Polybius (2017 video game)

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Polybius 2017 cover art.jpg
ReleaseMay 9, 2017
Genre(s)Shoot 'em up

Polybius is a 2017 shoot 'em up video game developed and published by Llamasoft. It was released in May 2017 for the PlayStation 4, with PlayStation VR support available. A version for Microsoft Windows was released in December 2018. The game takes its name and inspiration from the fictitious 1981 arcade game Polybius. It was positively received by critics.


Llamasoft's Polybius is a fast-paced 3D shooting game with elements of racing games. The game's play was designed to minimize virtual reality sickness[1] by the use of continuous forward motion with limited abrupt changes and no interruptions to gameplay other than controlled breaks at the end of each level; however, the game does include intense visuals.[2] Although designed as a VR game, Polybius is fully playable in 2D on a standard PlayStation 4, and also includes support for 3D television output.[3]

Development and release[edit]

In 2016, Llamasoft announced a game called Polybius for the PlayStation 4 with support for the PlayStation VR.[4] Polybius was added on the PlayStation store on Tuesday May 9, 2017.[5] In early marketing, co-author Jeff Minter claimed to have been permitted to play the original Polybius arcade machine in a warehouse in Basingstoke.[6] He later more realistically stated that the game was inspired by the urban legend, but does not attempt to reproduce its alleged gameplay.[7] He said it was instead based on his interest in the ability of video games to induce the psychological state of flow (also called "being in the zone")[8] and his own observations of positive psychological effects as a result of playing VR games, most notably the unreleased VR version of TxK.[7] Minter also cited influence from multiple other classic games including Space Harrier, After Burner, the 1983 vector game Star Wars, S.T.U.N. Runner, Zarch and quite possibly NanoTek Warrior. .[9]

On July 13, 2017, industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails released a music video for the song "Less Than", featuring a woman playing Polybius.[10] Llamasoft later described the version of the game used in the video, a custom build running on the PC with user configurable effect sequencing.[11]

As of November 7, 2018, the game page on the Steam store is live, with a Q4 release date, playable in VR or non-VR. On December 21st, 2018, the game was released for PC.


Polybius received positive reviews from game critics. On review aggregator Metacritic, it holds an average score of 84 out of 100, based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12] Metro called it "one of the definitive action games of the current generation".[16] Eurogamer awarded it a Recommended trophy, labeling it as "magical" as well as one of Llamasoft's best works.[15] The website also ranked it 44th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017".[17] The game was nominated for the Coney Island Dreamland Award for Best Virtual Reality Game at the New York Game Awards 2018.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Polybius Description Page".
  2. ^ "Polybius - PSVR Review". May 15, 2017.
  3. ^ "Polybius - PSVR Review". May 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Machkovech, Sam (October 7, 2016). "A video game called Polybius is actually coming out. Will it kill you?". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Polybius on PS4". PlayStation Store. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "Sample the ludic psychedelia of Polybius". October 7, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Polybius: Early Days".
  8. ^ "A History of Llamasoft" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Polybius: Influences".
  10. ^ Seppala, Timothy J. (July 13, 2017). "Nine Inch Nails' latest video taps into gaming legend". Engadget. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Machkovech, Sam (July 13, 2017). "Trent Reznor's cold call led to an awesome game-filled Nine Inch Nails video". Ars Technica.
  12. ^ a b "Polybius for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  13. ^ Devore, Jordan (May 19, 2017). "Review: Polybius". Destructoid. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  14. ^ "Polybius". Edge. August 2017. p. 118.
  15. ^ a b "Polybius Review". Eurogamer. May 12, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Polybius review – prepare for a trip". Metro. May 12, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  17. ^ Eurogamer staff (December 26, 2017). "Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2017: 50-41". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  18. ^ Whitney, Kayla (January 25, 2018). "Complete list of winners of the New York Game Awards 2018". AXS. Retrieved January 27, 2018.