Another tough-as-nails platformer has arrived on the Xbox One, and in Glitch’s Trip you play as the titular hero who sets out to stop his home planet of Verdo from being fully sapped of its energy and life-force in order to make Moon Juice. Set across four moons, Glitch must travel to each one to battle enemies, shut down the breweries and prevent the destruction of his planet.
That’s no easy feat though. Glitch’s Trip is ridiculously difficult, even on the easiest difficulty. Each level is a lethal mix of enemies and environmental hazards, purely designed to test both your reflexes and platforming skills. Reminiscent of other hardcore platformers, such as the original Super Meat Boy, the keys to victory are fine control and precise timing. To help you, Glitch is armed with a rifle and a unique ability to ‘phase-out’, which comes in handy to avoid enemy projectiles, lasers and explosions. It’s not much though, and you should be prepared to take plenty of deaths.
On top of the unrelenting difficulty, Glitch’s Trip also keeps it’s gameplay fresh by using Glitch’s unique ability to its fullest potential. At certain points, the phase-out can be used to fundamentally affect a level’s environment in unexpected ways, like flipping gravity (or turning it off entirely) and toggling hidden blocks. And this is used to great effect. By combining these altered states with the various hazards and enemies, the game succeeds in creating unique challenges. On top of that, each effect is only temporary and is usually required to reach the next part of the level, so it’s often a race against time too.
The game looks great, with a bright and vibrant art style. Each world has a distinct theme that is beautifully designed. And the same can be said for Glitch and the enemies he faces as well – who knew a giant green ball could look so good? The entire game is also reminiscent of Geometry Wars with the sheer amount of visual effects happening at any one time. Importantly though, they don’t overpower the gameplay and you’re able to keep track of Glitch with ease.
There’s plenty more to do once you’ve finished Glitch’s Trip. Each level has three Moon Juice collectibles that can be destroyed; grabbing them will unlock items that you can use to customise Glitch’s appearance in-game – a nice, if relatively minor, thing to have. More importantly though, there’s also the challenge mode to sink your teeth into. Here the difficulty is raised to eleven. It’s a mode that demands near-mastery of the controls and god-like reflexes. No doubt any fan of hardcore platformers will find the mode fun, if frustratingly difficult.
Glitch’s Trip has one hundred levels. It sounds great on the surface, but in practice it’s too many for a game with only four worlds. In my experience, a lot of the levels feel like filler, offering nothing really substantive or different. Perhaps the place where this is most obvious are the various battle-style ‘arena’ type levels, where you simply need to clear out the enemies to open the door to the next level. I found these cropping up far too often. And it’s my opinion that forcing players to slog through essentially the same level multiple times risks putting them off before they even get to some of the brilliant late game challenges that Glitch’s Trip offers. Fifteen levels per world would have sufficed, and wouldn’t have detracted from the experience in any way.
In the grand scheme of things though, it seems like a minor criticism and shouldn’t put you off picking this one up. Glitch’s Trip on Xbox is a brilliant platformer that looks the part and plays great. It’s a game that constantly throws unique challenges at you to truly test your mettle, and any fan of hardcore platformers will relish the challenge it offers. It’s fair to say that Glitch’s is certainly a trip worth taking.