Here’s a question of the philosophical variety: when is an on-rails shooter not an on-rails shooter? In the case of Run of Myden, a room-scale game in which you can move around on a floating platform that itself travels a set path, I think we have an answer. Though only in Early Access, this VR debut from Virtew surpasses many of the more simplistic linear action games I’ve seen in recent weeks and months with its active, engaging gameplay.
Run of Mydan is one of those games that comes seemingly from out of nowhere. It’s already buried under a pile of other SteamVR releases, but it’s worth dragging up through them and shining a spotlight on it. In the game, you control an entity that’s shackled to a moving platform. As your stand glides through the sky you’ll need to defend yourself from incoming enemies and obstacles that attack from all directions. Even at this early stage, the game has an impressive fluidity and a gorgeous graphical style.
You’ll start out with the ability to generate glowing orbs that can be hurled at enemies and obstacles, as well as a shield to block incoming attacks. Your platform can shift slowly from side-to-side, but you’ll need to depend upon your own movements to avoid certain dangers.
Run of Mydan is a refreshingly challenging experience, in that it only ever does some slight hand holding for players. Throwing orbs has an element of automated strength to it, for example, but if you’re to get past the game’s bosses you’ll still need to practice making perfect throws. That’s especially true when you get new weapons like a javelin that requires you to mightily hurl the weapon overhead, olympian style. If you struggle with throwing stuff in VR then, truth be told, this might not be the game for you, but it’s worth putting in the practice to get good.
That said there may be some space to cater toward a less able crowd. As someone that can throw as far in VR as he can in real life (read: not very far at all), I found an early boss encounter that requires a kind of precision I simply can’t muster to be too challenging, even if I loved having to side-step his sword swipes. An added assist option would be highly beneficial for players like myself.
Adjustment issues aside, actually playing Run of Mydan is a wonderfully breezy and liberating experience, provided you have the space not to worry about unwanted collisions. Frantically lobbing orbs with one hand, while blocking incoming shots with the other all while looking out for impending threats keeps your brain in an enticing and addictive loop that you’ll want more of. Leaning out of the way of swinging axes and rotating blades while fending off a legion of drone-like enemies had an air of stylish superheroics to it that many superhero VR games can’t actually capture.
Better yet, you can see the game’s content with a friend in a co-op mode if you so choose, or take them on in multiplayer matches. I couldn’t find anyone to play with when I logged on but if you’ve got someone you can convince to take a chance on this with you I suspect you’ll both end up delighted.
Special mention must also be given to the game’s vibrant world, which somehow feels first-rate and AAA quality despite lacking in fine details and high resolution textures. The scenery benefits from some dramatic sights off in the distance, while monsters give the linear path you walk a sense of life beyond its walls. It really feels like you’re traveling through a brave new world.
I’ve only played a slice of Run of Mydan’s Early Access offering, but I’m excited to watch it develop into a full product over the coming weeks and months. If Virtew can keep the fluid action going for an entire campaign and get enough of a player base to build an online community, this could be one of the unexpected champions of VR gaming.
Run of Mydan is available in Early Access on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for $19.99.