Glitchspace: Hands-On

Glitchspace excites me mentally. I love the idea of programming but didn’t really have the capacity to learn it or use it meaningfully. Glitchspace uses semi-simple coding/mathematical terms and lets you play around with them to a certain degree. It’s still early access but is highly promising, in a way that made me play it through in its current entirety in one sitting, and I would still love to have more.

What you have currently is something akin to a tutorial. It slowly builds up, giving you different properties to mess with on the various big red boxes strewn about the levels. It not only allows you to wrap your head around how to interact with them but also how they interact with you.

By which I mean that the properties that you assign things aren’t basic; sure, you have the ability to do simple things like rotate and change their dimensions, but the more complex edits you can make allow them to emit forces to make you bounce on them or – even greater still – make them remove gravity from you completely. Having gravity removed from you lets you wander around, essentially on a 2D plane as you can no longer fall or jump up.

These sorts of ideas can only mean that complexity won’t just ramp up but will allow for some really interesting/crazy combinations – not only as puzzles but also solutions. I’ve already managed to ramp up the force emitted to 1000 rather than the 100 needed to solve the puzzle. That is the beauty of what you can achieve with some basic numbers and multiplications.

You have two states: movement and coding. Movement is the FPS side of things; looking around, shooting (I’ll get to that), and jumping around in an almost Mirrors Edge world, full of vibrant red and crisp white blocks. The second state is when you are editing; a HUD overlay will fill the screen allowing you to changes the properties of either the object you are directly looking at or your gun, which you use for long range instant property changes, mostly making it easier to alter multiple objects or apply incremental changes.

The HUD is perhaps the thing that takes the most getting used to. For a game that relies on connecting multiple boxes and clicking through menus repeatedly to find the box(es) you want, it’s particularly unwieldy, especially if you want to do things quickly. Currently it’s a wee bit too fiddly to be easy to use, but the utility is there. Boxes have various shaped nodes to help you work out which can connect to which and the boxes can be dragged about and touched at their nodes to connect up and even disconnect original connections to make room for the new one. Like I said, utility is there but it is unwieldy.

You will spend quite a bit of time in the HUD, perhaps not as much if you are a coding or puzzle whiz but still a fairly substantial time. The HUD is literally the only thing that I can begin to poo-poo. I love the idea behind it all and the room they have to expand ideas as well as puzzle complexity is immense.

Each puzzle has an exit that can only be seen from one side as well so it leaves a great opportunity for secret levels, something that might already have a skeleton in some puzzles. I did find two doors in one level with the second door needing you to take a less obvious branch, especially as the exit was highly visible and in front of me.

It has so much potential for the puzzles that it’s staggering; I really can’t wait to get my hands on more. With what’s been released being still a tutorial for all intents and purposes, getting to sink my teeth into puzzles with a little more bite to them is something I look forward to very much. Be sure to check the trailer out below, as the screenshots don’t do the game justice for showing off how the game plays. Remember, it’s still Early Access so there is plenty still to come but it is an Alpha sitting at £6.99; I have high hopes for this, but the price may not justify the currently available content for everyone.

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I’ve done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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