There is something magical about jumping into a game and knowing nothing about it but buying it anyway because the name interests you, and the screenshots look cool. It reminds me of being a kid walking into a Blockbuster and renting a game I knew nothing about, taking it home and having a great time with it. I miss those days. So when I was perusing the Nintendo eShop one night, I came across a game called Glyph. While it has a strange name, the description also intrigued me as it seemed to take Metroid Prime’s Morph Ball ability and transition it into a 3D platformer. If that doesn’t sound cool, then I don’t know what would!
I already had a faint idea of what Glyph was about as I watched a YouTube channel talk about the title in a video about a collection of hidden gems for the Nintendo Switch. But I only picked it up after I saw it on sale for a few pounds, and after a quick install and one pretty title screen later, I was playing the game with no need for a story cutscene. The gameplay of Glyph consists of controlling a mech-crab through a series of platforming levels that focus on physics-based movement while using your abilities introduced at the start. I have to admit I was a little worried about how it would control and if it would feel too floaty, but no, the little guy controls great, and never in my nine-hour playthrough did I feel like the game had forced me to do something I didn’t intend to. Sometimes I would miss a platform or a collectible, but it was always my fault, not the game’s, and I really appreciated that.
Speaking of collectables, there are only three in this title, but they all mattered and never wasted any of my time. You will mainly be going for the keys as they unlock the portal at the end of the stage, allowing you to progress to the next level. But, if you want to get fancy, you can go for the artefacts. These unlock skins for your mech, but they function only as cosmetics reserved for the best Borachyuras. The last collectable of the three is the gems, which unlock more levels, so they’re crucial to collect if you want to see the final credits.
I love the art style and music, too. It takes place in a desert, so there is a lot of sand, and falling into the stand will kill your crab immediately. I’m not fond of deserts in games, but I let this one slide because of the great lighting, muted colours, and the lovely skybox overlooking it all. The soundtrack is just ambient tracks, but they do a great job setting the mood, as the whole experience is super chill. Honestly, I’d love to see more games take this approach because while I do love a hectic game from time to time, sometimes it’s nice to relax on the couch and play something that isn’t too demanding for a change. That’s why Glyph is so great! Its platforming sections might cause you to get a little frustrated, but with the quick respawns and clever level design, I was fine with having to restart from the beginning, as the experience was just a ton of fun. It's never too difficult, either. I’d recommend going into Glyph without knowing too much, as I enjoyed all its little surprises, and that’s something only indie games can do for me. I think I would’ve liked it just the same if I had been aware of what I was in for, but knowing very little helped me enjoy it even more.
Finding a needle in a haystack is one of those simple pleasures in gaming, and this time, it truly felt like I had left a Blockbuster as a nine-year-old with a brand new experience in my hands. I’m rarely able to download a game for a few bucks and, within minutes, become engaged by something unique and fresh. But that’s what happened here, and I loved it. If you enjoy 3D platformers, miss the Morph Ball, or just like crabs, you’ll love Glyph, too.