Superliminal, Image Pillow Castle

‘Superliminal’: A Puzzling Game Where Perception Is Reality.. Or Is It?

Entertainment Video Games

What is Superliminal?

Superliminal is a video game that uses your perception of size, depth, and relative location to create some totally unique and challenging puzzles for you to work your way through.

Warning: At the beginning of the game, players are warned that it contains “flashing lights and contrasting visual patterns which may trigger seizures in some people.”

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

Age Rating

Superliminal is rated ESRB: E. The PEGI rating seems to be a bit confused with Xbox rating it PEGI 7 but Playstation rating the game PEGI 12. Personally, I’d place it firmly in the lower level and have no problems with younger kids playing, although there are some rooms with what appear to be bloodstains. Younger players will almost definitely need adult help to figure out many of the rooms.

What Appears to Be a Door Might Not Be Upon Closer Inspection, Image Sophie Brown
What Appears to Be a Door Might Not Be Upon Closer Inspection, Image Sophie Brown

Available Formats

Superliminal is available on:

Minimum System Specifications:

Windows:

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.0GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVidia GTX 750
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Storage: 12 GB available space

Mac:

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Sierra 10.12
  • Processor: 2.0GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 460
  • Storage: 12 GB available space

Superliminal Trailer:

Gameplay

In Superliminal, you are a patient at the SomnaSculpt Institute where you can explore dream therapy, guided by a computerized female voice. Soon, however, you’ll quickly find yourself going off course and confusing your hosts. As you try to find a way out, you’ll work your way through dozens of puzzles of varying complexity.

The object of the game is to make your way through each room to the exit and in this way, it is much like Portal. To do this, you will need to make use of perspective. For example, if you need to climb to a high ledge, you could pick up a small cube sitting on a table and place it near the ledge in the distance, thus making it bigger when you approach. It’s kind of hard to get your head around when written down, so I suggest you sit and watch the trailer and/or first few minutes of gameplay to help you wrap your head around what is going on.

Some of the other uses of perspective are clever indeed. A corridor that appeared from a distance to be blocked by a large chess piece was in fact clear – the chess piece was painted in an elongated style on the floor and wall. In other rooms, I had to stand in a certain position so that my point of view allowed strange paintings on the wall to fit together and manifest into a physical object I could use. In later levels, other abilities will become available such as multiplying objects instead of moving them. You will need to think not only outside the box to get around this game but also inside it, around the corner from it, and turning it entirely inside out – personally, I had to resort to walkthroughs more in Superliminal than any other in recent memory.

One issue I did find was becoming stuck in a room and having to reset the level. For this puzzle, I had to escape through a series of two doors, the first led to a small room I could see inside, and the second door led out of that small room and into the next section of the game. The doors were triggered by a pair of pressure pads, so I had to embiggen an object and place it across both pads simultaneously in order to progress. I placed the object down and went through the first door, but as I did do, my object slipped and fell off the pads, trapping me between the two now-closed doors. This was frustrating because the “restore to the last checkpoint” option made me restart the level entirely, however, this was the only difficulty I experienced while playing.

Dr Glenn Pierce Leaves You a Message, Image Sophie Brown
Dr Glenn Pierce Leaves You a Message, Image Sophie Brown

As well as your female AI guide who speaks to you over the building’s tannoy system, you will also frequently come across old-fashioned radio sets where you can hear the friendly, Scottish voice of Dr. Glenn Pierce, director of SomnaSculpt. Dr. Pierce also tries to help guide you on your journey, in a manner of speaking, although he mostly likes to inform you about just how lost you are on your journey through the SomnaSculpt program. In fact, reassuringly, for most of the game, the people in charge have no idea where you are!

At the end of each level, you will find an elevator. Entering this ends your level and saves your progress (saving also takes place between most of the main rooms, look out for the save logo in the bottom right corner) and you will wake up in your room once again to start the next level, after switching off a varying number of alarm clocks. Despite my initial fears, the game does have a defined and satisfying ending, although there is clear potential here for a sequel too.

Standing in the Correct Position Reveals a Moveable Chess Piece, Image Sophie Brown
Standing in the Correct Position Reveals a Moveable Chess Piece, Image Sophie Brown

Expansions and In-Game Purchases

There are currently no expansions or in-game purchases in Superliminal, although a soundtrack album is available for those that enjoy the music.

Superliminal Verdict

Superliminal is very reminiscent of Portal for many reasons. Obviously, the basic premise is similar as you are trapped within an institutional style building working your way through rooms and trying to find their exits, but there’s more than just that surface-level similarity here. The artificial female voice who talks to you on occasion, and the increasingly ominous messages left on whiteboards and graffitied onto walls as you progress also add to the general Portal vibe. That being said, Superliminal is a very different game indeed and doesn’t feel in any way derivative. Instead, this feels like a totally new take on a familiar premise.

Some of the Messages Found Throughtout Superliminal, Images Sophie Brown
Some of the Messages Found Throughtout Superliminal, Images Sophie Brown

While Superliminal is slow-paced with no apparent threats (unlike Portal, armed robots never appear to take potshots at you not will you be faced with deadly lasers or any other dangerous objects), there is still a sense of foreboding that creeps up on you as you play. You’ll begin the game by signing a Terms of Service document you can’t read, and as you continue, you’ll discover more and more ominous things. The clean, crisp rooms give way to cluttered support areas, strange rumbling sounds are heard, and odd messages are left for you to read. One level, in particular, gives the impression that we are entering a horror environment with blood trails and handprints, but as always in this game, nothing is quite as it first appears.

Toward the very end of the game, Superliminal could become a little repetitive but due to its short length (one rare trophy is earned by completing the entire game in under 35 minutes if you want an idea of how fast it can be completed in a speed run) and engaging plot this feeling never had a chance to really take hold. Having completed the game once, I’m already tempted to go back and work through it again, trying to take it more details now I’m familiar with how to solve each room. Most of the room solutions were obvious once you figured them out (or resorted to a walkthrough) but there were a few I would never have thought of myself!

Door, or Brick Wall? Image Sophie Brown
Door, or Brick Wall? Image Sophie Brown

With its relaxing piano music and slow-paced style, Superliminal is a great game for a chilled out evening as you slowly work your way through its seven levels, and I would highly recommend it for couples or even families to play together over an evening or two.

GeekMom received a copy of this game for review purposes.

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekMom and GeekDad on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *