As a fan of Earthbound, my desire to play a game that dares to embody a similar style and feeling of the franchise has gone largely unfulfilled since we were graced with it way back in the days of the SNES. Don’t get me wrong, there have been good games that share a likeness to Earthbound, (Citizens of Earth and Undertale spring to mind) but it has to be said that not many games developed today draw too much inspiration from the franchise. Fast forward to 2018 and Lady Luck seems to have ridden my way as it seems that I have stumbled across a game that could potentially scratch the Earthbound itch that has been bothering me for quite some time. I know for a fact that I am not alone and for those of you who have not heard of the game, I implore you to go look up Glitched as it could be the answer you have been looking for.
First of all let’s get one thing clear, Glitched is not an Earthbound clone. It clearly draws inspiration from the series but overall, Glitched is its own unique gaming experience in its own right. The developers EnhouseStudios are branding Glitched as a single player exploration RPG where players will unravel many mysteries the game has to offer along the way. The game features a traditional turn-based combat system in first person view (like Earthbound) but mainly focuses on story telling and more importantly, how you change it. This is exactly where Glitched shines and stands out as it’s own concept, in game it is known as the Essence System which keeps track of the players personality and morality based on the choices he or she makes. Each choice you make throughout the game will effect how the story is told which gives players a reason to keep replaying the game after their first playthrough.
Players take control of the protagonist named Gus who experiences a real life glitch in the world of Soren which enables him to discover YOU after the fourth wall breaks. Expect some fourth wall breaking humour throughout the game as you and Gus embark on a journey to discover the world of Soren and the mystery behind the glitch. Your relationship with Gus is very important and you will need to talk to him in order to learn more about him and the world of Soren. Gus will in turn, learn more about you as your friendship grows which could be vital in terms of how Gus handles certain situations thrown at him. Fourth wall breaking in video games is not a new concept but building a distinct relationship between you and the games protagonist is a new concept to me and is what has gotten me interested so much in Glitched.
Let’s get into some of the games features, starting with the games combat. As I stated before, Glitched features a traditional first person turn-based combat system but with a twist. For example, all combat in the game is story based and depending on choices you make during a conflict, you may not have to actually fight the foe. Instead, players can interact with enemies or offer them presents in order to steer clear of a fight. Using different party members and items can change the effect of how they approach each battle and different items used in battle can bring out different effects. If a conflict goes bad,you will be forced into a fight which uses a cards and energy system. Collecting many different cards along the way with your many characters in your party will help build your dream team. Players will be able to either kill, spare or find another way to stop a fight which will all contribute to different story outcomes. It is also worth mentioning that there are no random encounters or levelling up and experience in Glitched which are all standard features of todays standard RPG. At this point, I’m sure you will all agree that Glitched is not a standard RPG by any means.
The decision making in Glitched is no doubt the games hook. The Essence System which tracks the players in game choices will distribute points towards six different Essence Alignments which serve as personality traits. The personality traits in question are Zeal, Insight, Harmony, Conquest, Drift and Bastion which each serve as a different way to grow character development depending on choices you make. Depending on which Essence Alignments your points go towards will effect the story, the characters and the world around you and it is important to know that combat, how you explore the world, conversations with Gus and how you interact in general will determine your Essence. How you interact with NPC’s in the world of Soren will determine whether or not they become a friend or foe making players think carefully about how they interact with them.
Glitched will be releasing this fall for PC, Mac and Linux but since the game hit its original funding goal on Kickstarter, it has reached many stretch goals and is worth keeping an eye on their Kickstarter page to see if they hit any more. Some of these stretch goals include a day and night system, a PSVita, PS3, PS4 and Xbox1 release as well as approximately 10-25 hours of additional free DLC! At this point EnHouseStudios are just under $12,000 short of their $80,000 stretch goal which is a Nintendo 3DS release, not bad considering their original goal for developing the game was just $7,500. I absolutely encourage you all to try the demo of Glitched which can be found on their main site which should give you the experience of what to expect when the game is released this fall and will leave you highly anticipating it’s arrival. You can also pre order the full game on the site too. Be warned when playing the demo though, you may experience a glitch or two……..no? Fair enough.
If you need anything else to help inspire you to have Glitched on your radar or to at least try the demo, the below trailer should help. Enjoy!
Written by Sammy J on 23rd September 2018