Glorkian Warrior:The Trials of Glork is a vertical shooter/platformer* hybrid from the team over at Pixel Jam. Originally Kickstarted back in 2010, a rough journey, details of which you can read here, saw the game take 4 years to arrive on IOS. Now, ~1 year later, the game has arrived on Steam. Let’s a take a look.
Glorkian Warrior is an undeniably charming game. The art was created by Eisner-award-winning cartoonist James Kochalka and gives the game a very warm and friendly feel. It takes you back to those cartoons you’d watch as a child (or as an adult in my case :D), making everything feel incredibly familiar; it’s playful and innocent.
Then we have the soundtrack and sound effects which are a vintage synth/techno blend that compliments the graphics amazingly. The underlying music of the game is sort of synthy and upbeat which enhances the charm of the overall aesthetic. Then we have the games sound effects which are very classic-arcade sounding which brings those memories and associations back to the cartoony world. It creates a really nice familiarity, like your favourite cartoon character has jumped into an old space invaders game.
You play as The Glorkian Warrior, a recruit of the Glorkian Academy, and it is your job to protect your asteroid from the invading alien forces from above. To do this you fire (autofire) bullets from your trusty talking backpack and move around the level to hit the enemies above in typical vertical shooter style.
At the beginning of the article I put an asterisk after platformer. The game is described as a vertical shooter/platformer hybrid, but I didn’t find any major platforming mechanics! The extent of the platforming, from what I can gather, is the ability to jump. I’ve looked at screenshots online, and the trailer, and haven’t seen any real platforming there either. If this comes later in the game I’ll recant my statement, but if that’s the case it needs to come much earlier.
As you fight off the invaders they will drop power-ups that make your backpack more powerful. Drops such as double laser, triple laser and fireballs give your weapon some variety. These power-ups also stack so you can end up with some really unique combinations that are really fun to play with. The enemies also come in quite a few shapes and sizes, each having different looking attacks, but which ultimately function quite similarly.
After a certain number of waves a boss will appear who has some mechanics not seen in standard enemies and a short boss battle ensues. You repeat these waves and boss fights until you inevitably become overwhelmed, at which point you recount on your spoils of war, unlock any items you may have unlocked and see if your rank in the Gloria Academy has increased. The whole cycle then begins anew.
I don’t really have anything bad to say about Glorkian Warrior. It is a perfectly pleasant and charming implementation of a well-loved genre. My problem with it is that it feels like it’s in shoes it can’t fill on PC. It feels too small, and the casual gameplay feels it would suite a mobile device better. Something you can pick up, spend 10 minutes in, and then put it down. I did a first impressions of this game (at which point I didn’t know it was available for IOS first) and my conclusion was that it was perfectly suited to IOS. When I’d finished recording I did some more research on the game found indeed that it is originally an IOS game and I feel that’s where it belongs.
Glorkian Warrior is a good game, and I’ll most likely play it in the future. On my iPad. If you’re into your vertical shooters, or enjoyed the game on IOS, then you’ll most likely enjoy the PC version. Especially since it costs only £2.79! There’s nothing wrong with the PC version, it just feels a touch out of place for me.
Rating – 7/10
Closing Summary – Glorkian Warrior is a pleasant and charming vertical shooter, but one which I ultimately feel belongs on a mobile device.
Purchase – Steam, £2.79 (or your regional equivalent)