At PAX South this year, I had my first real time with Virtual Reality.  I used the HTC Vive to play Lightning Rock’s Marble Mountain.  Built as a conglomeration of Marble Madness and Indiana Jones, the 4 guys at Lightning Rock look to capture that nostalgia and feeling of adventure to make a hit.  Let’s roll on.

I only got to play the first two levels using the Vive, and first, let me say that being completely cut off from everything around you is bizarre.  No dancing lights or distractions, it adds a level of focus I wasn’t quite prepared for, but embraced none the less.  In the game, I was playing as a cats-eye marble with an Indiana Jones’ style felt fedora.  There will be multiple types of marbles to play as and hats to collect and wear in the game.

The controls wear fairly spot-on in the levels I was playing.  The marble felt as if it had weight and physics to it as the marbles in Marble Madness did back in 1984.  I almost wrote that the controls felt a little more forgiving than Marble Madness, but in truth, it may be a little closer to reality.  You know, if marbles had consciousness or were automated.

Being that I was in the first couple levels, the game was not immediately challenging, but I’m guessing that difficulty can ramp up quickly.  The level design looked good with bumps, challenging terrain, moving platforms, elevators and alternate paths to provide the kind of adventure you would expect from this game.

I loved Marble Madness back in the day, and am definitely looking forward to seeing all that Marble Mountain has to offer.  What I played at PAX was certainly fun at the time, but I’m curious to see what Lightning Rock does to sustain that level of fun while providing a sense of adventure and a need to have increasing levels of challenge.

Marble Mountain will be releasing on Steam in 2016.