Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 Review: Arcade games for the modern high score hunter

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Arcade games are like potato chips. In the same way that you can’t just have one potato chip, you can’t play an arcade game only once. There will always be a higher score than yours to beat and if there isn’t, you have to try and get an even higher one. With Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 you get two modern yet old school arcade games to try and perfect your skills at.

The Llamasoft team

Both games are made by Jeff Minter and Ivan Zorzin from Llamasoft and Minotaur Project games. As much respect as I have for these people and their ability to create original and quirky games, my favourite thing about them is still a certain page on their website. This one in particular. Just because it is full of cute animals.

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Two in one

The two games in this volume of Minotaur Arcade are quite different but they do have a few things in common. They both incorporate a modern take on classic arcade game mechanics and they both have strangely warping 3D worlds. The goal in both games is to rack up the biggest high score you can and then show off to your friends or something. I can see this being a big magnet for high score hunters.

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Gridrunner

In the first of the two games you play as a little ship that shoots little bullets at little things. But a boatload of little things is still a hell of a lot of things. So your screen gets filled up with little things trying to kill you before you can say “Ok, so what do I do?”. Fortunately there are things that help you survive this glorified bullet hell, like power-ups and bombs. Grid Runner is a fast paced little game that gets so intense that it puts hair on your chest.

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Goat Up

In the second game you play as a goat that jumps up a never-ending, cylindrical mountain. Eat grass and collect sandwiches, cakes, other goats, floppy disks, princesses and many other things to gain points. Try and avoid oxen, or if you insist on touching them at least pick up some speed before you do so. That “bops” them and they don’t hurt you. Otherwise you may fall off the mountain and meet your horrifying goat death. There is one good thing about dying in Goat Up and that is the sound of a yelling goat that plays as you fall off the mountain. Oh and the mountain is constantly scrolling up and you have to stay in frame or you fall.

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If you get far enough the map changes and so do the enemies. Everything turns blue and you leave a rainbow trail wherever you step. You also get little goat children along the way and that leads me to my favorite moment from this game. I let a colleague of mine try Goat Up. He got really into it and when he got hit and lost a baby goat, he yelled from the top of his lungs “I lost my child!”. In other circumstances that would not be funny but in this case I died laughing. Maybe there is something wrong with me…

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Conclusion

Minotaur Arcade Volume 1 is a wonderful blast from the past with quirky and interesting gameplay. The fact that it includes 2 different games gives it quite a bit of variety and lets you choose which game you want to play at any given moment. Minotaur Arcade is out now on Steam. You should also check out their website.

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