Glyph is unlike most puzzle platformers I have played on PC. Gameplay puts you in control of a mechanical being named Glyph who can jump and glide in the 3D world. From aerial acrobatics to maximum marble-like momentum you will find yourself venturing through various levels with both speed and freedom of movement.
Developed and published by Bolverk Games originally for Nintendo Switch, Glyph takes you on a fabulous journey through beautiful minimalist low-poly landscapes. Each completed level moves you deeper into story of these devastated lands. You will learn why the desert sands are toxic as you rebuild and restore a temple that acts as a home base. In the end you might even fix this world full of machines gone mad.
Fun to Learn
First off I want to state that I am terrible at platformers. Unless the game is Super Mario Bros. on the classic NES system I am pure garbage at playing platformers. I always jump too soon, use some special ability too late or get too frustrated by failing at the same spot for 20 minutes. However, this didn’t happen in Glyph. Well, yes on the harder levels I did roll of the edge several times, but I found myself having a lot of fun mastering the learning curve.
One of the things that really turns me away from most platformers is a massive list of complex abilities and knowing when to use them at the exact moment. Glyph doesn’t really have this problem as they are in the sweet spot for the number of abilities. Jumping, rolling, double jumping, slamming down, bounce jumping, wall jumping, and gliding.
Most of the abilities are just slightly more advanced behavior on a more basic ability. For newcomers the tutorial system holds your hand just enough to familiarize you with the abilities. The fun comes in learning to master these basic abilities while traversing through the epic levels in the world.
Beyond the tutorial, you will start at the Temple City of Aaru. Greeting players is your friend Anobi from the tutorial. Just like in the tutorial, Anobi is seen in various locations with tips, suggestions, and lore bits. Rolling into Anobi and seeing the reaction is also funny.
Initially four levels are available to unlock using the coins collected in the tutorial. Collecting the various coins, crystals, and artifacts located in the levels allows you to start unlocking additional areas of the temple along with more levels. Levels can range some simple roll to here and do some basic jumps, to mind bending vast puzzles with twists and turns. Most levels are exploration levels unlocked with coins.
At the start of a level, the camera does a flyby allowing you see the entirety of the map. Every platform, ledge, jump pad, lava pit, and speed boost along with things to collect are on display. Some levels might harbor some secrets, so naturally those are not in plain sight. Most importantly are the keys needed to unlock the exit portal are visible. In the end it is up to you to figure out which path you want to take through the level as there are often many possible ways to reach the end.
One downside of failing on a level is that you will respawn back at the start. Any collected keys are lost. This is where I get frustrated with platformers. You spend a lot of time getting to a spot only to fail and have to repeat the whole process over again. Glyph does the same thing, however most levels are relatively fast to complete. In fact, it is clear to me that the developers intend for Glyph to be a speedrunner’s paradise.
Completing a level displays everything you collected plus your time and your best level time. There is even a little new best time notification. Fully completing a level will award various cosmetic items that come in the form of avatars and trails. The number of unlocks gives you a nice set of customization options.
Some levels have artifacts. You will want to collect any artifacts as they are used to unlock time trials that put your skills to the test. There are three levels bronze, silver, and gold with each awarding a gem. A cosmetic item is also available to unlock with time trials.
For someone who isn’t the best platform player, I greatly enjoyed playing glyph. The sheer number of cosmetic items are insane. From different colors to whole new skin models such as a bird are waiting to be unlocked.
With simple low poly graphics, the game world is absolutely stunning and gorgeous. The color palate choices flow throughout each level giving away to incredible beauty. Beyond the visual is a complete story. While story is a bit bland with a commonly seen trope, it does make the world feel more complete and gives reason to why you must continue on. Story is an element lacking in many platformers and I applaud the developers for including one.
The non-linear structure is brilliant. It gives players like me the chance to jump around and dip my toes into everything. Since I tend to find myself left behind fairly quickly on the learning curve, Glyph does an excellent job ramping up the difficulty where at the end is the steepest part. Trying to get 100% complete will be both challenging and fun.
Glyph is a fun, challenging, rewarding, and original platformer that will appeal to players of all types. From players who are not that great at platformers to the most diehard of speedrunners, Glyph has something for everyone.
The game review scoring system used by Nano Gaming News can be found here. Thank you to Bolverk Games for providing a PC copy of Glyph for the purpose of this game review.