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Last month a new VR game launched on Steam that may have gone under most people’s radar, but quickly got high praise among those who played it. The game by developer Rune Skovbo Johansen is called Eye of the Temple, and the reviews on Steam (covered in greater detail further down) proclaim it to be not only mechanically groundbreaking with an unprecedented level of immersion, but also simply one of the best VR games created.

Find Eye of the Temple on Steam

The game has players taking on the role of an adventurer exploring an ancient and treacherous temple. On one hand, they have a wooden torch, and on the other, a fully physically simulated whip used not only for combat but for solving puzzles as well. This can for example be by grabbing a lever out of reach with the whip and then pulling back to toggle it. The mix of puzzles, action, and exploration is packed into one single big environment, where players occasionally get new abilities that unlock access to new parts of the temple grounds.

The game’s big trick

The game’s biggest trick is to let players explore this vast temple complex solely using their own feet and body, with no thumbstick locomotion or teleportation needed. This is what so many reviewers say creates a level of immersion not seen elsewhere. The game pulls this off by having players step onto carefully arranged platforms, some of which are moving back and forth.

The catch is that the game requires a play area of at least 2m x 2m. Not everyone will be able to make room for this, though some reviews say it’s well worth moving some furniture around to be able to play the game.

So why hasn’t this been covered more widely? The play area requirement might be one factor, but developer Rune Skovbo Johansen, who has been developing the game solo over the past five years, isn’t sure it’s the primary one. Rather, he suspects it’s more the fact that he’s an unknown developer with no existing track record, who doesn’t have the same PR and marketing experience as more established developers and publishers. Still, he hopes more people might discover the game over time and get to see for themselves what those glowing reviews are raving about.

What do those glowing reviews say?

Capturing the essence of over 100 reviews is no easy task, says Johansen, but he has put together the following summary, with links back to 27 of the original reviews.

A slew of reviews highlights the uniqueness of the game, saying it’s “a refreshing change to see a new game form in VR”, that there’s “nothing like this in VR”, and that it’s an “instant classic”. Others write that it’s “some of the most creative VR gameplay of any VR game”, that it’s “nothing short of genius”, and that “this dev is some sort of mad genius”. Some write that it’s “a revolution in Virtual Reality” because “the motion system is completely revolutionary” and that it has the “potential to create a whole new genre in VR-Games”.

According to the reviewers, what makes it so innovative is that “being able to actually walk through the entire game in your play space is just mind-boggling and super immersive”, making it “one of those rare mind-blowing VR experiences”. Some say that the game “does otherworldly things with your mental perception” that “makes you forget you are in VR” and that as a result, “the immersion level is off the chart” and it “takes VR immersion to a new level”.

For some reviewers, that level of immersion made this VR adventure the “most ingenious and thrilling VR game”, speculating that “if Steven Spielberg or George Lucas made VR games instead of movies … this is the VR game they would come up with” because it “captures perfectly the whole Indiana Jones vibe”, so that “if you want to feel like Indiana Jones, this is the closest you could ever get”.

Overall, lots of reviewers say it’s “one of the best VR experiences” and “one of the greatest VR experiences of all time”. Several foci on room-scale, calling it “the best Roomscale VR Game” they’ve played and the “the best room-scale experience out there”. Some say it’s the “2nd best room-scale game” next to Half-Life: Alyx and that they “haven’t had this much fun since playing Half-Life Alyx”. Others think Eye of the Temple surpasses it and is simply the “best VR game”. One reviewer didn’t limit it to VR and said: “I’ve been playing video games for 30+ years, and finding ALL the secrets in Eye of the Temple was easily the most satisfying moment I’ve ever had in a game!”.

Of course, if you would rather sample some of the reviews yourself, you can see all the reviews on Steam here.

“I am blown away and humbled by the response,” says Rune Skovbo Johansen and adds that he also wants to give his deepest thanks to all the people who are helping spread awareness of the game.

Eye of the Temple is out now on Steam for SteamVR-compatible headsets including Oculus, Valve Index, Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality.

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