Experience the music in a new way. Feel it pulse around you. The Polynomial is a 3D space shooter with unique, fractal based scenery that animates to the music.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (350 reviews) - 76% of the 350 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 15, 2010

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Reviews

“I could easily look at this game all day”
GiantBomb

“...the prettiest screenshots in the world.”
RockPaperShotgun

“This is less a game and more of synapse-melting visualisation experience, where you stare into the alluring psychedelic void of possibilities, never quite sure where you're going or whether you'll ever come back.”
7/10 – Eurogamer

Polynomial 2 is coming

Polynomial 2 is coming soon to Early Access.

About This Game

Experience the music in a new way. Feel it pulse around you.
The Polynomial is a 3D space shooter with unique, mathematical scenery that animates to the music. And this is not some boring mathematics. This is fractals. There are worlds to explore, ugly enemies to kill, pretty allies to protect, bonuses to collect, and scores to beat (if you are into this sort of thing). It also includes arena editor and a non-shooting mode in which you can simply explore and rock out to your music. The game comes with 50 minute soundtrack; you can also import your music and playlists or even use the microphone input. There is a great variety of options that you can adjust for your own ultimate visual experience.

Key features:

  • Dynamic universe animated to music of your choice or microphone input.
  • 50 minutes of original soundtrack.
  • Unique 3D graphics and effects.
  • Highly configurable visuals, music, and image post-processing.
  • Full featured editable music playlist.
  • Support for anaglyph 3D glasses and the common 3DTV formats.
  • Joystick support.
  • Built in arena generator and editor.
  • 35 hand-picked arenas.
  • 4 music visualizers to choose from.
  • Innovative scoring function.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, 32 or 64-bit
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 1.8GHz, AMD Athlon 2GHz, or better
    • Memory: 1GB
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 7600 or better, ATI Radeon® HD 2000 series or better, with 256MB video memory (512 MB recommended). Intel HD cards may hang up or have very low framerate.
    • Video: OpenGL: 2.1 , GLSL: 1.2
    • Hard Drive: 100MB
    • OS: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later. (10.5 is not supported)
    • Processor: Intel Mac 1.8GHz or better
    • Memory: 1GB
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 7600 or better, ATI Radeon® HD 2000 series or better, with 256MB video memory (512 MB recommended). Intel HD cards may hang up or have very low framerate.
    • Video: OpenGL: 2.1 , GLSL: 1.2
    • Hard Drive: 100MB
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, fully updated
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 1.8GHz, AMD Athlon 2GHz, or better
    • Memory: 1GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 7600 or better, ATI Radeon® HD 2000 series or better, with 256MB video memory (512 MB recommended). Intel HD cards may hang up or have very low framerate.
    • Hard Drive: 100MB
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (350 reviews)
Recently Posted
Shadowrunner
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 24
Yep, it's a wallpaper generator lacking actual gameplay, but damn, the visuals are simply mesmerizing.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
nmflanders
( 9.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 23
I bought this game for the visualization and exploration, not the actual shooter. This is great for just floating through space enjoying the trippy visuals reacting with your music. The 3d shooter is alright, but never really grabbed my attention. There are TONS of options to adjust the visual and audio experience. I just turn off all enemies, hide the on-screen HUD and enjoy the view!

I know its been almost 6 years since the release date but adding support for the Oculus Rift and Vive would be amazing!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dyne
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 6
A lot of the positive reviews seem to be from people who are blown away by late 90's winamp visualizations. If that's what you're into, this is for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cammy (she/her)
( 31.8 hrs on record )
Posted: May 3
if you're looking for an awesome visualizer with some gameplay look no further
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SkooP
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
What do Enya, Rage Against the Machine and Igor Stravinsky all have in common?

