Glyph reminds me of those 3D marble games that often pop up in droves, albeit with an Egyptian theme this time. To be fair, it’s not far from the truth, but to avoid going into detail about its brilliance would be a serious disservice. Glyph is a thoroughly entertaining platformer that’ll have your heart-racing and your lips smiling almost all the way through.
Quite a bit of effort has been put into the backstory. You play as the titular Glyph, a mechanical scarab who has been brought to Egypt to bring back the lost temple of Aaru. Once belonging to an ancient, prosperous civilization, it was destroyed by a great cataclysm, brought upon by an ingenious machine invention. Now the land is corrupted and dangerous to the touch, and all the structures have been buried deep beneath. What you need to do is to retrieve artifacts from ancient ruins in order to face the source of corruption after restoring the lost city and temple of Aaru.
In each stage, you need to collect all the keys and reach the exit at the end of each slalom course, as well as coins, artifacts and gems for accessing new levels and zones. Dying sends you back to the start, and a lack of checkpoints in these maps can be frustrating, but anything you collect in a level (barring keys and avatars more on those soon) will stay with you until you complete it. Very convenient! Thankfully, you can replay missions to nab the goodies again, in case you missed out previously.
The stages themselves are thoughtfully designed, with plenty of small platforms, angular pillars, and special, glowing pads that’ll grant you an extra jump. Some levels curve around, or are floating in the sky, in order to mix things up and put your sense of balance and control to the test, but they’re pretty much consistently fantastic to play across the board. The inclusion of secret collectibles and unlockable tidbits like new avatars and trails, alongside special time trial stages, give these missions even more replayability and longevity, too.
The floaty physics didn’t take long to get used to at all. In fact, I say it really does benefit the game, and that’s also due to the tight and responsive aerodynamic controls. Reaching great heights and distances is a lot easier than it probably sounds, and with the ability to bounce higher after slamming (a bit like Mario) and even gliding a bit with your wings, it’s safe to say that the freedom of movement you get to experience in a title like this just feels liberating. Hell, you can even travel up surfaces vertically by mashing the jump button, which is a life-saving tactic.
There’s a wonderful sense of mystique when exploring each level. It’s not just down to the charming visuals, mind you. The soundtrack, composed of layers of synths that fade in and out alongside gushes of wind, sounds dreamy and mesmerising, which really does help enhance the experience by giving it atmosphere. Plus, the little musical queues that play, for instance, when you beat a level never get old.
Glyph is nothing short of fantastic. The smooth controls, creative stages, beautiful soundtrack and heaps of replayability makes this one a truly excellent pick for anyone who loves marble-rolling platformers.
Review code supplied by Bolverk Games.