GLITCHED is one of the games available at Steam Next Fest and it was a demo that I jumped into expecting to have a good time. I love stories that succeed at breaking the fourth wall and utilising comedy to discuss tough subjects. I left with a burning desire to solve its mysteries and further engage with its story-rich world and colourful characters.
In GLITCHED, you play as yourself, or at least a version of yourself. You choose the version to go with after answering a few simple questions asked by a Frog Inc. employee. After giving your name and a few defining traits, Frog Inc assigns Conrad as your hero.
Conrad is your classic small-town protagonist, ready to set out to the big city to become an adventurer. Before leaving, Conrad tells his best friend Gus about a troubling dream of an amphibian behind a desk. Conrad cannot shake the overwhelming feeling that he is being watched. Suddenly, the area begins to fall into pixelated chaos as Conrad is transformed into a distorted entity.
“GLITCHED rewards you for your persistence and dedication.”
From this point, you work with Gus to help discover the source of this strange distortion and rescue Conrad. How you direct Gus to tackle a situation will affect his six Essences, which are portions of his personality. Essence defines Gus’ abilities and how and all NPCs interact with the world around them. A character’s Essence is displayed by the colour of their textbox, adding a layer of context to dialogue that makes each character feel unique.
As you explore, GLITCHED rewards you for your persistence and dedication. Reading books, talking to NPCs, inspecting objects, and using magic to interact with your surroundings offer some interesting gifts. While some might find this tedious, I was delighted to see unique flavour text for every object. It’s not necessary to enjoy the experience but it offers much for those who wish to invest in the lore.
At times, Gus will want to discuss the events of your journey, offering a window into his emotional state and perspective of the world. Your relationship with Gus feels important, and even choosing to ignore him feels like a valid option.
“Each character in the demo employed a different set of tactics, making every encounter a weighted experience.”
While very much a story-driven game, combat in GLITCHED is an engaging yet simple turn-based system. To start, characters do not level up in the traditional sense, so you won’t be gaining experience from your battles. You must manage your team’s limited energy to use and recharge their skills. A larger party may offer more battle options, but this forces you to be more strategic with your choices.
Each character in the demo employed a different set of tactics, making every encounter a weighted experience. Losing or running away are both valid options to move forward in the story. Therefore, if combat isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy what GLITCHED has to offer.
GLITCHED offers a vibrant world that feels completely alive. The demo alone was vast, dripping with foreshadowing comments and deep moments of lore. Keep in mind much was blocked off within the accessible areas. I expect to dive deeper into this potential pixelated masterpiece when the full game becomes available.
Be sure to head on over to the GLITCHED Steam store page to try the demo out for yourself. You can also wishlist it on Steam to be notified of any future updates.