This game. That's what.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cane McKeyton
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 19
I wouldn't really call this so much a proper game and more like an interactive audio visualization program with game elements. That being said, if you look at it from that stand point it's still a very beautiful program and a unique way to experience your music if you need a break from Audiosurf
Helpful? Yes No Funny
William Anthonio Zeppeli
( 3.3 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
Personally, I enjoyed this "game". ok so the actual game play is nothing special; just another 3-D shooter. However, that isn't the draw to this game, it's more about the enviroment and it's interaction with your music. Now with that said exploring each enviroment was a blast and even with the faster and/or louder songs I felt very relaxed and amazed at each enviroment. so with that said if you want a cool and trippy visualizer to you music I would recomend this to you but if you are looking for a 3D space shooter you'll more than likely be disappointed.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jen_erzsebet ほんしつ
( 14.5 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
- 'Be your own DJ.' -

The Polynomial catapults you into a space arena, with colorful stars and lights illuminating your endless surroundings.
Controlling your own little spaceship, shooting 'enemy' objectives and gather power-up items makes it feel like an all classic space-shooter game.
It’s more a case of floating around, attacking anything that comes in your direction, exploring the intriguing and trippy world.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=602627619
Customize your own playlists while navigating along gorgeous environments, tweaking the settings to the style of music, flying around and listening to your favorite songs.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=567639290
The editor mode gives you plenty of freedom to mess around on over 30 custom designed maps, by changing the fov or adding post processing effects to your game.
The developer did a beautiful job, making the game analyzing your music and syncing it to their individual beat, starting from simple classic, jazz or dubstep and R&B.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=602630634
+Visually refreshing and unique game.
+Easy gameplay with lots of graphical options and customizable playlists.

The only downside, after a while it'll appear to be the same over and over once you've gone through all maps.

Verdict:
Overall, I had a great time exploring and enjoying playing with my own music. The flashing lighting effects can be trippy for the eye, so not an 'everybody's' game with the massive amount of crazy color particles on screen.
I still recommend anybody to give it a try!


8/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jack3d
( 3.3 hrs on record )
Posted: March 12
7/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Fionnbharr1
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: February 29
Man I wish I had a projector. And the kind of friends who associate acid-wash jeans with acid, and think that fractals are like, super cool. Or friends.

Instead, I have this neat little tool whipped up by somebody who thought fractals were like, super cool, and decided to turn an underlying abstract-math tool (which you can see by clicking to the appropriate tab of the in-game options) into a stylized 6DoF 'arcade' shooter. And there's a rythm(/beat) component, where you can select the visualizer on the fractal-based convoluted planes to pulse all sorts of (usually blinding-but-invigorating) colors, adding to an overall ethos that's mostly "look at all the neat ways I can use geometry and a simple game to make the bright colours move". Or you could just set the visualizer to 'relativity', and zoom all the way out as the game pauses, because dude, we're like, so tiny.
Headcase jokes aside, what this game shows more than anything is someone who really loves the graphics card in your computer, and built an experience around it. The shooter 'game' aspects are minimal; you only really get the best appreciation of what's there when you set it to peaceful so you can just look at what's there, and that seems to be kind-of the point. To play with not the little nihilist-pacmen but the level engine itself, and think about the numbers and equations that go into making the thing you see in front of you. Which is a little bit more of an intellectual engagement than the 'psychadelic' tag would make you assume, but hey, take what you can get.

Overall, as a frequently-dirt-cheap little curio, I'd say it's worth picking up for you or a friend complex-analysis major, but half the game's in the options menu, and if you're an uninspired plebe not the type for that, you're going to run out of content pretty quick.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Baron von Bullshit
( 11.4 hrs on record )
Posted: February 9
The Polynomial is a pretty trippy first person shooter space music visualizer that features the ability to use your own music as well as the games built in soundtrack. Perhaps the best features are the built in stereoscopic 3-D mode and the wealth of additional options.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[VG] Zyurat
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: January 25
Bear Simulator 10/10 IGN Would screensaver again. Better than Witcher 3. GOTY This Year ALL YEAR. STEAM PLS
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Argus
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: January 9
The game didn't like my music selection or my graphics card. I kept losing, but couldn't figure out why.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Kishmond
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: January 5
Tries to be a music visualizer and video game and fails on both counts.

