I have to confess: yesterday I was planning on critically demolishing Tiny Speck’s browser based, social MMO, Glitch. The first hour or so of Glitch is essentially a flash version of Little Big Planet, so much so that I spent a good deal of time wondering why I wasn’t just playing the real LBP instead, while Glitch did nothing to convince me otherwise.
The opening story involves you being imagined by a group of eleven giants and you get to be a part of their world, helping it grow, discovering new things and so on. You get introduced to the basic mechanics of interacting with the world and get your own house to decorate, all without Stephen Fry guiding me along (and a lack of Stephen Fry is the number one reason why I don’t like just about anything anymore).
Happily, I was very, very wrong. While the visual style seems inspired by LBP initially, the game takes on a more open-world RPG slash Collect’em up approach mechanically – in essence, a cross between EVE Online and Farmville.
It’s clear that Tiny Speck have put a lot of love into Glitch. The controls and interface are great, there’s a HUGE amount of customisation options and loads of integration with their website (auctions, skill queues, encyclopedia, etc.). In fact, the ability to manage your skill queue from outside of the game is something even some of the major players have yet to pull off.
There are a bunch of different skills to learn, from cooking and tinkering to transcendental radiation (srsly). The gameplay tends to be a bit on the crazy side, even for a world being imagined by giants. Squeeze chickens to obtain grain, nibble pigs to get meat and massage butterflies (with lotion) to get them in a good enough mood to allow you to milk them – and those are the most basic things you’ll be doing. Almost everything you interact with will have something to say about it too – nothing says creepy like a pig telling you to nibble his meat off faster.
Speaking of creepy: Despite the cutesy, friendly look of the game itself, the giants that are imagining you and the world you’re running about in look incredibly nightmarish.
That’s Friendly. There are ten others that look just as scary, but I thought this was the most fitting example. Friendly: A bat-spider hybrid that looks like it feasts on children’s souls has imagined you into life. It doesn’t seem to have much impact on the game, but it does raise a few questions. When monsters have nightmares is Glitch the result? Are they planning to eat us? What exactly is eyeballery?
Glitch does have its downsides. The soundtrack is a bit plain and dialogue can get a bit spammy at times; it’s surprisingly frustrating having a butterfly pop up a large white box to spout gibberish while you’re trying to milk it in mid-air.
Despite some minor issues, Glitch is one of the best browser games I’ve ever played – certainly the best in recent memory – and deserves a look. Just make sure you get past the tutorial stages; it’ll take a while, but it’s worth it.
Related: Browser, Glitch, MMORPG, Review