Superliminal analysis, the reality depends on the point of view

Written by Kamran Haider

We are part of a program that will help us have a better point of view in life through dream-based therapy. But something seems to have gone wrong and now we are stuck in a dream world where nothing is what it seems.

Few media can treat perspective as well as videogames. After all, our industry has been researching the subject for a lifetime. From the first games with vectors, the jump from 2D to 3D, and even stereoscopy and virtual reality, we look for new ways to interact with the environment. But, deep down, no matter how much we want to give volume to what is on the other side of the screen, it will always be represented in this two-dimensional plane formed by pixels that we call monitor or television. And what Superliminal does is precisely take advantage of that deception that occurs when combining perspectives to create their magic tricks.

Thus, an object can be large and small at the same time just by contrasting it with a near or far background. For this pretext to make more sense, it introduces us to a program based on sleep therapy, where reality unfolds and perception dominates the rules of physics. But to explain well what Superliminal is not enough with words, you need to see the game in motion to understand how they work of Albert Shih comes alive.

Throughout the game, we will not need more tools than our movement and the possibility of taking certain objects from the stage – with the possibility of rotating them in some moments. Superliminal wants to stay simple so that the whole puzzle works in your head, finding the solution and executing it quickly. To show a button: a wedge of cheese can be converted, under the right perspective, into a gigantic ramp that allows us to reach the door of the room that is too high.

Perspective issue

The sensations produced by navigating the different rooms of the game remind in part those experienced by the player in titles such as Portal or The Stanley Parable. I do not know if it is intentional, but those names have constantly roamed my mind, because there is something of both in the way that one has to propose the puzzles, by way of laboratory tests, and the bizarre narrative of the second. I think it does not reach the brilliance of any, yes, because although the ideas poured into each of their puzzles are special and amazing, and you try to vary as much as possible the mechanics to keep attracting, Superliminal is inevitably losing strength.

Perhaps it is, more than by the design of their puzzles, by the narrative. The game focuses on this idea of ​​perception, urging the player that every problem we encounter in the game is perfectly solvable if we change our point of view. And I mean change it literally. Facing a painted wall at the correct angle causes a cube to interact with or a door that was not there before. History intends to delve into this message. The few dialogues – or rather monologues – that we have informed us that we have agreed to participate in a therapeutic program that uses induced sleep to address real-world problems. But, while everything at the beginning is surreal, although under control, something seems to have gone wrong and we are caught in this dream world from which we will have to escape.Perspective issue

If you like puzzles, you will enjoy Superliminal from start to finish.

The idea is good, but the series of messages that we find in the different radio cassettes do not quite end up tricking the player so much. Sometimes for being too cryptic, sometimes for being too scarce. We miss more information about this world, about our apparent personal conflict, something that serves as a ground to empathize with our avatar. I understand the intention of wanting to be somewhat ambiguous, but you run the risk of not catching the player’s attention and that he is fascinated only by the imagination that his puzzles distill.

Thus, Superliminal marks a path of three or four hours at the beginning of embellishing. Throw ideas that make you think about how they had not been applied in the same way before, although some of this we have seen in other works. It is true that this path loses strength. It is not that he loses the spark, but the surprises he proposes are causing less impact on the player as if an illusionist repeated too many tricks or lengthened his function too much. The moment the puzzles lose that capacity to amaze – I think that is practically inevitable – it is where the great games, like Portal, continue to captivate you with their atmosphere and their history.

If you like puzzles, you will enjoy Superliminal from start to finish. It even has an interesting message, one that I would have liked to have delved deeper into it. But at the end of the road, the feeling that remains is that of experimental work. A surprising and harmonious field of evidence that never becomes quite challenging or leads the experiment to a place that strongly impacts the player. That at least is what I have seen from my perspective because what is not the game shows is precise that the truth depends on the point of view.

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Superliminal is a puzzle game that achieves through perspective creating a series of puzzles that test the player’s spatial vision. They are original and truly amazing, although some of that freshness is lost as you walk the rooms, while the challenge is never too high and the little mystery of its history does not end.

  • Ingenious, creative and very original puzzles
  • The atmosphere evokes experiences like Portal or The Stanley Parable
  • Lose some of the freshness of the first moments
  • The story, although interesting, does not have enough strength or impact on the player
  • We miss some challenge with more difficult puzzles as we go

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Kamran Haider

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