The simple vector lines of Verreciel’s visuals were what first caught my attention. Then there was the description, which bills the game as “a virtual space exploration project in which you must learn to use your Glass Ship’s consoles.” As a self proclaimed lover of weird games, that was all it took to entice me. It comes so close to meeting expectations, too.
Your main goal in Verreciel is to explore the… I guess it’s a galaxy? Things aren’t super clear in that regard. There are other more specific missions you’ll be completing along the way, such as traveling to specific systems or trading for new ship components, but “getting around” is the main point of it all. Which is actually easier said than done, because your Glass Ship uses a rather unorthodox interface. That’s the whole point, of course.
I won’t spoil the particulars, but there’s definitely a sense of satisfaction that comes with figuring out how to pull off something like navigating through a portal. Every now and then something new like an additional console or new ship systems will be thrown into the mix, which of course creates new puzzles to solve. Little by little, Verreciel’s quirks and intricacies will start to make sense. There have been several points throughout my journey where the instructions were kind of vague, but eventually I started to pick up on the logic behind the Glass Ship’s various commands and it all clicked. That’s not to say I didn’t get a little frustrated along the way, though.
Those few moments of confusion don’t terribly disrupt the flow, thankfully. In fact, Verreciel is a very laid back game. There aren’t many actual threats aside from getting too close to a star, and even then all that happens is the ship is routed back to wherever it was last docked. The more deliberate pacing coupled with the vector graphics (and eventually the mellow tunes that will accompany you on the ship’s radio) make it weirldy soothing to play, actually. At least when everything is working as intended.
Stuff not working as intended is Verreciel’s biggest and most unfortunate issue. It’s great when things are going well and you’re steadily exploring abstract space, but then the game will freeze on the map screen, the game will crash, or the ship will reroute itself for no apparent reason and get stuck orbiting the last place it visited – which of course requires a restart.
Those kinds of issues by themselves wouldn’t be more than a mild annoyance if it weren’t for the fact that progress only seems to save after a mission is completed. This has resulted in way more restarts than I’d care to think about, forcing me to retread my previous paths through several systems. Then once I finally made it back to where I was, something else messed up and the whole process started over again. That’s when the game’s steady pace became more irritating than calming.
A recent update did seem to fix the problems I’ve had with crashes and the ship getting stuck, but it still freezes on the map from time to time – which of course sends me back to the last post-mission checkpoint.
I still think there’s a lot to love in Verreciel — especially for anyone who enjoys offbeat quirky games as much as I do. If it weren’t for the bugs and the somewhat unfriendly save system (a manual save, or even just a more obvious on-screen indication would be super helpful) I’d be forcing everyone I know to check it out. Instead I’ll just have to wait and hope that it receives another update or two in the future. Then I’ll shove it in everybody’s face while screaming “You have to try this!”