Doubleplusgood: Gridrunner++ Now Available Free

I haven’t played any version of Gridrunner so I’m not the best person to provide an informed opinion as to its psychedelic charms. It’s a Llamasoft game though and I do have some experience with Minter’s menagerie of hyper-colourful shooters. One of the games I spent many an evening with as a child was Revenge of the Mutant Camels and I was probably one of the few teenagers in Manchester who had gorged on digital happy pills and pixellated representations of Aunt Mary’s magical cigarettes, but had never even seen an illicit substance in the real world. Gridrunner doesn’t look quite as mad and news that the doubleplus version is now free to download should send a warming pulse of neon bliss across the cockles. You can find it here.

Minter had this to say:

“Some people asked about the PC version of GR++ so I have uploaded it for free. Take it, enjoy it, and if you feel like it support us either with a donation or by spreading the word and/or buying our upcoming Vita game TxK

Here’s some bloke called Kieron hyperventilating with excitement as he talks to Minter about the mooted remake of a remake of a remake, Gridrunner+++.

I should probably download Gridrunner right about now, eh?


  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    Man, such a backlog of things to play. This might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    • AimHere says:

      Indeed. Anyone wanting to see what Jeff Minter is all about should download this and have a quick goat it…

  2. tormos says:

    How long will these tedious fucking comments last this time? Editorial opinion at RPS is not going to change because of you making the comment sections vaguely annoying.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Say what?

      Looks interesting. I’ll give it a whirl and see how it plays. Might chuck a bunch of money towards the dev if the result is positive.

  3. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    Gridrunner was a prime example of Minter’s habit of getting bad guys and bullets mixed up.

    Some of them just made no sense – Iridis Alpha especially comes to mind, never figured out what to do.

    I do remember really enjoying Ancipital.

    • shimeril says:

      I played Gridrunner++ a lot when it was first released and really enjoyed it. Wasn’t particularly good at it, but it was fun. Just saw this article and had a go on it for the first time in years. And it annoyed the hell out of me. Guess I’m older, slower, grumpier and less tolerant of lots of colours strobing at me than I was back then. But Iridis Alpha I will love to bits until the day I can no longer drive a joystick. Make sense? I doubt any of Jeff’s games ever made any sense as such but the play mechanic was divine, switching between ground based to unload/recharge energy and flying at Mach 7 dodging equally quick enemies. Diving through gates to escape nasty situations to other worlds and then jumping back when you were kneedeep in bad stuff again. Wonderful.

      I understand it was never going to appeal to everyone but of all of Jeff’s games that I have played, and that’s quite a few, Iridis Alpha is the one that clicked instantly. And the utterly mental Hovver Bovver. Cannot hear English Country Garden without thinking of that game.

      So GR++? Worth a download if you have never played a Minter game to see what they are like. You may even like it, like I used to.

      • sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

        I was about 13 when I played Iridis Alpha. Probably the subtlety (and lack of instructions) went straight over my head

  4. GallonOfAlan says:

    Great little Jeff-style blaster, one of the few I’ve ever finished. Perfect for lunchtime.

  5. Oozo says:

    Is it more accessible than “Space Giraffe”?
    After what Kieron Gillen and Jon Blow wrote about it back in the day, I really wanted to appreciate it. Problem was, I simply was not able to “get” it — even after a good while, it remained a confusing mix of lights and sounds. If this one is a taste a bit less refined, I’m inclined to give it a go.

    • shimeril says:

      I’d say yes to more accessible than SG. I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s for years but I couldn’t get Space Giraffe either. I have friends who love it, it just wasn’t for me.

    • Rhygadon says:

      Definitely more accessible. I bounced off Space Giraffe too. GR++ has the advantage that it’s instantly accessible; you don’t need a manual or tutorial to play reasonably well. But then when you’re ready for more depth, it’s there in spades.

  6. Rhygadon says:

    To my mind, this is not only the most perfectly successful of Minter’s games, but a strong candidate for Best Old-school Shooter Ever. And I don’t mean that as hyperbole. I honestly think that it’s better than any of the arcade classics, or anything in the genre that’s ever appeared on PC.

    It’s a bit confusing at first, but nothing near the chaos of Space Giraffe. You can play it “straight”, and do OK. But then, oh, but then … eventually you realize that much of what you took for psychedelic noise is actually spare, precise signaling about what’s coming next. With practice, you’ll start to feel psychic, and you’ll be able to get through later levels that look flat-out impossible to anyone looking over your shoulder.

    This is my one desert-island game, and I’m not even usually a twitch gamer.

    Oh, and Minter wrote a short strategy guide that’s very much worth reading, but only after you’ve played a half-dozen games or so to get used to the basics:

    link to

    If you’re at all considering this … grab it!

  7. RobF says:

    GR++ is the absolute best of accessible Jeff. Every single thing is signposted, every sound and effect has a purpose and even in the middle of the most terrifying chaos in the later levels, nothing is obscured.

    It’s just a total master class in shooter design and somehow manages to do this with mouse control to boot. It’s just wonderful and the explosions? Dear me, they’re the best explosions since Robotron. The insanity of Spheres Of Chaos aside, nothing’s got close to the sheer pixel splendor of Gridrunner++, it’s an amazing thing.

    I still think Space Giraffe is his masterwork but I totally get why people get faced with what it is and step away from the computer slowly but GR++ is Jeff at full pelt in a way I’ve missed. Well, missed until I saw TXK anyway but that’s another story and another machine.

  8. Chorltonwheelie says:

    “Bonios of Doom” Peeeeeeyoooooooow!

    Love. love, love Minter.

  9. Stardreamer says:

    Wow. Memories of Llamatron come flooding back like, well, there’s an obvious drug reference I could make here, isn’t there? I used to adore Llamatron and its ilk….the Sheep-i-pede, the Screaming Mandys…that was some twisted genius, my friend.

    Looking at this, though…I dunno, I feel oddly…disappointed? Is this all that celebrated mad creativity can achieve? Tiny skill-based shooters that do nothing but resemble the ones we played 20-30 years ago? Laser-focused little nuggets of purest old-skool gameplay wrapped in the same ‘trippy’ visuals and the exact same bank of animal-themed sounds I remember from Llamatron?


    All that digital jazz seems to be wasted on one endlessly iterated album, and for a talent of Jeff’s supposed stature that makes me very sad for what he might have achieved outside of the cosy little Llama-print pullover he knitted himself into all those years ago.

    • RobF says:

      He made Space Giraffe which is more progressive than 90% of games made in the past ten years. Not bad going for a one trick pony really, man.

  10. pOcHa says:

    will always think of 1984 whenever I see a C++ from now on (and yes, I am a programmer)