Superliminal (PS5): COMPLETED!

Superliminal (PS5): COMPLETED!

Imagine a cross between that weird hypercube animation optical illusion thing and The Stanley Parable, and you’re some of the way to understanding Superliminal.

Like The Stanley Parable, it’s a narrative discovery game in a series of corridors, offices, warehouses and… other places. Whereas Stanley is trapped in a Groundhog Day style scenario, your nameless hero here is inside a dream which has been engineered to help them deal with something in their life. So, almost the same thing.

So many doors.

However, Superliminal is much more of a puzzle game, in a similar sort of way that Portal or Q.U.B.E. is, but the puzzles in this game are based around perspective. Objects can be resized, or sometimes reshaped, by how you pick up and drop them. For example, if you pick up a box, it’s quite small, but if you place it down in front of you it will actually be dropped in the distance at the size it appears to you, meaning that you then walk up to it and it has become larger. It’s tricky to describe, and to make use of at first, but it’s Very Clever. You can then use this larger box as a step up or something.

The other main puzzle thing is to line up seemingly random markings, like paint or shapes, so that at a certain angle they become an actual object. In one room, for instance, there are various parts of a cube painted on walls and pillars. If you stand in the right place, the cube becomes whole and grabbable, for use in another bit of the puzzle. I’ve seen this sort of thing in other games (most of the environmental puzzles in The Witness are a similar mechanic), but it is still Also Very Clever.

In this bit, you’re in a house which you can put inside itself.

Things get mixed up as you progress through your dream therapy (which itself goes a bit off the rails – I think the current gamer terminology is “the backrooms”), with items not being able to move in certain ways, or they duplicate when interacted with, or fall apart. Later still there’s some playing with walls and doors, with doors becoming walls and vice versa as perspective or proximity changes, or simply because you’re “reading” their colour “wrong”.

Disappointingly, there aren’t any toilets in the game when it really looks like there will be some, but other than that it’s a pleasant, stress-free brain scratcher that makes your eyes go a bit weird. It’s also pretty funny, in the doctor’s tapes you find to listen to, the GlaDOSy “guide”, and various whiteboards, posters and items you find along the way. Superliminal is only a few hours long, but, like all the other games I’ve mentioned, well worth playing.


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