I’ve always been a fan of first-person puzzle games, going back to the days of Myst. This year we already had the excellent The Sojourn, and now I’ve finally had the chance to sit down and complete Pillow Castle Games, Superliminal. Superliminal is a complete mind-fuck of a puzzle game that places you within your dreams and will have you constantly questioning your perspective, enamoring you with its puzzles right up until its conclusion.
When Superliminal begins, you’re already dreaming. You’ve come to this dream world to try and sort out your real life, or that’s what Dr. Glenn Pierce (who runs the Somnasculpt program) keeps telling you. You’ll need to solve a series of puzzles that increase in difficulty and think outside of the box in order to wake yourself up. What is the reason that you’re taking part in this program and why are you experiencing these specific dreams? These are the questions that will continue to propel you forward.
Controls are simple. You can jump to reach ledges and pick up/rotate objects. Once you’ve picked up an object, you can move it farther or closer to your face and drop it in order to increase or decrease the objects size. Manipulating objects is how you’ll gain access to new areas. A tiny alphabet block that a baby would play with can be increased to the size of a house if you want it to, so you can use it to climb up to a previously unreachable door. It’s a cool little gimmick that leads to some very interesting puzzles.
Superliminal isn’t meant to be a scary game, but it does verge into horror territory at some points. It’s so subtle when it does happen that I was actually quite terrified, never knowing what to expect afterwards. This bright, colourful dream world that I was exploring could quickly change into a nightmare at any moment. It’s impressive how Superliminal can subvert expectations. Even the voice of the woman you’re hearing explain how the entire dream process works sounds kind of like Glados from Portal. You never feel quite safe while you’re playing.
The puzzles themselves are pretty easy to solve, but they’ll give you enough of a challenge that you’ll still feel like a badass after solving them. I’m sure there are plenty of secrets throughout each environment to find that would explain the type of person that you’re playing as, but first-person puzzle games like this are usually a one and done for me. It’s a fantastic experience the first time, but once you have figured out the solution to a puzzle, there isn’t really any way to diverge from that solution again.
Superliminal doesn’t take very long to finish (roughly two hours) but it never overstays its welcome and is a unique puzzle experience that you should definitely try at least once. Go into this one blind for sure. – NVJ
Superliminal is now available for PC on the Epic Game Store
PC review code provided by Evolve PR