, piquing player’s sense of curiosity in the unknown area. Every door, while dangerous to open due to unseen guards on the other side, is tempting to open.

Lens #5: Endogenous Value

The endogenous value that this game offers is unique in the sense that it is a lack of one. It is more of a punishment rather than a reward.

Players are encouraged to be as stealthy as possible. By relying on distraction, stealing from guards & avoiding conflict, players will be able to complete the mission with maximised cash in hand & lower alarm levels to deal with. 

On the other hand, relying on brute force punishes the player. Knocking out guards means guards would wake up after a certain period of time and in order to keep the guard down, players would have to use an agent to “pin” the guard, thereby slowing down the game progression since that agent could have use that time to perform other tasks besides being restricted to dragging bodies. Killing guards is even worse as it incurs costly ammunition and causes the alarm to rise. 

Quite a unique reward system compared to other stealth titles since most stealth titles rely on points which makes stealth a choice rather than an obligation. In this game, players are obliged to play stealthily since playing using brute force will impair one’s game progress.  

You need cash to upgrade agents/buy items, and killing incurs cost

Lens #6: Problem Solving 

The game offers multiple angles to solving problems. Agents can sneak pass, stun or even kill, in descending order of recommendation. However, sometimes there are complications in which the player will have make difficult decisions, such as killing a guard in order to ironically allow the game to progress faster. Players have plenty of options to solve a problem, such as momentarily distract a guard from a helpless agent using another agent making noise, or using an invisible agent to spearhead behind enemy lines. 

Overall this is a fun game with high replay value, something pretty uncommon in single-player games. Every match is based on a good combination of luck & player’s skill, and no 2 games are ever the same. Things that could be improved can include Endless mode, which once you survive sufficiently long, your team is virtually unstoppable and it gets stale.