A puzzle game that pushes you to see things differently.

Superliminal is a game that time after time after time suggests to you, hints to you, or outright tells you that everything is a matter of perspective. It is a game that tells you that though you believe a puzzle to be impossible, the solution could be staring you right in the face.

Superliminal is a game that takes these simple ideas and attempts to create an entire game with that in mind. You are taught that signs can become steps or an alarm clock can be climbed in certain situations. You learn that anything can be as big or as little as you desire, just so long as you look at it just right. Superliminal is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve but never quite manages to reach the same level of story or presentation as its predecessors.

At its heart, Superliminal is a straightforward puzzle game. Moreover, while you may have had the pleasure of experiencing puzzle games that urged you to alter your environment in creative ways, there are few, if any, which have you altering your environment to such drastic degrees as this game will. This is a title that attempts to push the boundaries of your mind, past what you consider to be possible within reality.

The core mechanics of Superliminal are about how you handle scale. An object that is typically huge in scale suddenly becomes small and manageable as it's brought "physically" closer to your person. Likewise, a small object like a chess piece suddenly becomes multiple stories tall when moved away from your view. It is a simple idea but the ways in which it's executed in unique ways will have you exclaiming "a-ha" right up to near the end of the game.


Developer Pillow Castle Games took great care to ensure that Superliminal never repeats the same exact puzzles over the course of the game. However, it does build and expand upon ideas that you learned previously to create harder and more dynamic puzzles as you progress. It seems odd that I have to highlight something like this as a positive, but there are a number of puzzle-focused games that hammer on just one note for too long. I'm just glad that this is not one of them. It also works out in Superliminal's favor that you will get through the game in about three to four hours for your first play through. It feels like a very appropriate length of time, especially for it being priced at just about $20.

As mentioned previously, Superliminal is a game that has some clear inspirations from other popular puzzle-focused games out there. Some of the obvious influences seem to be games like Valve's Portal franchise and even The Stanley Parable. The game boasts a very clean, pleasing aesthetic. The environments won't distract with any superfluous eye candy, allowing your mind to focus on solving the puzzles instead.

The inspirations are not just found in the visuals. The story is furthered along by audio recordings of a male doctor and a somewhat snarky robotic female narrator. Try to do something you are not supposed to and you can expect to get an earful. Stop me if you've heard that one before. I think the parallels between this and Portal are obvious without much else needing to be said. Still, the bits and pieces of humor are a great way to break up whatever bit of stress you may have after you just spent 15 minutes overthinking an obvious puzzle solution. Additional bits of humor and story can be found throughout the environments, especially if you pay attention to things like whiteboards.

There were only a few times where I felt the puzzles and their solutions didn't quite fit with the flow of the game. It was not as if these puzzles wanted you to do something drastically different from what you were already doing, but rather they just seemed like they were made and shoehorned in after the rest of the game was already made. I can only assume that they were added to pad out the game for a bit longer. I do not think that they were bad puzzles, just a little out of place.


Superliminal challenges players to change how they perceive their environment in order to progress. This works both for and against the game. While it may take you a little to start thinking outside of the box, sometimes literally, it soon becomes second nature. You start to look for the things around you that can be shrunk, enlarged, or used in abstract ways. After so long in Superliminal, that abstract becomes the norm and some of the sense of wonder begins to fade.

Superliminal seems to end precisely when it should. Had the game gone on any longer, it would have certainly overstayed its welcome. Would I like to see more puzzles like this in the future? Yes, eventually. Right now, I just need some time in the here and now to let my mind forget about these types of abstract puzzles.

To their credit, Pillow Castle Games ended up giving me precisely the type of gaming experience I wanted to see from them almost half a decade ago when I first followed their YouTube channel. Their tech demos were a treat and while it may have taken the team several years to produce a finished product, I would say that the wait has been worth it.

Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Additional Information
  • Superliminal
    • Developed by: Pillow Castle Games
    • Published by: Pillow Castle Games
  • Price: $19.99 (USD) via Epic Games Store (timed exclusive)
  • Initial release date: November 12, 2019
  • Platform(s): PC
  • Hardware used: i7-6700K at 4.5GHz, 32GB DDR4-2666, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti, Windows 10 64-bit Version 1903
  • This game was provided to Total Gaming Network for review purposes.