When a creation is made many years ago that brought joy to so many people, how does one create that joy and revamp it in a way so that more of a mass can enjoy it? You allow for a familiar vibe of those that played it along with a new exciting tone for those who may be new and bring it all into the world of Virtual Reality. So well is this experience from Developer Llamasoft? Let’s find out with Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 for the PlayStation VR.
Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 consists of two games from Developer Llamasoft; Goatup and Gridrunner and before we can really get into what makes this experience a special one, you have to know about little bit about the history to understand. Back in 1982, Jeff Minter wrote the series that is known as Gridrunner which is a shoot’em up where you move from left to right while controlling a small ship while you try and shoot enemies and try to survive their attacks. Gridrunner was first released on the Commodore VIC-20 system and has even released on iOS.
Goatup is the first platformer from Llamasoft and was released in 2011 on iOS where you control a goat going from left to right and jump upwards in order to eat grass, meet with other billy goats, and even have kid goats that follow you all while trying to reach as a high of a level as you can and score as many points as you can. But as simple as the concept may be, what really brings the modern twist, is how well Virtual Reality is used in these two games.
This brings us to the present and with Minotaur Arcade Volume 1, you do have a choice of playing in Virtual Reality or not. Playing in Virtual Reality and seeing how well Llamasoft makes explosions pop in Gridrunner and the colors come alive in Goatup. But with shoot-em-up games like Gridrunner, you expect a couple of things and the thrill of survival as well as the anticipation of what the next powerup may be. Not only that, but you will notice a couple of things once you start getting further into the levels. The enemies will start to get wilder and the levels themselves almost bring a life of their own that I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next.
But we all love the different modes when it comes to games and Gridrunner does have a few choices for you to enjoy. There is Pure in which you see how high far you can get and do your best to get the highest score. Endurance has it where once you start, you cannot earn any extra lives which is an awesome way to test your skills and hand-eye coordination. And the last mode is Casual, where any level that you have reached with your best-ever lives and score at that point.
This brings us to Goatup, where I mentioned earlier you must try to climb as high as you can as where you move from side to side trying to eat all the grass and other things that may pop up (don’t be afraid to eat anything here no matter how trippy it may make things), kiss other goats, keep your kid goats nice and safe as they travel with you all while you are trying to reach as many levels as you can and do your best with the highest of scores.
Then we have Goatup where you must climb as high as you can as a nanny goat and not only are you trying to get as high as you can, you must try and raise all the kids you can along the way. If you happen to see any other billy goats on your climb, make sure to kiss them and make sure you also keep eating grass (and don’t be afraid to eat anything else that may spring from the ground as well) and eventually you’ll be rewarded with a kid. Keep having kids and they will follow you in a long queue. The more kids you have, and the higher you climb, the more points you will score and try to avoid enemies or falling off the levels of the tower.
Both the sound and graphics you can tell were made years ago and that is part of the retro beautifulness here. It allows us to see how far games have come and at the same time showing us how much fun they are when they are giving a second life within Virtual Reality. Playing both Gridrunner and Goatup and having the particles of light and the colors just come at you in a way that only Virtual Reality can is something and when you add global leaderboards to the mix, Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 needs to be experienced and should be in your library.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some leaderboards to climb.