Developed By : Pillow Castle Games
Published By : Pillow Castle Games
Category : Puzzle, First-Person, Adventure
Release Date : July 07, 2020
They say perception is everything, that how you see things can somehow exhibit superiority over how things are. Whether it’s just in your imagination, or somehow does effect the real world around you, we’ve all encountered this at some point, I’m sure. One example I’m willing to bet a lot of us have done, is bringing your fingers up to your face and pinching and squishing someone that’s made you angry or upset. You’re not actually squishing this person, but it brings peace to yourself to imagine that you are. Superliminal on the Nintendo Switch looks to bring that reality-altering perception to your fingertips, and put you through a series of tests that will have you questioning just what is real.
The game begins with you falling asleep to the TV. It’s late in the night, and as you drift off, the last thing you catch is an add for a dream therapy program. The next time you open your eyes, you find that you’re already dreaming, and surprise surprise, already participating in the program. Throughout, you’ll be forced to approach normal situations in abnormal ways in order to (hopefully?) make it through and actually wake up.
Each area of the dream therapy program is broken up into a series of rooms. Each room has an exit, typically marked by a wavy looking doorway denoting that no objects will be permitted to pass through, so no carrying on a single object to help solve all your puzzles. Once you’ve completely finished all the rooms in an area, you’ll generally end up in an elevator, so it’ll be pretty easy to make note when you’ve finished a chapter.
Most puzzles are solved by making use of the game’s main mechanic of altering items sizes based on your perspective. Items that you can interact with are able to be picked up at just about any point, and once you pick it up it will maintain that size. The easiest way to describe this system is if you look upwards while holding an item and let go, it will fall down and grow as it falls. Alternatively, if you look down, these items will shrink. It’s a great system to take advantage of if you need to create some climbable steps to leave a room through an elevated doorway, or if you just want to grow a soda can to be the size of a room.
As you get further into the game you’ll encounter different scenarios with newer systems. A lot of these aren’t repeated very often, so I don’t want to give examples and spoil puzzle solutions, so I will limit it to saying that sometimes manipulating light will show that a shadow area is more than just a shadow. Another mechanic is one that uses a form of illusion called Trompe-l’œil (I totally didn’t need to look this up). It’s basically making use of 2D art forms that are painted across stretches of the same room, and you’ll need to find the right place to stand to line these images up and create a full-formed 3D object. The best comparison of this I can think of is it might be familiar to those that played the Arkham Batman games and remember needing to line up Riddler question marks.
Much as I love and am a huge sucker for puzzle games, they’re some of the hardest to write reviews about. The thing that makes a puzzle game great is, well naturally the puzzles. Not just the puzzles though, their solutions. If every room in a game involves you just walking up to a small button and pressing it, it’s not going to be a good puzzle game. But when the solutions are more complex, and therefor more rewarding once you figure them out, that is where the gold lies.
So while I can’t really give specifics to back up why I feel this way, I can promise you Superliminal is one of those truly phenomenal and amazing puzzle games. It was such a unique experience getting to tweak and manipulate the environment around me to produce what I wanted and needed for a solution. I played a lot of this game with my son sitting with me and we both enjoyed making gigantic soda cans. If you like puzzle games, adding this one to your library is a no-brainer.