It sometimes feels like we’ve forgotten something about the magic of room-scale VR. The need to traverse bigger worlds has given way to the fine, if unconvincing means of smooth movement, but there’s real power in putting your own two feet in front of you.
Eye Of The Temple doesn’t forget that. In fact, it embraces it with open arms.
This long-in-development PC VR title from Danish solo developer Rune Skovbo Johansen finally has a free demo to try. And, in a strange way, it’s Indiana Jones antics are both a nostalgic trip back to the early days of PC VR and a potent reminder of the physicality that can really root you in the experience. Check out some of our demo gameplay below.
First things first: you need at least a 2mx2m meter space to play Eye Of The Temple. Even then, a little extra wouldn’t hurt to give you peace of mind when stepping across chasms. Inevitably, this will place a strict limitation on the number of people that can actually play the game, but the trade-off is necessary. You sheepishly side-step between moving platforms, flaming torch in one hand, whip in the other. Across the campaign, you’ll need to negotiate various obstacles as you progress through each environment, with evolving challenges and ideas (hopefully) keeping things fresh.
It’s an idea we’ve seen elsewhere, like in the excellent Tower series, but four years of development has left Eye Of The Temple polished and tactile. Some platforms, for example, are actually rolling blocks that you’ll need to walk backward on to avoid falling off. It’s a brilliantly clever idea to keep you moving, making great use of the space around you.
I haven’t played the whole demo but even from about 30 minutes of playtime, I was introduced to a steady flow of new ideas, like stone pillars obstructing moving platforms that I’d need to dodge. There’s also some light combat with the whip, which is a tough thing to master. I suppose with some authenticity in mind, it never quite does what you want it to do, though I spent longer than I’d like to admit trying to get it to wrap around levers.
At times I inevitably found myself getting tangled in wires and, naturally, longing for the freedom of Oculus Quest. Unofficial streaming from Virtual Desktop is obviously one way to go if you can, but I’m holding out hope for a native port too. Johansen says he will investigate a port after full release, but doesn’t have any concrete plans at this time.
A throwback to those more limited days of VR accessibility, then, but in all the right ways. Eye Of The Temple can be dizzying and unnerving, but if you’ve got the space you should absolutely check the demo out. You can head over to Eye Of The Temple’s official Discord to request access to the demo via Steam.