GameU.R. – SUPERHOT VR (English)

Version Française

LudoTIC presents « GameU.R. »

Regularly, we present a game’s review using our tools and expertise: our Game Usability Review (Game U.R. for short). The goal of these reviews is to find out what is good or bad, to uncover problems and discuss some solutions.
Game development is an art, here are some pieces of advice to turn your work into a masterpiece.

We use an internally developed method which sees a game from 3 points of view:

  • Usability: as a Human Machine Interface
  • Playability: as an object with playing potential
  • Gameplay: as a video game

For more details, see our related article!
You can see here our last review of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

Today: SUPERHOT VR

SUPERHOT VR is a First Person Shooter developed by Superhot Team for Virtual Reality Headsets. You appear in the middle of “scenes” with red glassy people trying to kill you and you have to kill everything.
The thing that differs from classic FPS is that, in SUPERHOT VR, time only progresses when you move, allowing you to dodge bullets and plan perfect actions. This leads to epic action scenes with you as the badass hero !
You can play the first prototype for free (not in VR) to better understand how this works:  https://superhotgame.com/play-prototype/

SUPERHOT VR is available since mid-2017 on various VR platforms and is regularly updated, it means that it still may change and maybe some of the topics we will talk about will be fixed afterward or won’t exist anymore.
We reviewed it in early July 2017 on the Patch 1.0.3 version with the HTC Vive.

Usability

Aide et guidage

Help and guidance

CarefulWarning Help: There is no in game way to see the controls or the abilities, these are only explained once.
ApprovalGood Point Guidance: But players are well guided through the game by the scenes organization, these usually have a general direction in which players are drawn to guide them along the opponents. There is also a simple color code to know what is what:

White: Scenery
Black: interactive
Red: Bad guys

Advice
Advice
In VR guiding the players is vital, the scene is everywhere around them and you have to channel their attention to what you want them to see.

 

These cocktails could make juicy weapons!

 

Sensation of control

CarefulWarning The controls are not standards. VR is still young but some standards have already appeared, some inputs are not easy to grasp at first. For example, players have to use the trigger to pick up an item and then push and release the trackpad to throw it.
ApprovalGood Point

These controls may be not usual, but VR is still young so why not tweak a little to find what may be the next standard. In addition to that, the controls stay the same for the whole duration of the game and the players are always in control of what they do.

Advice
Advice
In VR taking control of the player movement can be very nausea inducing. The brain is tricked to make the player believe that he is in a place, moving the player’s point of view in the game is understood as “moving the entire world around them” and can be very disturbing.

 

On the vive controller you can grab, shoot or punch with the trigger, drop the item with the release of the trackpad and use a weird superpower by grabbing the side buttons.

Don’t punch real people with this!

 

Flexibility and Adaptation

CarefulWarning There is no option menu !

 

AdviceAdvice In VR, a lot of different setups are possible, even more with the HTC Vive’s play area, therefore, it is highly advised to add an option menu, at least to adapt to the room setup, and maybe to offer different control schemes.

 

Playability

Contingency

ApprovalGood There is no randomness in SUPERHOT VR, the game’s goal is to understand and learn the AI and environment to master the best movements and the best choreography to kill everyone. The game restarts at the beginning of the level each time the player dies, allowing him to learn the movements and go through it faster each time.

 

In this video, the player tries to finish the game the fastest way:

 

Affordance

Affordance

ApprovalGood IN SUPERHOT VR, an interesting take to the movement problem often stumbled opun in VR (see our study on nausea in VR) is the “Grab Pyramid”. At the end of each scene, a black pyramid with the word “grab” appears in front of the player. When grabbed, it teleports him into the next scene, this allow him to move across the level without any need of movement mechanics (other than real movements). This also emphasis each scene as the player appears in the middle of the action.

Okay let’s do this !

Gameplay

Rules Discovery

ApprovalGood When the player dies, a loud shattering glass sound plays, possibly making him jump in surprise, pulling his head backward. In doing so, he may be able to see the deadly bullet floating where his head was just seconds ago and understand where it came from.
AdviceAdvice This is a good example of what VR can add to games. The fact that the player always has control over his head movement makes this kind of action possible.

 

Acquisition de competences

Skills acquisition

ApprovalGood The tutorial is handled by the books, each time the players is confronted with a new ability, the game explain how it works and offers multiple opportunities to use it.
Drawing show how each interaction work before the players have to use it

I need to grab that gun!

 

Base player

CarefulWarning BUT the game doesn’t allow the player to go back in the first levels before he finished all of it. This can be really bothering in a lot of situations, for examples when multiple users play on the same game, only one gets to do the tutorial and if someone wanted to go back into the game after a while he would have to clean the save manually to go back to the beginning, losing his previous progress.
AdviceAdvice This could also be solved by adding an option menu, with a way to select in which previous level to go.

 

Conclusion

SUPERHOT VR is so much fun! Fast paced, intense and tactical it is a blast to shater those red bad guys in Slow Motion while doing matrix style dodges!
This games needs some optimisation around it, like a menu and allowing personalisations, but the core gameplay works perfectly and is one of the most enjoyable for a game in VR.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This review was but only a peek of our SUPERHOT VR assessment. We can do a lot more thanks to our tools and expertise, contact us if you want to know more.
If you have questions or opinions, please tell us In the comments. See you next timeThat was GameU.R. the review ergo of jeux vidéo.

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Eloi Duclercq
Eloi est spécialisé dans l'ergonomie des jeux et media interactifs. Il apporte son expertise au pôle recherche Jeux Vidéos et s'intéresse particulièrement aux problématiques liées à la réalité virtuelle.
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