Perception is reality. In this mind-bending first-person puzzler, you explore a surreal dream world and solve impossible puzzles using the ambiguity of depth and perspective.
Publisher: Pillow Castle
Reviewed on: PS4 (Pro unit)
Also available for: PC, Xbox One
Developer: Pillow Castle
Game Director: Albert Shih
Level Designer: Logan Fieth
Art Director: Steve Allen
Perception is everything in Superliminal. The puzzle game in which you can pick up a normal-sized chess piece, place it at the end of a room and discover it’s now at your height upon approach.
Inside a dream state, you’re being put through several tests by a Dr Glenn Pierce. Things start weird, but simple enough to follow. Grasping how perspective enlarges or shrinks objects isn’t the problem, it’s what you do with them.
You’re introduced to the mechanics through some simple puzzles in the opening level, — placing objects on buttons to open doors, or using forced-perspective to enlarge cubes to reach new areas. Sometimes you can’t bring an item through certain doors — there’s some story explanation, but we all know it’s the serve the puzzles — so you must think outside the box. In the first chapter, for example, you can drop a tiny cube in front of you as you look up at the edge of a wall and it’ll fall to the other side much larger. It’s all perspective, of course.
Later in the game, you learn to trust nothing. Is that door going to collapse when I open it? Maybe. Will this cube turn into ten when I lift it? Possibly. It becomes Christopher Nolan’s Inception as you dive deeper inside your dream, inside another dream, and so forth. Things get very weird with life-size trompe l’oeil paintings.
The puzzles get much more complicated and I couldn’t imagine playing this pre-launch on PC as I had to look up the solution to a handful of puzzles. There’s no in-game hint system or help which is disappointing.