Our dreams often excite, arrest and scare – sometimes all three of them at the same time. Superliminal is a puzzle game that tries to explore those feelings and fuzzy logic that exists only in our dreams. Impressively, it causes a lot of emotions that we experience during sleep. Unfortunately, using dream logic to solve real puzzles also brings a lot of frustration.
Superliminal is a first-person puzzle game that plays with forced perspectives. One of his strongest tricks is how he allows you to use your perspective to manipulate objects. For example, if you hold an apple close to your face, it looks bigger than it really is. In Superliminal, you can take advantage of this, so when you hold small objects close, they really get bigger. It works both ways, and I got a real buzz from tearing down giant houses from the horizon to shrink them so I could put them on the table as if they were an accessory for a doll. This promising manipulation mechanics is really neat, and I had fun squeezing large objects so that they could penetrate tiny holes and enlarge small cheese wedges to create ramps to the doors of the second floor.
As Superliminal develops, its puzzles naturally develop. However, things are rarely what they seem, and the developer of Pillow Castle constantly meets your expectations. For example, one day I reached for a box to watch it fall apart in my hands. Some Superliminal levels are not a mystery, as they are interactive optical illusions, and the environment will change and deform as you move. These points are neat, but they can also be confusing, for example, when you go through a doorway and suddenly find yourself falling through the floor.
The study of the illogical Superliminal space is new, unfortunately, it also leads to one of the biggest drawbacks of the game: sometimes it is difficult to understand what the player requires from the game. At one point, I was stuck in a looped corridor. Each time I tried to leave the area, I again entered the same place. I ended up solving this puzzle by touching a specific object every time I passed, but the game never told me why I had to do this or how it allowed me to progress. Many of the Superliminal puzzles offer smart solutions, but I sometimes get stuck in a dumb situation that made me scratch my head even after I came across a solution.
This whole trip experience is wrapped around a free narrative of waking dreams. When the game opens, you wake up in a clinic ready to take part in an experimental dream therapy program, but it quickly becomes clear that you are trapped in your own mind. The founder of the clinic, Dr. Glenn Pearce, sometimes sends you cheeky messages that make fun of new century therapy and ultimately encourage players to look at the world from a different perspective. Superliminal humor is pretty harmless, but jokes don't always land, and history leaves no lasting impression.
In general, this is how I feel about Superliminal. When Superliminal mechanics worked, I felt like I was involved in a magic trick, but when they did not, I felt that the developers were joking with me. I was both surprised and disappointed with the Superliminal game, but I didn’t really think about the game after its title collapsed. Like a fading dream, Superliminal is also a little ephemeral.