Make the world’s most incredible gumball machine – Glyphs: Apprentice Review
This game is not for the impatient. In Glyphs: Apprentice, you take the role of an apprentice mage learning the tricks of the trade to become a Mystic in the Circle of Mages. Storywise, that’s about as deep as it gets. There are multiple levels with accompanying text boxes, but there’s no real development or progression of the story. It’s kind of a lofty premise that you pick up along learning the game. I would say the story is not a real factor of the game. It’s really just set dressing to the look and feel of the game, which feels mystical, but is actually unapologetically mechanical.
The gameplay is very basic. You place these spells down to conjure orbs, then other spells to move and transform the orbs to where and what they need to be. The gameplay repeats these steps, You place your spells, you program the actions of the spells, you run the program, and see if the program works. If it doesn’t work, you repeat the process until it does. It’s a lot like coding, but with a much more friendly and engaging UI. Much like coding, it is also incredibly time-consuming and frustrating. Being successful in Glyphs: Apprentice requires foresight, planning, patience, and perseverance. It only takes on small misstep to ruin the whole chain. Just like in coding, where it takes one off character ruin it. The best summary I can think of is players try to make a giant gumball machine to move multiple gumballs across the board. You use different machines to move the gumballs, change their colors, and have a console to direct and program the machines. Each level you need a new machine, that requires a new approach, and presents a new set of challenges.
In large, the mechanics of the game are wonderful, very direct and to the point. In terms of functionality, the game is flawless. The aesthetics and the details are where it comes up a bit short. The tutorial is drawn out and somewhat repetitive. It takes a long time to create and run a simple program. The instructions are given step by step, but also repeats the step, which is torture if you’re as impatient as I am. I cannot stand tutorials where I am given instructions, have to click to move on to the next instructions, only to have the exact same instructions displayed for me as I do the action. One of those steps can and should be removed. It ruins the tutorials engagement, increases the length, and makes it feel like it’s dragging on. As the spells and instructions are very distinguishable by their icons, I feel a cheat sheet would have been perfect for impatient players, instead of somewhat requiring the tutorial. Also, getting the information on the spells, like what they do and what they may need to perform, is not intuitive. I don’t quite remember the process off my head, but I feel mouse hovering should explain the spell as a matter of convenience and game flow support. If it does appear from mouse hovering, it takes too long to appear, because it feels like research when looking for spell descriptions. Lastly, while the game board is aesthetically pleasing, the rest of the game feels like a dusty old library. It does somewhat play into the mystical theme, but it’s not appealing and clashes with the surprising intensity of the gameplay.
Glyphs: Apprentice as an entertainment game is not going to appeal to most players. It is not something I can recommend for casual gamers. However, as an educational tool, challenge, and skill developer, I think it is absolutely brilliant! It exercises the mind and puts it through a similar thought process of a coder and programmer. If you ever had one of those DIY robot kits, the interface will feel very familiar. Getting good at, and learning the concepts of, Glyphs: Apprentice could likely help develop and support someone’s ability to code/program. Being able to see a long string of functions take action and understanding the sequences, placement, and actions of everything involved is a hard thing to master, let alone fathom. Glyphs Apprentice is an amazing platform to do all that in an enjoyable way. If you are looking for a challenge, and want to exercise your coding/programming skills, Glyphs Apprentice is an amazing program to do so. I give my Glyphs: Apprentice review a 7/10.