Step in to the light. That’s what independent game developer Phobic Studios wants you to do with their latest game “Glare”, a side-scrolling action platformer. The game released this week, is available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems. I had a chance to play the game and below are my thoughts on this latest addition to the platform genre of games.
Meet the Shiner, a being of pure light. Summoned from the starlight the Shiner’s mission is to heal the sun and defeat the Ramora (Piranha-like creatures). Its world the Toric Caster, is filled with gaps, spiky plants, poison shooting plants, and a whole lot of angry Ramora. The Shiner carries a gun, but also has its glare and impressive jumping abilities to help him navigate through the worlds. The Shiner’s also needs its glare to interact with the environment.
One of the things that can turn gamers off, is a poorly developed UI. How they interact with a game is important, and if it’s too confusing or way too cluttered the complaining starts. I really like the simplicity that Glare brought to its menu as its clean, and not cluttered.
This same simplicity can be seen in the rest of the game as there is no HUD, no inventory and even no dialogue. I don’t know about you, but there are certain games in which I do not care whether or not there is a rich dialogue between my character and the things that it interacts with. There are times where you just want to jump in and play, and Glare lets you do exactly that. Glare deliberately allows the player to interact with the world instead of NPC’s. This separates Glare from other platformers.
Movement throughout the game by default it controlled by the keyboard and mouse. The keyboard layout is pretty standard as movement is controlled by the keys, w,a,s,d, with the space-bar for jumping. The glare, shoot and aiming actions are all done on the mouse. It took me a little while to get used to the controls, but after a short while they began to grow on me.
The real breakthrough on game movement came when I discovered I was able to use my Xbox 360 controller. This to me, was a massive improvement on the way that I was able to play the game. using the controller made the games movements feel more natural and comfortable. I know that some people prefer the traditional keyboard and mouse controls, but for this game the controller felt like the better fit.
Looks are everything
At least that’s what some people say. Visually the game is a true work of art, you can tell that the games designers spent a lot of time paying attention to detail. I often found myself pausing for a moment to see what was going on in the background. Even when there isn’t anything going on in the background, you always have a 3D environment that has you saying “wow”.
Gameplay was enjoyable, and as mentioned before having the ability to use a controller with this game really made a difference. There are a total of six planets that you will explore during the game, each with its own set of obstacles. The game also has a nice slide feature in which you can slide down walls, this came in handy quite often. You also have infinite lives and automatic saves, these will prove to be invaluable throughout the game.
I found the movement to be crisp and smooth without any issues on my Linux operating system. This is a must play in Steams Big Picture mode.
Do I get this game?
You do, and here’s why. Glare is a different kind of platformer, it allows you to uniquely interact with its worlds while not boring you with tedious one-denominational jumping. It has a clean menu interface, with no inventory, HUD or dialogue between characters, you just play the game. And most of all its fun!