Physically walk, balance, and whip your way through this uniquely physical VR puzzle platformer.
After four years of development, Danish independent game developer Rune Skovbo Johansen has finally released a playable demo for his long-awaited room-scale VR experience, Eye of the Temple, offering players the chance to step into the shoes of Indiana Jones and physically walk, balance, dodge, and whip their way through a temples worth of vertigo-inducing environments using their own two feet.
Available now on SteamVR via the games official Discord, the Eye of the Temple: First Steps demo opens up a generous portion of the games treacherous temple, allowing us the chance to navigate a variety of booby traps and moving platforms using our own bodies. Armed with only a whip and fur felt fedora, you’ll be tasked with navigating your way around a plethora of dangerous obstacles by solving puzzles and dodging deadly traps.
This is where Eye of the Temple sets itself apart from many other VR platformers; instead relying on artificial locomotion or teleportation, players physically move throughout their play spaces using their own two feet, resulting in a far more engaging immersive experience.
“It’s hard to convey from first person footage alone the way you get around everywhere with just your own feet, without teleportation, artificial locomotion, or other distractions taking you out of the immersion,” said Rune Skovbo Johansen in an official release. “The new mixed reality trailer shows it better, and now with the demo you can get to experience it for yourself too.”
Despite the game requiring such a large amount of physicality from the player, only 2m x 2m of space is needed in order to play. This is due in large part to Johansen’s deceptively simple map design. In order to transport players over vast distances while simultaneously keeping them confined within their play spaces, the developer makes heavy using of floating platforms, rolling barrels and various other moving elements. This allows him to strategically reposition the player in-game while maximizing their real-world play space.
It’s difficult to explain in words. Luckily, Johansen has included a killer mixed reality trailer as part of the demos release in order to better showcase the physicality of the game and its impressive map design.
Sometimes, however, your path will be blocked by various obstacles and booby traps. Using your whip you can activate certain triggers and levers, allowing you to access new areas and items. This will also come in handy when battling enemies, such as giant flying beetles. You’ll also be equipped with a torch which can also be used to triggers certain events. While exploring be on the look out for clusters of valuable red rubies floating throughout your space and hidden within ancient pots.
Once you’ve mastered the temple, or at least the portions available as part of the demo, you can try your hand at the speedrun mode. In this nerve-wracking game mode, each step you take increases the speed of each floating platform and rolling barrel, eventually devolving into a chaotic cluster fudge that could prove nauseating for even the most seasoned VR user.
While those who’ve yet to develop their VR legs may feel a bit of motion sickness initially, especially when it comes to the rolling barrels, Eye of the Temple offers a refreshing change of pace from the artificial locomotion present in most other titles. Upon first hearing about the project back in 2016, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to explore its unique locomotion-driven environments, and suffice it to say the First Steps demo did not disappoint.
Those interested in trying it out for themselves can request access to the free demo over on the official Eye of the Temple Discord.
Image Credit: Rune Skovbo Johansen