You play as Glyph, a little robot looking insect thingy, which is supposed to revive a temple by venturing out into the dangerous world to gather resources. The world itself is dangerous to traverse, so you must use safe platforms to manoeuvre carefully through each level, with progressive difficulty and more rewards. The story is mostly explained through exposition so I felt really disconnected from the narrative and didn’t feel like I could care for it. To keep a long story short some machines have ballsed up the world and you’re trying to restore it. I wasn’t so much invested in it and thought I would spend more time on getting used to the gameplay instead, as it stood out to me more on all the trailers and screenshots.
(“Houston, we have 1 problem and it’s a bitch!”)
The story isn’t that important though, and you will be quick to overlook it anyway, because Glyph offers something we haven’t been given all too often since the PS1 era and that is gameplay that makes use of precision movement and well-timed input to move through the environment. As mentioned, it’s a platformer, and due to the toxic conditions of the land you need to guide your glyph through a large variety of courses to reach the end. Scattered throughout these levels are collectibles such as coins and keys that can be collected to help unlock new skins and open the portal to exit the game. Some skins are hidden in a level so exploration is a must, and if you think you may have missed something you will be able to return to a level completed before so that you can 100% it, something that would appeal to the completionists out there.
(If you crossed Sauron with Predator you get…)
To make your way around you will need to jump, double-jump, glide and roll without falling over the edge because, you know, sand is bad, and it gets everywhere. New movement abilities are unlocked to help open new avenues of travel and make those seemingly impossible to reach collectibles not as impossible to reach. Although some levels look like they’re designed to tear up your soul and bring it to the underworld, you won’t be stuck there until you finish it, you’ll be able to leave and come back at a later stage after you’ve looked it up on YouTube, and by unlocking a time-trial you can challenge your skills further to get the fastest time to finish.
The controls were my greatest issue, because the little Glyph guy didn’t always move where I wanted him to, and when you’ve built some momentum to clear a gap between pathways you don’t expect that momentum to stay after landing. There is that little “hold your breath” moment when leaving the safety of the ground and having little faith in returning without rolling a little bit more and almost snapping your spine in trying to brake right at the edge. The controls do take a lot of getting used to (well, they did for me), and because there are aerial moves integrated with rolling on the ground, it only extends the anxiety when you think one wrong move will have you crashing to your death.
The soundscape has this unique ability to keep you focused, it’s pleasant to listen to and helped to relax me a little, even when I’m mid-air and praying there will be ground to meet me. The level designs are great, and although the objective is the same, they aren’t always the same, and many of them very intelligently crafted. Having the capability to leave and come back relieves a lot of the frustration of feeling stuck, because that is usually where my interest would fade if I come across an obstruction that I feel I can’t overcome at the time, and something like that would put me off coming back.(“I’m out!”)
Instead, I have a lot more freedom with the non-linear design, and I want to come back clear my conscience, and not nab those last few coins. Despite being in what is meant to be a torn apart world, the colours are great. The little glyph has a nice shine to him and the backdrop on each track feels massive, and vibrant. When charged, the Glyph will give off a nice glow that reflects quite nicely off the surface of any structure close by and fits in with the cartoonish colours this world is painted with.
(“What is this? School!?, I don’t wanna read!”)
There are plenty of other challenges that would suit speed runners quite well, especially with the time-trials, and thanks for YouTube personalities streaming games, and those streaming on Twitch, there is a strong competitive element to be taken advantage of. Players can compete by completing the levels in the shortest time, or without dying, or collecting all the goods, and any combination of the three. The easier levels will help with getting used to the controls, and the camera, and with practice you should be able to manage even the most heart stopping arenas and join in on the fun.
I found it easy to come back despite my lack of skill with the keyboard and mouse, and even though I prefer using a controller I will admit that the keyboard and mouse does allow for fewer mistakes to be made, but the controller is fully supported. It hasn’t stopped me rolling the little bastard off the edge, but unlike hopping off Yoshi’s back to get to the higher blocks on a level, my falling over was unintentional. On top of all that it is reasonably priced, considering there are meant to be something close to 80 levels, with more content likely to be added.
A beautiful looking game, an unsaturated genre, with a brilliant score, which is only tarnished by controls that could tighter, a story that could be more interesting and important, and a camera that needs to be easier to manage. You can create a lot of your own fun and challenge yourself and others, with speed runners and completionists that could use this game for some online material in their channels. The levels are well designed, and with the easier ones that only demand a basic skill level you can certainly learn to manage the flaws and still enjoy a decent level of difficulty.With the flexibility to come back to a level later you can prevent yourself from getting fatigued by getting bested by the same obstruction, refine your skills at a steadier rate and then come back to see how you get on. After making a precise combination of jumps, slides and glides you really feel like a badass when you get to the end, which perfectly balances some of the frustrations I certainly experienced. It’s worth getting on your Steam library, and for those of you gaming on the go it is also available on Switch, although I can’t attest to how well it works with joysticks and buttons.