Glitch is beautiful and weird and funny and also kind of dull
Sometimes you really want to love a game but just can’t bring yourself to do it. There can be many reasons for this. The game may look lovely, for instance, with 2D visuals that look hand drawn. Or it may give you a giant world to explore full of all sorts of strange and unexpected surprises. It might even offer a lot of social features to encourage you to play with others. Glitch does all of these things and they definitely make it a title worth checking out. But at the same time, the moment to moment gameplay can be quite dull, which makes Glitch a game that’s easy to like but hard to love.
The most accurate description of Glitch is probably to call it a social MMO, as it has elements of both Facebook-style social games and deeper, massively multiplayer online games. The whole game takes place in the imaginations of a number of different giants and you’ll explore the strange world from a 2D, side-scrolling perspective. And that’s really the point of Glitch: to explore. You’ll receive quests, sure, but they aren’t particularly compelling, and there really isn’t a driving narrative force pushing you in any one direction. So you’re left to simply wander and explore.
There is a lot to do and see, however. Your character, which you can customize in any number of ways, has an energy meter much like in any social game, which restricts the amount of actions you can take in any given play session. So when you harvest a tree, or squeeze wheat out of a chicken, or nibble some meat off of a pig, or even milk a butterfly, your energy will decrease a bit. And yes, those are all things you can do in the game.
Glitch seems to pride itself on its absurdity and this is evident in the sheer range of things you can do in the game. Milking a butterfly isn’t even the strangest. You can collect fireflies, wait in line to get some legal documents, buy a house, donate gems to curry favor with a giant, and learn new skills like the meditative arts or penpersonship. And that’s just scratching the surface. Even better, you can do this all with real people, as the game allows you to play with both friends and strangers, sending letters and wandering around together. We witnessed people organizing housewarming parties to celebrate the purchase of a brand new home, and there’s a system in place where experienced players can mentor those who are new to the game.
It’s a vibrant, creative world full of beautiful and varied areas to explore and plenty of humor. There are a number of moments in Glitch that will make you laugh either because they’re funny or because they’re just so absurd. And this makes it all the more disappointing that the gameplay doesn’t match up to the world it takes place in.
Wandering around Glitch can get boring. Even with the subway system, which allows for relatively quick travel, the banality of wandering aimlessly grows tiresome. Sure, some of the time you might have a particularly destination in mind, but most of the game is simply walking around hoping to run into something goofy and interesting. These moments are powerful, but in large part it’s because the rest of the experience is so bland. You’ll often be rewarded for your exploration in Glitch, but the exploration itself is no fun at all.
There is a lot to like about the game, and not just its unique world and lovely presentation. It also offers up large number of options for customizing both your avatar and your home, if you choose to purchase one. In theory it’s an incredibly fun game that lets you discover a world full of funny, strange, and interesting experiences. But in practice it’s a whole lot of walking around waiting for those experiences to happen.