Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork PC Review: Saturday Morning Galaga

by David Sanchez March 27, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

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Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork has a shaky history. Though it’s one of the earlier titles to achieve Kickstarter success, developer Pixeljam Games ultimately needed more funds and was unable to deliver the game as expected. After taking on odd jobs, making a quirky platformer titled Potatoman Seeks the Troof, and developing a revamped version of Glorkian Warrior on mobile devices, Pixeljam has finally come full circle. Though the developer admits that this isn’t the game it initially set out to make, the fact remains that Glorkian Warrior is a fun little shooter that’s best enjoyed in small bursts.

Inspired by arcade classics like Galaga, Glorkian Warrior is an endless shooter that caters to both high score lovers and game players who like condensed, fast-paced games. You control the titular Glorkian Warrior, who’s armed with a talking backpack that doubles as a projectile blaster. Though it’s rooted in the left-to-right-to-left mechanics of old, you can also make Glorkian Warrior jump. This doesn’t add a whole lot to the gameplay, but it definitely comes in handy.

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The first time you play, the game seems very basic — and it is, though it offers its share of nuances. Shooting enemies (your backpack fires an endless supply of laser shots) yields collectible crackers that are tallied up and added to an overall in-game total. Accruing more crackers unlocks different features such as icy terrain or new weapons. Unlockable guns include a missile launcher and tennis ball gun, among others. The catch is that all of these unlocks randomly appear when you play, drastically altering the action when you least expect it.

Aside from crackers, enemies also drop different weapon modifiers. One moment you’ll snag a handy triple laser that can take out multiple enemies while another you’ll pick up a rapid fire modifier that gives you a speedy upper hand. These weapon modifiers do a solid job of further enhancing the gameplay, and they keep the game going at a hectic pace.

Though it’s endless in its design, there’s a nice sense of progression in Glorkian Warrior. Collecting crackers to unlock different environmental layouts, weird weapons, and digital mini-comics makes you feel like you’re playing for more than just a high score. The game is able to reward you for your efforts with more than a simple number — the more you play, the more the actual game changes and the more it improves.

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As much fun as Glorkian Warrior is, though, it’s much better suited for shorter sessions. I liken the game to something like solitaire: It’s perfect when you’re between tasks. Maybe you’ve got a handful of minutes to kill at work or before you go out — if so, this is a fine game to sink some time into. I can’t see anyone playing religiously for hours on end, but I can certainly see them giving it a go when they’ve got time to spare.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the cheery, Saturday morning cartoon vibe of Glorkian Warrior. Comic book artist James Kochalka gave the game a look that’s straight up reminiscent of a goofy, cheery animated show that would most likely have a cult following. It’s colorful and quirky, and it’s right in line with Kochalka’s offbeat and inviting work. Because this is an endless arcade shooter, you’ll see a lot of the same things too often, but you can’t get around being instantly charmed.

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The writing in Glorkian Warrior is also penned by Kochalka and, much like the art style, fits in with the rest of his work. When you start and end a session, you’re treated to back-and-forth dialogue between various characters. A lot of the writing consists of wacky non-sequiturs and random quips, but if you dig that sort of thing, the humor will get you to chuckle a few times throughout.

It’s great that Pixeljam and James Kochalka were finally able to release their collaborative project on the PC. The $4 asking price is fair because there’s a nice amount of content to unlock over the course of roughly two hours. That said, you can also purchase the game on your iOS or Android device for $3, where it’s even more fitting. Either way, the refined endless arcade shmup mechanics, candy-like cartoon style, and host of unlocks make this an intergalactic quest that’s fun to play and revisit when you need to kill some time.

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