Jeff Minter is back on PC with a trio of VR-optional games today, one of which is so cool that Nine Inch Nails made a music video about it. Originally for PlayStation VR, Polybius is – as you’d expect – a trippy thousand-mile-an-hour arcade shooter with hypnotic visuals, although today’s PC release can be played on a regular monitor too. Also out today is Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 – remakes of Llamasoft’s arcade shooter Gridrunner and iOS platformer Goatup, extruded into the third dimension and also playable in VR. You really should watch the NIN video below.
Update: Unfortunately the VR support on PC is for Oculus Rift only – no Vive support at present.
Polybius (named after the urban legend of a sinister arcade machine) is what happens when Minter plays around with VR. It’s a neon headlong dive through a tunnel filled with traps and lasers and explosive death with a pulsing techno soundtrack. It’s easy to see why this would work better in VR as the sense of speed on a high refresh rate headset must be dazzling, but it’s optional now. While fast and arcadey, it’s also gentle in its structure – no bosses, no big difficulty spikes, and a Game Over only brings you back to the start of the latest section reached. This PC version was used in the music video below – better than any trailer.
As for Minotaur Arcade Volume 1, it feels like Minter is experimenting with some of his older ideas. Rather than just remaster the Vic 20 Gridrunner, this version re-imagines it as an early 80s arcade game, albeit with its pixels rendered as voxels, enabling you to smoosh your face right up into it if you have a VR headset. Goatup is a remake of one of his iOS games, originally rendered unplayable by Apple’s updates. It’s a simple arcade platformer about a nanny goat eating things, rescuing kids (of the goaty kind) and climbing a massive tower full of threats, now rendered as a 3D tube stretching endlessly upwards.