Top Critic Average
Polybius looks like a frenetic shooter that constantly has the player in a state of heightened tension, but the truly amazing thing about it is that it's almost the complete opposite in actual play.
Polybius' tempestuous pace and kaleidoscopic assault indulge its urban legend while its principled operation betrays its sinister infamy. It's a spiraling supersonic tunnel shooter that only seems like it's bulldozing cognitive ability, and parsing its putative chaos tips its scale from pandemonium to precision. By allowing fury to give way to Zen, Polybius lives up to its legend.
If too many games today entangle the mind with ceaseless complications, proliferating differences with only superficial distinctions in outcome, "Polybius" provides the feeling of having one's mind washed clean for a few moments, shaken free of clutter. Its biggest reward occurs in the moment when the headset is removed and the screen goes dark, a moment when it feels possible to see everything with what feels like new eyes.
Polybius is an excellent trance shooter which deftly delivers just enough sensory overload to thrill but not frustrate. While the lack of clarity about just what's happening on screen makes for a small but intended bump in the road, it's the strong core gameplay – which steadily introduces interesting twists to its formula the longer you play – stellar soundtrack, and excellent PlayStation VR support that'll blow your mind in all the right ways.
Even though it ended on a sour note for me with a few too many elements snowballing into an avalanche of hair-pulling frustration, on the whole, Polybius had me in a trance. I'm happy just thinking about it. PlayStation VR owners, Jeff Minter fans, and arcade enthusiasts need to get in on this.
A superb distillation of every arcade game Jeff Minter has ever worked on, creating one of the definitive action games of the current generation.
Llamasoft's latest is one of its best.