Impressions – Superhot: The Card Game’s complexity is well worth the effort to learn

After contributing to its massively successful Kickstarter campaign from earlier this year, I just recently received my own personal copy of Superhot: The Card Game. As you might have guessed from its name, Superhot: The Card Game attempts to take the iconic concept of the Superhot PC/console game (a first-person shooter/puzzle game in which time only moves when you do) and transfer it to a card game format that can be played either solo or with other people.

While it’s not the most straightforward or easy-to-learn card game out there, Superhot: The Card Game is still pretty darn fun to play once you get the hang of the rules, or at least I think so based off the various games I have played so far.

Moving Down The Line

Superhot: The Card Game has a variety of different components and moving parts, so it’s a bit hard to explain the entire concept in just a few sentences. During a standard solo or co-op game, your goal is to complete a series of goals spread across three levels of play (with each level becoming harder since there are more goals that have to be cleared).

The player (or players) work towards completing these goals by using a personal deck of player-specific cards to manipulate a series of “obstacle” cards, six of which are always set out to form what is known as “the line,” and prevent any of the various losing conditions from taking place.

Much like in Superhot proper, Superhot: The Card Game involves elements like bullets that must be dodged and/or destroyed (bullets that are left alone often end up in the player’s hand, and having four or more bullets in your hand means you lose), red dudes that must be defeated (otherwise they “shoot” you and thus increase your likelihood of encountering more bullets), and difficult choices that can sometimes mean the difference between victory and defeat.

For example, playing cards from your hand can help you gain a more advantageous position and even clear a goal or two, but for every card you play, a card is also discarded from the line, which means that if you try to play too many cards at once, you can unintentionally sabotage your efforts during subsequent turns or even subsequent levels.

Leveling Up

One of the main things I discovered as I became more and more familiar with Superhot: The Card Game and its various rules is that one of the main keys to victory is drawing the right goal cards at the right times. The specific goals attached to goal cards can vary wildly from fairly easy (having a certain number of cards in your hand at once) to downright cruel (only having three bullets left in the “bullet deck,” virtually guaranteeing that later levels will be a right pain in the butt since you’ll always be one bad draw away from losing), so there is certainly a small measure of luck involved in winning.

Superhot: The Card Game’s reliance on luck-based elements may put off more traditional gamers, but unlike other card games that often appeal to video game players like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, there really isn’t such a thing as a total inescapable loss in Superhot: The Card Game. Bad luck can always be managed to a degree, and if you get sick of losing solo games, you can always just play co-op and take satisfaction that you and your partner did your best together.

Many Ways To Play

During the few weeks I’ve played Superhot: The Card Game, I have only managed to play a series of solo matches and a small handful of co-op games. There are more advanced rulesets and modifiers you can utilize (including a straight up competitive versus mode if competitive card games are more your thing), but they’re intended for more advanced players and I don’t feel me or the people I played co-op with are quite at that caliber of skill yet. Hence why I wanted to frame this article as an impressions piece and not a straight review.

Yet so far, I’d say that Superhot: The Card Game would make a solid addition to any board/card game collection, if only because of how well it transfers over the fun and unique concept of racing against time in a first-person shooter/puzzle environment, and because it’s a game that can be played solo, cooperatively, or competitively.

If and when I do get to try some of the more advanced game types (including the competitive mode), I might do a more formal review, but for now, I’d say there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t give Superhot: The Card Game a shot if the concept already sounds interesting to you.