Monday, 15 September 2014

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork / review by Stephen Theaker

I had read in the later volumes of American Elf that James Kochalka was working on a video game, but I’d sort of assumed it was going to be a flash game for his publisher’s website or something like that. A big surprise then to find that Kochalka and PixelJam’s Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork (Pixeljam, played on iPod Touch 5; available to buy here) is a fully-fledged app store game, and an excellent one at that. It takes the Glorkian Warrior (whose first book The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza was reviewed in TQF#47) and his trusty backpack and gives them room to run and jump around at the bottom of the screen while waves of invaders attack from above. The backpack constantly shoots, leaving the Glorkian Warrior to worry about dodging bullets, completing missions set by little girl aliens in space armour, and collecting crackers and power-ups. They’re the usual type of thing: fireballs, missiles, wiggly bullets, a tennis ball gun. It’s all a play on Space Invaders, but Kochalka’s designs are so appealing and the gameplay so enjoyable that this became that rarest of things: a mobile game I played out of love rather than boredom or dogged determination. It’s funny, but fair, death always feeling like it’s your own fault, even when the immediate cause is a Magic Robot who throws exploding birthday cakes your way. Points and crackers earn upgrades. The last one, for collecting twenty thousand credits: ennui. The Glorkian Warrior begins to look bored if you stand still.  ****

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