The visuals are okay. The connection to the music is not very strong but settings can be changed. It's kind of moot though because if you focus at all on the game side of things you don't notice. The gameplay has nothing at all to do with the music. It's frustrating and feels pointless.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lord Kaio
( 0.8 hrs on record )
Posted: December 16, 2015
This is a strange game but it has a pretty decent soundtrack and if you're a high score chaser, the challenge ramps up enough to make it worth a go. Overall though, there isn't much depth.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
my phone is phuked
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: December 10, 2015
dude weed lmao
Helpful? Yes No Funny
rself_boro
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: November 24, 2015
I have no idea what's going in this game, how to play it or what the rules are. Looks nice though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Allen
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: October 25, 2015
It simply looks beautiful. I find it to be much more of an "experience" than a game, but it's definitely a worthwhile experience when you're in the right mood. Very glad I got to play this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
^ATB^ Psycold
( 3.8 hrs on record )
Posted: September 24, 2015
A++ This game has a cool soundtrack but if you don't like it...add your own music! I like to put on some chillstep or some ambient techno and the game changes your surroundings to the music! As simple as this game is, it is a trip to play! You upgrade by grabbing icons and then blast the heck out of anything that moves! Addictive, trippy, fun, and cheap! Crossplatform as well. Highly recommend if you are looking for something casual and out of the ordinary.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dank N' Donuts
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: September 17, 2015
Cool at first, but even though there are a wide variety of maps, I made the mistake of expecting this game to be a kind of open world procedurally generated game, but its just small maps that get old after 5 minutes. And the particles only are cool for awhile until you realize that all they do is just vibrate to your music, they dont shift and change that much.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 24
Yep, it's a wallpaper generator lacking actual gameplay, but damn, the visuals are simply mesmerizing.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
57 of 59 people (97%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
14.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 17
- 'Be your own DJ.' -

The Polynomial catapults you into a space arena, with colorful stars and lights illuminating your endless surroundings.
Controlling your own little spaceship, shooting 'enemy' objectives and gather power-up items makes it feel like an all classic space-shooter game.
It’s more a case of floating around, attacking anything that comes in your direction, exploring the intriguing and trippy world.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=602627619
Customize your own playlists while navigating along gorgeous environments, tweaking the settings to the style of music, flying around and listening to your favorite songs.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=567639290
The editor mode gives you plenty of freedom to mess around on over 30 custom designed maps, by changing the fov or adding post processing effects to your game.
The developer did a beautiful job, making the game analyzing your music and syncing it to their individual beat, starting from simple classic, jazz or dubstep and R&B.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=602630634
+Visually refreshing and unique game.
+Easy gameplay with lots of graphical options and customizable playlists.

The only downside, after a while it'll appear to be the same over and over once you've gone through all maps.

Verdict:
Overall, I had a great time exploring and enjoying playing with my own music. The flashing lighting effects can be trippy for the eye, so not an 'everybody's' game with the massive amount of crazy color particles on screen.
I still recommend anybody to give it a try!


8/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
73 of 76 people (96%) found this review helpful
19 people found this review funny
Recommended
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 23, 2014
I do NOT recommend this game to discerning gamers. I HIGHLY recommend this game to someone who is looking for a cool thing to have on one's LED Projector wallscreen while playing phat beats or haunting melodies from one's "altered states of consciousness special music" folder.
I use Winamp's milkdrop for the beginning of the party, and then when guests are looking to relax and play simple mindless no-consequence gaming in the smoking room we switch to the Polynomial and the music never skips a beat.
Also, I understand the game does get more challenging when you crank up the difficulty, and that's the only way to get the higher level achievements, but I don't use this game for gaming.

The game mechanics are great. You fire your inobtrusive, silent weapon and attempt to hit an enemy this is often impossibly far away, carefully compensating for the great distance by projecting the target's trajectory in your imagination. That's hard to do, so this game is a challenge.

