Superliminal Review | As you fall asleep with the TV on at 3AM, you remember catching a glimpse of the commercial from Dr.Pierce’s Somnasculpt dream therapy program. By the time you open your eyes, you’re already dreaming – beginning the first stages of this experimental program. Welcome to Superliminal.
Developer: Pillow Castle Games
Console Played On: Steam
Number Of Players: 1
Are you a lucid dreamer? Check ✅
Do you like novelty-sized chess pieces? Check ✅
Do you appreciate the thematics of Lewis Carroll? Check ✅
Well if so, this escape game might just be for you.
Sign On The Dotted Line To Begin
Superliminal’s outline is you fall asleep, into a dream and you have to get yourself out. The premise is simple; however the methods are much less so. Getting from A to B requires firstly, working out what objects you can manipulate, and secondly, how you use those objects to achieve success.
The game’s narrative alongside the theming, keeps you constantly guessing; the moment you think you have a handle on it, is the moment the rug gets pulled from under you. This is fully intentional and considering the concept, works superbly well in Superliminal’s presented environment. Additionally, the tempo of the game is finely tuned, to exploit the dream-like immersion that the player experiences to its maximum.
Everything that is presented in Superliminal has a purpose; even the loading screens play their part! The visuals overall whilst aren’t ground-breaking, serve their purpose throughout; assisting the extremely strong theming and immersive factors.
Take Control Of Your Dreams
The controls are absolutely spot on. On steam, players have full choice between using a keyboard and mouse combination or using their gaming pad of choice. I opted to use a switch pro controller and wasn’t disappointed with my decision. The full customisations of button mapping and sensitivity controls are present to suit all player types. This is an important staple to the experience, especially when the game’s mechanical concepts, particularly in the beginning; require a lot of focus to comprehend.
Work Your Way To Awakening
The puzzles in Superliminal are centred around three factors; perspective, misdirection and illusion. This may seem like a limited range, but the applied depth and variation of these factors over the course of playing, creates a wholly impressive puzzle set. Additionally, whilst there is repetition of some of the set pieces, there are justified reasons for this; linking it to the overarching concept and immersive qualities.
My only criticism of Superliminal lies in chapter 6. It is very easy to lose your way and end up getting stuck, with nothing to tell you so; all because you made a single wrong decision. If this does happen, just restart from checkpoint in the pause menu and don’t identically repeat the same steps; try at least one thing different next time.
Because of the difficulty of some of the more heavily lateral-based puzzles, certain parts of Superliminal can be frustrating at times. There is no hint system either, however there are plenty of video walkthroughs available; often split into chapters making potential spoilers easy enough to avoid.
“It Came To Me In A Dream!”
During the first chapter, you would be forgiven, like me, to mutter the foolish words…
“Oh, this is a Portal clone.”
It is certainly, certainly not the case.
Each chapter has something original to offer despite the (justified) repetitive elements. As you progress through the 9 chapters, theming and puzzles become more and more varied, immersion becomes more and more engrossing, and the whole experience becomes more and more exciting. It all comes together with a very satisfying ending too.
The Value Of Good Sleep Is Priceless
The price point, is around the £16 mark for all consoles. For that you get a main attraction that will keep you busy for at least 3 hours. On top of that, once completed, there are 3 additional modes including the aptly named challenge mode; which breathes new life into the main campaign. Furthermore, Pillow Castle Games are a small games development company, and I’d go as far as to say that this package could be priced slightly more, and still be a fair deal for the consumer. Getting it for less than that is an absolute steal.
For The Daydreamer Or Dreamweaver?
Fair warning; this game requires a lot of lateral, out-of-the-box thinking. Is it not a conventional escape game. Some players may breeze through it, some may struggle quite a bit. Despite this however, the self-satisfaction of completing the puzzles presented, will make you “oooh” and “ahhh” as your brain releases endorphins for a job well done.
I’m not one to be easily impressed, however when the credits rolled at the end of my playthrough of Superliminal, I went cold; I sat in my chair and reflected on the experience. Then, I went and told everyone I knew to play this game. It is developers like Pillow Castle, that are creating the full package of immersion, challenge vs reward and original ideas; then, wrapping this all together at a price point that is of outstanding value.
Bottom line; it’s an amazing game, you will not regret playing it.
To play Superliminal on your console of choice, head to the developer’s page here.
Superliminal | Review
RussBuilds is an independent escape game designer. Here, he is writing on video games and escape rooms in the middle of the UK.