Jeff Minter is set to unleash Moose Life this August. His latest game is another trippy space shooter staring a stampede of multicolored moose.
Jeff Minter, the creator of modern arcade classics like Tempest 2000 and Polybius, is unleashing his latest creation onto an unsuspecting PC audience in just a couple of weeks. Jeff Minter is a fiercely independent English game developer who has created games under the Llamasoft name since the early 1980s. American fans will probably know him best for his contributions to the Tempest series alongside Atari, where he updated Dave Theurer's original with trippy visuals and modern touches. He has also created several other Tempest-esque games, both with Atari's blessing and without. He continues to pop up every few years with an exciting new project that challenges the notions of what a modern video game can be.
Minter's last game was Tempest 4000, a collaboration with Atari that brings forward aspects of TxK, a PSN title that Atari sued the creator over. At the time of its release in July 2018, Tempest 4000 was being used as an example at trade shows of the type of game that would be available on the Atari VCS, a console/mini-PC/gaming device of some description that has eluded the marketplace to this day. Minter also appeared in an interactive episode of Black Mirror that paid tribute to the era of gaming where he first made his mark.
Just a few days ago, Jeff Minter unveiled the Steam page for his new project, called Moose Life, with very little warning. It's a self-described trance shooter, a genre that Minter himself states that he started with Tempest 2000 in 1994. Like many of his past works, Moose Life is an arcade game with colorful pixel effects and overwhelming visual clutter. As seen in the gameplay for Moose Life, the aim of many of his games is to keep track of your playable character amidst the visual noise, getting into a trance-state to achieve high scores.
Moose Life's gameplay showcases a multicolored moose firing beams of energy at stampeded of moosey brethren in a void of space. The moose can flip upside down to aim at new targets, and certain enemies explode into hordes of other animals, including "sheepies." Jeff Minter has also been experimenting with VR as a way to facilitate this trance state even better. Moose Life will support the Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift at launch, allowing players to wrap the playfield around their entire vision and dive directly "into the mind of Eugene Jarvis himself" as Jeff Minter puts it.
It's clear that while Moose Life draws inspiration from Minter's past works like Tempest 2000, it's also unique enough to stand up on its own. No one makes games quite like Minter in this day and age, and while Moose Life isn't likely to dominate the Twitch charts or shoot to the top of Steam's bestsellers, it does continue in a proud tradition of arcade shooters that many vintage fans enjoy. The final product goes on sale on August 12 and requires a controller, as no mouse and keyboard can replicate the arcade precision that a gamepad provides.