In Superliminal, we find ourselves participating in a sleep therapy experiment with the Somnasculpt device, which promises to send our consciousness into a perfectly lucid dream. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and we are unable to wake up, trapped in an absurd and nonsensical dream reality.

Superliminal, previously known as Museum Of Simulation Technology, was developed by the small independent studio Pillow Castle Games from Seattle. Initially released for PC on November 12, 2019, it later expanded to Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One on July 7, 2020, and finally to the next-generation consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X/S on November 21, 2022. It is a haunting yet relaxing puzzle game set in an induced dream from which we cannot wake up.

Dream or Reality?

As mentioned in the introduction, the line between wakefulness and sleep is very thin in Superliminal. We are indeed inside a dream, yet we can control our actions and interact with the environment in ways that would be impossible in reality. But I’ll get to that later. Our main problem is that something went wrong with the Somnasculpt device, and suddenly we are unable to wake up! No, not even realizing we are dreaming. Terrifying, isn’t it?

This simple yet powerful concept is a winning card for the Seattle team: who hasn’t jokingly entertained the remote possibility of being trapped in their own mind? A thought that has already inspired literary geniuses like H.P. Lovecraft in the past century, and has not lost its terrifying charm over time. Just consider the phenomenon of liminal spaces, which has been popular on the web in recent years. The brilliance of the product is in how we can manipulate the environment. You know those dreams where physics and optics make no sense and seem to follow their own laws? Well, imagine being able to dictate those laws yourself. And you’ve got Superliminal.

A Matter of Perspective

We don’t need to familiarize ourselves with many commands or complex mechanics. The numerous puzzles mainly revolve around collecting and especially manipulating the properties of various objects. As we make our way through the rooms, we will soon notice that perspective is everything in Superliminal.

For example, if we pick up an object far from us, it shrinks because our perspective makes it appear smaller than it really is. Of course, we can also enlarge objects. Do you realize how versatile and deep the system is? The possibilities that arise from it? Exactly… Brilliant.

We will also find ourselves navigating through trompe-l’œil illusions (literally “deceives the eye” in French), the painting technique that induces the observer to perceive painted objects on a two-dimensional surface as three-dimensional. Just as our eye is deceived by the magnificent ceiling of the Treasure Room of the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara, in the more advanced puzzles of Superliminal, we will have to find the right angle from which to look at two objects on different surfaces to reconstruct a three-dimensional image. In addition to showing great creativity on the part of the developers, such a system also stimulates the player’s mind, ensuring great satisfaction.

Get Me Out of Here!

The environments of Superliminal are pleasant and well-crafted, although they convey a continuous sense of anguish and isolation. The clean graphics contribute to heightening the oppression, thanks to vivid colors and complex textures. Some out-of-place objects and absurdities constantly remind us that we are dreaming and that we need to find a way out. An unmistakably robotic voice belonging to an AI dispenses suggestions and comments from time to time, and those who have played the King of puzzle games (Portal) will recognize the clear inspiration to the sadistic and charismatic antagonist of the game. I’ll leave it to you to discover whether this AI really shares characteristics with GLaDOS. The brief story is not lacking in twists and delights; it would be a shame to spoil it.

Although the game’s pace is anything but frenetic, it will be difficult not to be seized by a growing sense of urgency as we navigate through increasingly illogical and dreamlike rooms. The difficulty of the puzzles naturally increases, with highs and lows, always playing more on optical and perspective illusions. The longevity is short, but it is necessary so as not to risk falling into the repetitiveness of the puzzles. To increase it, there are numerous well-hidden secrets in the corners of our dream, often very audacious and really unintuitive. Occasionally, we will be allowed to deviate from our predetermined path, and it is worth seeing what the guys at Pillow Castle Games have hidden around.

Getting the Hang of It

Every time we formulate this thought, Superliminal manages to contradict it in some way. The puzzles can be extremely varied, never losing their charm even in the deeper sections of the dream. We will often find ourselves desperately manipulating objects, trying to find the right perspective or reasoning on how the heck we should press that unreachable button. We must continually think outside the box, learn to manage this strange tangible dream, and realize that we are the ones who can bend it. Initially, it is not easy to get used to, and this can generate a certain degree of frustration, depending on our patience.

The environments are also diversified. They never deviate from their irrational nature, yet they always result well-defined and memorable. You can see in every pixel the care and love poured into this project; I would venture to say that it reaches the levels of some AAA titles on the modern market. We want to wake up from the dream, but it even fascinates, captures us. The power to influence reality is intoxicating, and it makes a guaranteed impression even on the most resilient of players.

A Strange Sense of Familiarity…

As you can easily imagine, the rooms of Superliminal often feel like something we’ve already seen… in our minds. It doesn’t take much to understand that this comes from the fact that each of us has experienced at least once a similar experience in our dreams. The combination of this with the unlimited fantasy of being able to play with perspective at will makes this product an almost unique work, in its own way innovative and bold. Not without flaws, like some graphical oversights, but after all, we are dreaming… let’s justify them this way. Definitely a title not for everyone, but inevitably destined to occupy at least a small space in your memories. Grab the controller or mouse and close your eyes. Sweet dreams.

Superliminal, the review: trapped in an endless dream

“Who hasn’t ever jokingly entertained the remote possibility of being trapped in their own mind? The brilliance of the game is in the way we can manipulate the environment. You know those dreams where physics and optics make no sense and seem to follow their own rules? Well, imagine being able to dictate those laws yourself. And you’ve got Superliminal.”


  • Fascinating and powerful setting
  • Masterfully reproduced sense of unreality
  • Highly imaginative puzzles
  • Perfectly conveys isolation and anguish
  • Rich in secrets
  • Requires thinking outside the box…


  • Extremely limited longevity
  • Some graphical artifacts
  • …and for some, it can be discouraging


I’ve been a gamer, amateur writer and technophile since 2006. I personally prefer games that can offer a good challenge, and I’m a great enthusiast of retrogaming. I love to dissect every single backstory behind messages, development and secrets of videogames, which I consider proper work of arts.