Games: Glyph 2

I had forgotten all about my game credits at Nick Arcade, when I got an email last week notifying me that Nick Arcade would be closing and that I needed to use my credits before it closed. There just hadn’t been that many games that we wanted there – but I was hardly going to let two credits go to waste. So I let Al pick one (he chose SpongeBob and the Clash of Triton), and I picked one for both of us to play.

Glyph 2 is a “match three” game, like several of the other games I play from time to time. (I even got Super Collapse 3 for my cell phone, the third time I got stuck waiting for an hour in designated safe area during a tornado warning.) Like some of them, it has a storyline and a quest mode, to try to give meaning to solving the puzzles, beyond simply the fun of solving them.

So far I’m not all that excited about the game. I don’t find the gameplay nearly as intuitive as some of the other games I have played and enjoyed. I play visual puzzles because I’m visually oriented, and I like to see how what I am doing contributes to my progress in the game. Other than the fact that I haven’t lost any lives yet, and I’ve accumulated enough “energy” to build some “monuments” (which improve my chances in future levels), I can’t tell whether I’m doing well or not.

The whole idea of a dying world, where the balance of light and dark needs to be restored, might be interesting, but it’s hard to see any meaningful connection to the puzzles themselves. The idea of collecting energy by clicking on enough blocks the same color – that has a bit more sense to it. I would just as soon have games that don’t claim to have a point other than simply to play them. Why create a storyline that seems to have little purpose other than a reason to sell yet another game?

If the graphics are better, or the puzzles more complex, or in some other way the game offers something that other games in the genre don’t, that’s a reason to buy and play it. (If I want a storyline, I’ll read a book.) Glyph 2 does have very nice graphics – unfortunately my five-year-old PC is apparently not quite up to the task of playing it, as it pauses frequently, most likely due to not having enough video RAM. (It must meet the minimum requirements as the game does run, it just seems to take a short nap from time to time.)

One feature I haven’t seen in other match three games is the idea of “gestures.” Every game has special ways to clear a large area fast, or slow things down, or otherwise get a temporary boost to increase points or keep from losing lives. Usually they are special symbols you either click on or shoot at. There are some of those in Glyph 2, but the most powerful are the gestures, which are shapes you have to draw with the mouse. They’re relatively simple shapes (except when my mouse decides to be difficult), but then you have to choose where to place the effect, and I haven’t figured out very well how to do that most effectively.

Al had played this previously, using a free trial. He sometimes points out where I should click, and he probably knows what he is doing. But the logic behind it so far eludes me.

I’ll give Glyph 2 a few more tries. But playing it reminds me that I never finished Luxor 2. I probably reached the point where it was hard to make any more progress, and I got tired of just losing lives. But it made sense to me in ways that Glyph 2 does not.

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