Ball rolling games are nothing new. From Marble Madness in the 80s to Super Monkey Ball in the 2000s with games like the rather excellent Kororinpa, Kula World and Spindizzy in between, they’ve been a staple genre of gaming. Glyph is a welcome addition to the genre, adding a few new touches and some great ideas to the mix.
The ‘ball’ in Glyph is actually a magical Scarab beetle like creature, so it can occasionally sprout wings as well in order to reach far away platforms. This opens up the puzzle-platforming element more, giving the player wide open spaces to navigate along with the usual slopes, hoops and pathways. The worlds are spaced apart so navigation often requires bouncing in the air and plonking your beetle-ball down in just the right spot. This can be pretty tricky to start off with and involves a lot of trial and error to get right, especially on later courses.
Some platforms give you extra height when you land on them and there are charged moves to learn as well which allow you to either get more height or cling to walls for a short space of time in order to get to harder to reach areas. While all this takes a while to learn it never feels unfair and the control system and physics are pretty good at providing something that feels natural to move around in.
There are item collection aspects to the game in order to unlock areas and this means that it’s not just a case of getting from A to B, increasing the puzzle element. Keys and diamonds help you to progress to further levels so replaying older levels is often necessary in order to collect enough of them. Some levels even have a timed element to them, meaning that you’ll need to work out the fastest way to grab everything you need and then get to the exit.
The graphics are clean and clear while featuring enough detail to make levels distinct from each other. It doesn’t have the day-glo feel of a Super Monkey Ball game but the sandy desert-like atmosphere fits the Egyptian theme well and does make it easier to navigate. That said, there are times I found the camera getting in the way of my landings and learning to control both the camera and the ball can be a bit of a steep learning curve at first.
Glyph is the sort of game that feels old school in a good way while retaining some fresh new ideas and I really like that, it has well thought out level design and is just the right side of challenging for that ‘one more go’ style of gameplay.