04 October 2011
Glitch is the logical lovechild of Tiny Speck (the makers of Flickr) and Keita Takahashi (the maker of Katamari Damacy), but I must confess, I'm not entirely certain how to take it. It definitely feels like a new breed of game; a strange hybrid between Blueberry Garden and a social network.
As someone who has been brought up on games, I felt that Glitch coddled me too much in its opening moments. I wanted to explore this strange new world for myself, and work out how it ticks. Nonetheless, I appreciate that I am probably not Glitch's target audience. Once all the tutorialising is out of the way, the game does evoke a living, breathing world, ever changed by its inhabitants. In fact, Glitch offers precisely eleven worlds to explore, each of which resides within the particularly imaginative mind of a giant. Players interact with most objects and creatures in the game, and some actions have a tangible and lasting effect on the game's environments. Players can interact with each other as well, and while the feeling of community really contributes to that sense of a living, breathing world, some of the social networking elements honestly feel like a distraction to the game itself. I take my hat off to whoever can manage to multi-task these seemingly disparate elements.
There are energy and mood levels to attend to as well, which again feel like a distraction - an unnecessary game-y element - to the game's explorative core. It didn't take me long to fill my inventory with food items (designed to increase my energy and mood levels) but I never seemed to need them. Your avatar has experience levels as well, which at least gives you something to shoot for.
In a way, Glitch lacks confidence in the attractiveness of its core gameplay, and I don't think it should. I would love to see the game shed its unnecessary game conventions and social networking elements to put the spotlight back on the fresh and the new. The prospect of building and shaping an imaginary future with other players is something too compelling to pass up.
Glitch is a web-based massively multiplayer online game designed by Tiny Speck and Keita Takahashi. Sign up here to play the game (there is a waiting list).