My #DiscoverIndies choice for the month of January is Warp Glider. It’s a small but addicting arcade game created by Mole Eyes Entertainment and its available on Steam for the super low price of $0.99 cents. That’s right, less than one US dollar bill.
Warp Glider is an arcade game in its purest form. A simple concept that has a well-executed design and is addictive and fun to play. You control a glide craft and the goal is to collect as much energy as possible while avoiding obstacles such as meteors, black holes and a wide variety of enemy ships known as bandits. The more energy you collect in a single run, the more the game throws at you. If you crash and die, you start over in a true arcade fashion. No coins required though!
You start the game by picking a glider. At first, you have a single craft, but you can unlock a second one by completing a high scoring run. From there, you control a glider from a top-down perspective on a single screen. I hooked up an Xbox One controller to play Warp Glider, and it controlled like a dream. Very slick and responsive.
The controls are simple, you turn it and move it forward with one stick, and you have a button that boosts your speed, the more you tap the boost, the faster you move. Your craft and the bandits have some physical qualities in the world. Your movement is affected by momentum and inertia, and it’s up to you to work it into your advantage.
If you exit on one side of the screen, you reappear on the other side symmetrically, Pac-man style
You don’t have any weapons per se, but you aren’t defenseless either. You have to be creative in how you dispatch the bandits. While not required, culling a number of them can buy you some time to collect more energy. The bandits have a physical presence too, you can lead them into asteroids, black holes and even the projectiles of other bandits.
You also pick up temporary power-ups, these can imbue your glider with a variety of useful boons. Such as making you faster, granting a shield or firing a missile at nearby bandits. The power-ups tend to do more than what is immediately obvious. For example, a shield will protect you from damage. But it also makes you a battering ram capable of destroying bandits by flying into them. One power-up creates two orbs that spiral around you, I found that I could spin my glider and essentially turn them into a flail to strike bandit ships with.
I was delighted when I found out that a power-up that magnetically shoves away foes, could be used to send them spiraling into each other, causing a chain reaction of ship collisions and mayhem.
The bandits themselves are also varied, each one follows its own movement and attack patterns. Some of them skirt the outside of the edges of the screen, others chase you directly, while others seem to go for the energy you are collecting. Bandits are all subject to hazards that you are. They can be destroyed by asteroids, caught in the slowing cold trail of ice meteors, sucked into a black hole and more.
The game looks really good visually, the ships have good detail, but the particle effects, in particular, are eye-catching. They burst, dazzle and flow around in wisps and gusts beautifully. Yet, they never become so overwhelming as to obscure your screen and make it hard to play.
The game has an old-school arcade addictiveness to it. Every time you die, you tell yourself, one more try and play again, attempting to beat your old high score. It’s not packed with a carrot on stick incentives, slowly feeding you endorphin boosts until the next piece of candy. It’s just pure, simple and fun. It is extremely challenging but fair in its difficulty and keeps you coming back for more.
It’s a small arcade indie title to be sure, but it’s well made, looks pretty and is way more fun than I was first expecting. The music is pretty catchy too.
The game costs less than a candy bar and that’s not much to us gamers. But numbers add up and with enough people, it could mean the world to its sole developer. I challenge you to buy the game and try and get a score of 100. That’s 100 energy orbs collected in a single run. I haven’t been able to do it yet, but I’m sure trying. If you do pick it, and you like it, be sure to leave a Steam review on its store page. That’s super important for these hidden gems to be discovered. You should also check out Minaurs