Glyph on Nintendo Switch is an easy to start but difficult to master puzzle platformer that takes classic gameplay tropes and mixes them into something new. Developed by the team over at Bolverk Games, this unique feeling adventure certainly has a devoted quality with its polished presentation and enjoyable gameplay mechanics.
What the Glyph?
Well for retro heads, Glyph shares several similarities to the 1984 Atari published NES classic Marble Madness. For the rest of us, it’s simple – you are tasked with guiding a ball around several courses of increasing difficultly. Naturally, there’s more to it than that.
While the plot of Gliph is on the lean side, it isn’t a major factor in what the developers are trying to deliver. Playing as an almost robotic scarab-like creature, that has the ability to morph into a ball for movement, the aim of each level is simple. Collect all of the items without touching the floor whilst progressing towards the end. Think the floor is lava. Naturally, things get a little more complex as you progress. In collecting coins, gems and keys you will be able to unlock more stages accessed from the majestic hub world. The majority of levels feature the same gameplay mechanics while others will introduce a timed element.
Mighty Morphin Power Ball
Through progress, your little ball of joy gains new abilities and power-ups to its arsenal. What on the surface seems like a simple game will soon flip the switch and become something of a challenge. Initial stages feel like a breeze, a couple of twists and turns as you collect important items on the way to the goal ahead. Suddenly new abilities, jump, double jump and flight, are introduced as the difficulty level spikes. The ability to wall jump its literally a life-saver!
What was once a simple concept soon becomes something to sit back and ponder as the logical route isn’t always the best option. The timed events will appeal to speedrunners and folks who live for 100% gold completion and each level gives you an idea of the difficulty ranking before entering. Glyph features a lot of content within the main hub and will keep you replaying each of its levels over time to beat that last run.
How does Glyph handle?
Surprisingly well, even in handheld mode. And that’s not to say the game is visually demanding on any level but the devil is in the detail. The key to success is in how the game handles and, as you know, the Nintendo Switch is notorious for JoyCon drift. We reviewed and tested Glyph in both handheld and docked mode and the difference was clear. Yes, both modes perform flawlessly but the option to use the Pro Controller over the JoyCon is like night and day. Honestly, for a game that requires pinpoint precision, there is only one clear choice. Hopefully Nintendo addresses the elephant in the room sooner than later but that’s one for another time. After you get to grips with the control method only your reflexes and imagination will stand in your way.
My top tip is to master using the right stick to constantly move the camera and check exactly where you are looking to land next. Gravity feels different here and there’s always the capacity for one last manoeuvre, if you time things right, as it’s enthralling hitting a perfect run or saving your little ball from certain doom.
Visually Glyph veers towards the simpler side but that’s not to say it isn’t good looking. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! The design style opted for is delightful and full of charm. Background detail is beautifully realised with a near monotone palette, the desert-like setting took me back to playing the exquisite Journey for the first time. Where Glyph really shines is in the audio department. The general sound effects are subtle often blending into the accompanying soundtrack which flows lucidly drawing you further into the world, headphones come highly recommended for a full experience.
Glyph is an enjoyable game that packs a lot of content into one very lovingly crafted package. The visual and soundtrack sit in perfect harmony with the gameplay on offer and while the difficulty may deter some it will appeal to many, especially from the speedrunner community. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary then Glyph is definitely worth your time. I personally can’t wait to see where the development team go with future projects.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 11/01/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle
Developer: Bolverk Games
Publisher: Bolverk Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop