Superliminal Is A Benchmark For Modern Puzzle Games

A liminal enthusiast's acid trip.

Story Highlights

  • Superliminal is a puzzle-based game developed by Pillow Castle Games and designed by Albert Shih and Logan Feith. 
  • The concept of liminality and lucid dreaming plays a huge part in the feeling of not belonging in Superliminal. 
  • Anxiety-ridden puzzles, chaotic background music, and a feeling of derealisation are what selling the game so well. 

Superliminal is an interesting mix between an indie-hidden masterpiece and a fairly popular piece of media that most niche YouTubers have covered. I was first introduced to the game through a friend who let me play it on her laptop in 2021, and I fell in love with its art style, narrative direction, background music, and overall liminal aesthetic.  

With such a masterpiece amidst us, it’s a shame that it hasn’t been covered more, and Pillow Castle Games really hit it out of the ballpark with this title. While the game has been out for 5 years now, I still aim to try to convince you that Superliminal is in fact still one of the most unique games ever made, and all the aspects that make it feel like an acid trip. 

YouTube video

Anxiety-Inducing Puzzles 

Feelings of anxiety in Superliminal.
The gameplay experience is an anxiety rush | Source: Reddit

Superliminal throws the players directly into the game by introducing it with an ad about Somnasculpt, which promises a better future for people who take part in staying at their facility. It essentially places a focus on “sleep therapy”, but Superliminal straight-up murders any chance of therapy that you might get within 2 minutes of playing the game. 

The first few encounters I had while playing it induced feelings of anxiety within me, a feeling of being lost, and feeling like I did not know where I was. While I was trying to figure out the different-sized chess pieces, the breakable Rubix cubes, and the ever-changing sizes of each puzzle piece, it became very clear that it was all about perspective. 

Superliminal does a fantastic job of putting perspective into its puzzles, and one of my favorite mechanics was where you could look in a certain direction and the puzzle pieces would increase or decrease in size. 

The Hallways Resemble The Backrooms

Hallways being eerie and uncomfortable in Superliminal
Hallways resembling the backrooms | Source: Youtube

Ever been in the backrooms? Neither have I, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have the experience of getting lost in one. While playing Superliminal, I came across countless rooms that featured backroom-like aesthetics. Rooms such as the storage areas, or the long, narrow hallways felt never-ending, giving it an even more eerie feeling. 

As the game progresses, you get introduced to newer rooms and challenges, and you can stray off the path. Suddenly, the music stops, and you are surrounded by green-painted, dimly lit rooms, and it leaves you feeling detrimentally lost. There is no rhyme or reason to each room, and in every room that you progress through, it feels like you keep losing a part of yourself moving forward. 

Liminality And The Fear Of Not Belonging 

Getting lost in the liminality in Superliminal
Getting lost in the liminality of the elevator | Source: YouTube

While the concept of liminality is pretty common, it is interesting to see how a game can tie the theory of liminality with avid lucid dreaming. Since Superliminal revolves around the concept of lucid dreaming and being stuck in it, there’s a consistent back and forth in the game. 

As you find yourself wandering in the hallways from your suite, there’s a sense of dread that overcomes your entire body. Towards the end of Superliminal, there is a point where you need to run through a series of elevators while fast-paced music plays in the background.

I remember that part making my heartbeat go from 80 to a solid 103+ in a matter of seconds, and while I was trying to run through the elevators to make an escape, I was running left, right, and center to find a way out. The music, the urgency of the entire situation, and the consistent feeling of dread all tie together perfectly. 

Liminality also comes with a sense of soothing, while also instilling a fear of not belonging in you. A place that could feel like home, but is not quite home. A great example of this is the suite that you are assigned in Somnasculpt Institute, where the hotel room is very homey, but as soon as you step out, you no longer belong there. 

A Personal Touch 

Dr Glenn Pierce Superliminal
Dr. Glenn Pierce and his wholesomeness | Source: Reddit

If liminality is what you seek in Superliminal, then alongside that, expect the unexpected, as Pillow Castle aims to reignite the feeling of “being in touch with reality” while still making you experience feelings of derealisation. 

At several checkpoints in the game, you will encounter a cassette player, and as you click it, a person softly introduces himself by saying, “Hello, my name is Dr. Glenn Pierce.” Being voiced by Max Howarth, Dr Glenn Pierce is the grounding that most players yearn for while facing severe anxiety and derealisation amidst the chaos. 

Dr Glenn Piece and his soothing voice feel like home, and it feels like a warm hug, a home that you can return to when you’re feeling too overwhelmed. 


With all of this out of the way, Superliminal is a brilliant masterpiece. Everything leads in from the entrance ad that greets you into the game, to the background music that softly plays in the back constantly throughout your gameplay, to the feeling of loneliness.

Combine that with the chaos in the middle, the feeling of dread, fear, and anxiety raging in your body as you escape the elevators, Superliminal knows how to do It all. 

While the puzzles do tend to feel a bit redundant here and there, I still think it is a game that everyone should play at least once, if not for the puzzles, then treat it like an art museum with consistent liminality at your disposal. It’s an absolute rollercoaster for liminal enthusiasts. 

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Mina is a Senior Guides Writer and a fanatic who’s obsessed with playing games and writing about them. She’s invested more than 2,500 hours in games like Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, she loves to write detailed guides for beginners and pros in the Gacha Games world. You can follow Mina's gaming activity on her Steam and PSN Profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years

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