Glyph, by Bolverk Games, is a beautiful platforming adventure game. With breathtaking scenery, a mesmerising soundscape, and interesting mechanics, Glyph is a wonderful example of an indie game done well.
In Glyph, players take control of a small, mechanical beetle as they explore a desert land populated with ancient and crumbling structures. Guided by another beetle as your companion, you’ll explore the world through various platforming levels to uncover an ancient mystery and restore the temple at the heart of the land to its former glory.
I thought Glyph was a pleasing game to play, though, not without its frustrating platforming moments. The world you traverse is mesmerising, with its colours and atmospheric design; The stylised graphics are beautiful in their simplicity. If you can get past the somewhat long and jerky tutorial section, and you don’t mind a game with little emphasis on story, I think Glyph is well worth your time.
“With expert uses of color schemes and textures, the levels in Glyph come to life”
I’m a big, big fan of beautiful worlds and simple graphics. Sure, the lands of Horizon Zero Dawn or Skyrim, for example, are fantastic and oftentimes breath-taking, but my heart lies with the games whose graphics opt for beauty over detail. Hollow Knight or Breath of the Wild are, particularly, good examples of this. And so is Glyph.
With expert uses of colour schemes and textures, the levels in Glyph come to life in truly beautiful gameplay. You can certainly tell that a lot of time and effort went into the design of each level. The developers clearly chose the colours, not just to complement each other perfectly, but also to create a rich atmosphere. From hot, sunny days to cool nights and ethereal twilights, Bolverk Games showcases a real talent for design in Glyph.
“The plot intrigues me greatly, I just found that it didn’t feature heavily enough”
As far as basic platformers go, Glyph ticks every box. Unfortunately for me, as someone who likes story-driven games, I found myself getting quite bored, quite quickly. As beautiful as the game is, by the end of the tutorial, the levels began to feel a bit… samey without a plot to engage me.
However, there is still a story; an interesting mystery of the fall of an ancient civilisation at the hands of a corrupted machine that they created. The plot intrigues me greatly; I just found that it didn’t feature enough for me to not get bored as I played through the levels.
On a more positive note, the levels in Glyph aren’t actually as “samey” as I make it sound. Sure, all you do is jump around, collecting coins and gems, and not touching the sand, but there are subtle differences between levels. On one end of the spectrum, some levels are very collection heavy with lots of coins to jump and collect, meanwhile, others are more focused on dangerous jumps and difficult aerial maneuvers. Plus, to really throw a spanner in the works, there are even time trial levels, too.
“The tutorial dragged on for longer than necessary”
Tutorial levels are an important part of any game, and everyone goes about them differently. For me, I thought Glyph handled it poorly. For a simplistic game, it felt like I received a lot of instruction – most of which could be left for the player to figure out. This includes mentions such as “don’t touch the sand”, which was told to you a fair few levels in, after already making that discovery yourself.
Additionally, tutorials are best to me when they’re integrated well into the game, which was not the case for Glyph. Not only did the tutorial drag on for longer than necessary before it introduced any kind of plot to draw a player in, but each piece of instruction paused gameplay mid-action. I don’t mean you had to stop playing to speak to someone, it’s more, you could have been mid-jump and a dialogue box pops up, freezing, not only you in the air, but the music too. As a result, the gameplay became very disconnected and disjointed, completely breaking immersion. This caused me to get incredibly bored and ready to stop by the time it was over.
In summary, I think Glyph is a great platforming game. I love the characters and the concept – I mean, the mechanical bugs are just adorable! However, I feel like the plot is lacking and the finer points of gameplay could still see some work. A great game to while away some time, but not one I think I’ll ever see through to the end.
If you’re interested in giving Glyph a go, head to Steam now and download the PC demo! Otherwise, check out Glyph releasing 9th August on PC, or buy it on the Nintendo Switch now for £17.99/$19.99.