Is perception really reality? That is the question you are trying to answer.

I myself am a huge fan of puzzle games so I was excited to hear about Superliminal and its release on the Nintendo Switch. Superliminal was originally developed by Pillow Castle Games and is composed of nine unique stages where the way in which you solve environmental puzzles changes. The new techniques you learn ultimately aid you in solving the puzzles presented in the final stages. Some puzzles were reminiscent of ones found in Portal or even the Legend of Zelda (specifically the ocarina of time). In saying this however, there were most definitely unique twists and challenging moments in solving the puzzles, with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction when solved– as every good puzzle game should have. 

The puzzles in Superliminal were highly physical and environmental based, forcing me to think outside the box with solutions. There were only two puzzles where the solution seemed a bit odd, but it was never to the extent where I had to look up a walkthrough or guide to solve it. Colours and symbols in the game lead the player to the solution and this is what makes the experience of the game even more rewarding. 

I really want to give credit to the games finer details which simulated a dream-like state for the player. Just when I thought there was familiarity and a sense of stability within the game, I was quickly challenged and forced to rethink my method of solving the puzzle. I really love how the game achieves this because it perfectly nods to the feeling of a real dream. Further, the level design for this game is underrated as it portrays an orderly, yet chaotic environment which is reflective of a dream state. 

With every dream comes a nightmare, so of course, there was a high tension and suspense stage within the game. The nightmare sequence played on horror and thriller tropes, having lots of red and black colouring in the level. Additionally, tensions were created with silence and soft footsteps with no cheap jumpscares to instill fear. I love when games don’t utilise jumpscares because it allows for the games environment (as well as the game developers and designers) to showcase true talent. Towards the end of the scene, a lot of my expectations were subverted, giving me a sense of relief that I have when I wake up. I love how the game chose to portray this scene overall and it truly made me feel like I was having a nightmare.

Admittedly in my playthrough, I did break the game trying to solve a puzzle in the most abstract way. But even when I was flying into the air (when, I can guarantee you, I was not meant to be) that I was still having fun because it felt like a dream! 

The final moments of the game were definitely my favourite because the puzzles became more challenging and the landscape shifted to a more whimsical and dream-like state. It reminded me of Salvador Dalí’s artwork where clocks are seen melting over tree branches. It would have actually been nice to see a nod to the surrealist artists because I believe he is a huge contributor to how we perceive dreams and reality. 

My largest criticism of the game, however, is that I wish the narratorial voices were more playful or had a stronger interaction between them. It was really interesting to see two authorial voices having two different perspectives despite one being a robot and the other human and how their perspectives directly impacted the player. But I can’t help but be reminded by how immersive and enjoyable it was to have playful and witty banter with GLaDOS and Wheatley from Portal 2. Their attitudes and behaviour significantly enhanced my player experience and is the thing that draws me to the game. Whereas with Superliminal, the omnipotent voices didn’t impact my player experience at all.

Nothing is more challenging than to challenge your perception, and this is exactly what the game forced me to do. Overall, the game was amazing and I will definitely be playing it multiple times to get all of the fun achievements the game has to offer. I highly recommend this game if you are seeking something similar to the environmental puzzles Portal 1 and 2 presented. For more news about the next hit puzzle game, stay tuned to Mendax Games!

This review is not sponsored and I purchased the game with my own money and on my own volition.

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