Shine a Light
The sun is dying, infested by a race of evil, parasitic aliens known as Ramora. Worse still, the planets of the solar system are corrupted by the same beasts; they will very soon follow. The only one that can save them is a creature known as Shiner, a being of pure light equipped with an ancient suit of armor.
This is the premise of Glare, which might well be one of the best-looking indie platformers I've seen this year. Everything about the game looks positively stunning. The painstakingly-rendered 2.5D environments give a unique flavor and feel to each world. The protagonist looks just as a knight in (literally) shining armor should, and the Remora are fittingly sinister, reminiscent of the sorts of creatures you'd see trawling the deepest depths of the ocean on earth. Not only does the game look awesome, it also sounds awesome. The soundtrack, from what we've heard so far, is downright beautiful.
Developed with the Unity game engine, Glare is a metroidvania-style platformer, complete with branching, free-roaming environments to explore and a plethora of platforming puzzles to solve. As an added bonus, each world in Glare is completely spherical – you'll actually notice a number of cool effects related to this as you traverse the surface and the interior of the planet. As a result, in spite of the game's size (the developers told us that most players will likely be able to rush through it in somewhere around 3-4 hours), it gives you the feeling (and the thrill that goes with it) of having actually traversed something.
Unlike most metroidvania games, Glare doesn't technically equip Shiner with a weapon. Not really, anyway. While you do unlock items like a gun later on in the game, Shiner's best avenue of attack remains his eyes, which emit a constant, piercing beam of light known as The Glare that illuminates anything he… well, anything he glares at.
This light, while it will serve to drive enemies into obstacles or terrain (and hence to their deaths) also has a whole host of other effects related to exploration and puzzle solving.
The Glare can activate platforms, cause plants to grow, and eliminate dark clouds left by the corruption of the Ramora. This will be used, naturally, to help Shiner further explore his environment, through a host of different nodes that react to his light in a variety of ways: some create a zipline; and others teleport him around the world. Though the controls for the game are incredibly simple – some might call them minimalist – the mechanics of The Glare add a layer of surprising complexity without sacrificing the simple, fast-paced fun that forms the core of Glare.
Shiner's also got an arsenal of acrobatic moves at his disposal, including double jumps, wall kicks, and slides that further enrich the title's platforming, and while you may beat the campaign in just a few hours, there are plenty of ways to experience it again and improve your scores.
Glare looks absolutely fantastic, and it looks to play just as beautifully. Assuming the game lives up to the hype (I've no doubts that it will), Shiner and his quest may well be placed in the halls of indie gaming legend, next to titles like Braid and Cave Story. Phobic Studios clearly doesn't do things in half measures, and their first foray into PC development is already better than some titles produced by developers with years more experience.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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