Its best features are the silent weapons fire and the silent seamless transition from getting silently shot to death by nazi robots to silently respawning; your music won't skip a beat, so people in the next room won't go, "Hey, what happened to the music!?"

Also, this game may cause people on drugs to stop talking and stare for a long time. Get an LED projector is my point.

On a side note, have any of you other reviewers actually done acid? This game will not cause you to become every person who has ever lived, so it does not feel like an acid trip. That being said, you should smoke the stuff that was recently legalized in your state before playing
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36 of 40 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 5, 2013
The Polynomial is a trip. Though there is a game hidden here, one that would most easily be described as an aerial combat shooter, a more appropriate term would be "sensory experience". I spent the majority of my time doing nothing more than floating through an endless space, with equal amounts of awe at what was happening before me and curiosity over how certain songs would be represented within the game or how tweaking different settings might transfigure the sky around me (virtually everything can be edited to you liking).

The neon light show of particles and bloom effects is by itself mesmerizing to look at, but when pared with the proper music it becomes something truly breathtaking. The song playing in the background directly influences how the visualization looks and behaves, and when they mesh together it creates something that is impossible to describe with simple words, nor one screenshots can do any justice.

The Polynomial has limited appeal to be sure, and after the initial novelty staying power is put into question, but regardless I can't help but urge those even partially interested to give it a few minutes of their time. It is truly unlike anything I've ever played, and something that really must be experienced first hand to comprehend its artistry.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
29 of 30 people (97%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2014
Load up your favourite tracks, sit back and enjoy the strangely trippy yet relaxing experience that is Polynomial.

Don't expect any story, or in depth mechanics from this title. You're essentially a floating entity in space that shoots giant cannon balls that look like a cross between Pac-Man and Bullet from Mario. You can collect power ups along the way that do a small upgrade for a short amount of time, however I didn't really feel any difference.

There are other games out there that offer a similar but more frantic experience to Polynomial, however I think Polynomial might be the only one that offers the chilled/relaxed angle on the musicially generated action genre.

In short, Polynomial isn't really a game, but an app that you can casually relax in while you listen to some of your favourite songs.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
87 of 133 people (65%) found this review helpful
26 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: September 22, 2011
forgettable characters
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
42 of 57 people (74%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 22, 2014
screensaver simulator
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
21 of 22 people (95%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
This is a brilliant music-based game. Beautiful artwork interspersed with game-play you can choose intensity level on. My favorite is listening to some very chill electronic music and fly around while I trip on my substance of choice. Very recommend much amazing!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
20 of 22 people (91%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
208.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2014
Ok, here's how to get the most out of the game.

1. Turn off the enemies.
2. Turn off the hud (press H 2 or three times).
2. Switch the "map" every so often manually if the song that's playing isn't spectacularly visualized.
3. Screw around with the settings (beat/melody) for each song/map to see if you can optimize the experience. You have to be creative and experimental.
4. Add your own music once you get the hang of it.
5. Use this as a christmas card for a loved one. The "Christmas" map goes with "Jingle."
6. If you stay still, it looks like the little friendly beings are crawling across your screen.
7. Try and find a good view which includes the "Sun" and most of the particle effects. Stay still for a bit.
8. Try and "dance" to the music by moving along the particle effects, kinda like surfing on soundwaves.
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15 of 15 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
The Polynomial is great: when high. Seriously, I'm not even gonna lie about it. The visuals are spectacular. Fractal-based landscapes with blazing colours and a handful of presets to change up the mood. As for gameplay, it is simple. You've got allies that look as if they've just arrive from a different plane of existence (the Ancients of Stargate SG-1 come to mind), and enemies that look like pacman. You kill your enemies with a dual gun. But WHILE doing that, you've got some stoner metal blazing in the background, and a visual spectacle that anybody on a good high can appreciate. When this is on sale, I recommend you buy it.
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 16, 2013
Oh my! Oh my, oh my! That is really all I can say for this game. It is absolutely beautiful. Depending on the music you put with it, it can be relaxing, hectic, chaotic, blissful...anything! If you do not own this game, GET IT NOW! Might I recommend using the song called 'Promise' from Thomas Bergersen's 'Illusions'.
Honestly this is a rival for audiosurf and in many ways more than a match for it! I cannot recommend this enough!
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
17.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2013
Best LSD trip without illegal substances. Plus for animated visuals in time with your own choice of music.

