This perhaps too challenging 2d puzzle platformer from indie developer Chronic Spartan offers the basis of an interesting idea. Glo tasks the player with manoeuvring a black square through a world that is mostly hidden in the darkness. A very simple game in many ways with minimal expansion on its core concepts, but there’s still something to be enjoyed if you are a fan of pure difficulty.
Glo starts off easy enough and increases the difficulty as you move through the levels. There are a significant number of levels and by about 10, you’re likely to find yourself falling to your death a fair bit before you manage to complete each level. The game features simple and expected mechanics from a puzzle platformer. You can jump, you can double jump and landing on top of the ‘enemies’ kills them. It offers some individuality in its core concept. You can use your main fire button to produce a tiny square of light that allows you to briefly see anything within a small radius of the projectile as it travels. Your square character also gives out a small radius of light and using the light of your square and your projectile is how you navigate the majority of the levels. Some levels feature additional mechanics but it can often be tricky to see how they’re supposed to help. Generally, you are required to use your memory to successfully make your way through the game.
This game is clearly supposed to be a challenge, but at points, it’s difficult to shake the feeling that it’s difficult for the sake of being difficult. Some jumps appear to require pixel perfect precision to carry them out successfully, yet the control optimization automatically makes that tricky to achieve, which obviously doesn’t make the game feel particularly fair. The level design is generally interesting and thought has very clearly gone into it, but the nature of the game does seem to restrict it’s potential enjoyability to a very select demographic. Even if you do enjoy difficult platformers there are still plenty of other games out there that offer a more complete experience.
There is a vague story that appears to be present in the form of text in each level, although it’s development is basic and it seems to focus more on philosophical ideas rather than a strict story. Through the levels mostly being in darkness and the need to fail repeatedly before you do complete a level, the story becomes very difficult to remember since the words are only visible very briefly most of the time and after a few levels stringing those words together is a challenge in itself.
Visually, Glo does not look even remotely impressive. Everything is made of very simple lines, squares and rectangles with basic use of colour and visual effects. The gameplay is the focus here but the appearance of this game, unfortunately, comes across as amateur and feels very much like it is someone’s first successful game project. There are no real animations at all which sadly leads to the game looking particularly flat and lifeless.
The music is uninspired and extremely repetitive. It doesn’t really contribute to the atmosphere at all and offers minimal variation. The sound effects are nothing special, but they are fine in relation to the rest of the game.
Glo appears to be the first game by Chronic Spartan although it’s tricky to tell since any form of social media that may be available on the developer is either inaccessible or has disappeared. In any case, it absolutely feels like a very first effort and is potentially only worth the $5 if you really are searching around for pure challenge in a platformer.