Superliminal Review

Superliminal, a Pillow Castle Games release, is a first-person puzzle game that makes use of forced perspective, creating an environment that challenges the player to use as many perspectives as possible to solve each level.

Imagine if when you put your fingers in front of your face while looking at a tall building, you could lift the building, as it fits between your fingers. Or you could push the Leaning Tower of Pisa, like how tourists pose in photos. This was part of the inspiration behind the core mechanics of this game. 

Developed by a six-member team led by Albert Shih, Superliminal is a fresh and exciting game that can only be completed by thinking outside of the box. Each level goes deeper or takes a new look at the core mechanic. 

The premise is that you are undergoing sleep therapy with a company. You are in a dream state where voices speak to you as you go through orientation. The game’s core message is that “perception is reality”. Many times during the game, something I didn’t expect to work was the solution.

This level of unexpectedness is a tad frustrating at times, but it is extremely satisfying to complete a level. The game is broken up into nine levels, each pulling parts from other levels while entering new terrain. One level may deal primarily with depth and another with scale and paradox. 

The game provides a relaxing experience, and part of the enjoyment goes to the music. The music deviates from stereotypical “dream-like” sounds to more intense to certain times where it disappears, giving the game a nice balance between the eerieness of a never-ending dream-state and the fun of it. 

Progression from orientation to the end is well-balanced. I feel like I discovered enough new stuff while honing my skills on what I learned at the start. The levels become more and more visually compelling as well. 

The story is intriguing, but the voice messages that play at different times during levels don’t go very deep into the world, yet the way that the game picks up pace and reveals more layers of the sleep-therapy process is quite engrossing. Think Inception types of “dream-within-a-dream” scenarios. 

All of the puzzles that you must solve have a great deal of heart and care put into them. The levels all accomplish different feats while the player deals with optical illusions. One needs to look around and use everything possible to gain a new perspective on a level. 

The game has aspects that, while I was playing, had the same intellectually-stemming elements of a Portal game. It’s a great addition to the puzzle game genre and provides a few hours of great enjoyment.

Currently, Superliminal is playable on Windows off the Epic Games Store. It is due to release on PS4 this month, while Nintendo Switch and Steam will get it in Q3 of 2020. 

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