Ah, ♥♥♥♥ it, it's simply the best game, ever.
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 8, 2015
Enhance your music.

The Polynomial is a music game that provides an awesome relaxing experiece.

I would say it's more of a gamified 3D music visualizer than a true game by itself; and what it does, it does surprisingly well. You just really feel your music blasting all around you and shoot enemies, though that's not required if you'd prefer to just sit back and truly relax.

It isn't going to satisfy you if you're looking for a space shooter with some depth, but for a casual music trip, it's perfect.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 5, 2015
I had never seen or heard of this game before this morning. The preview video looked interesting, and the gameplay seemed to have some kind of link to my own music (which personally intrigued me, seeing as how "Audiosurf," "Beat Hazard," "Melody's Escape" and "Symphony" are four of my absolute most favorite games of all time), so I got curious and went ahead and bought it.

On a first impression, the control scheme was a little unusual. I personally found the keyboard layout hard/impossible to use, while the controller setup was drastically easier to play with once adjusted to my own preferences, so I greatly recommend using one when you play this game. Think about how a controller would typically be configured for any flight-based console game, and you should be fine.

Now, onto actual gameplay and such. In a word?

"Magical."

It is like a flight simulator set in a cybernetic version of space.

The graphics and effects are absolutely stunning and beautiful.

You can adjust the enemies up or down to however dangerous you want them to be (so casual and hardcore players can both enjoy this game), or you can turn them off completely and just enjoy and explore the scenery while it pulses and moves along with your music.

There are wormholes that take you to different areas that you can continue to fight/admire the view in.

You can set up and save your own music playlist to use in-game (personally, I found trance music to be the best possible match for this game), and you can flip between the tracks at any time that you want to without having to pause first.

This game is a fun and challenging flight-based shooter for any skill level, and an unrivaled "chill out/relaxation" tool when needed. To be completely honest, if this game had Oculus Rift support, this would be the very first game that I used it on (if I had one).

Money well-spent here. Solid 10/10 from me.
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24 of 37 people (65%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 4, 2014
This is quite an odd "game" as its more of a free-flying space shooter within a winamp visualization. It lacks direction and feels more like a test of visual effects and messing with a game engine then an actual game.

The achievements are mostly along the lines of "do X in Y amount of time" and in general really uninspired and feeds the feeling of the whole thing being a test more a game even more.

Time to 100%: 1-3 hours
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 16, 2014
This is one strange shooter where you fly around and shoot at killer Pac-Men while flying around, doing whatever. I honestly don't know what the heck you're supposed to do in this game... but it can be powered by your own music, so that's something.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 27, 2014
It's like a modern 3D Atari Space shooter with blinging lights that go with your custom music. Get the highest score possible and post it on Youtube for bragging rights if you want. In the end, it's all about challenging your high score and doing better than what you did in the past.
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 22, 2014
This isn't a game to me, more of an interactive music visualizer in space. Quite a good one at that.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 16, 2011
What is this? Am I winning or losing? Did I explode that guy, or is that just what he looks like when he attacks? So many ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ed things on the screen. Are those bullets? Enemies? Friends?

Perhaps this is what drugs are like. I have no idea what the hell is happening, or if I'm winning or losing, but the music and visuals are great.
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19 of 32 people (59%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 3, 2014
After trying Polynomial, I can honestly say this title will be collecting dust for many years to come. I did like some of the visuals and vector graphics, but I found nothing that makes this game enjoyable to play.
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