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GLO – Review

GLO takes your usual 2D platformer and places the entire game in darkness except for the tiny aura around your body. It reminds me games like Ink where you’d paint out what the level and world is around you and then work your way through the platforming. GLO has a different and challenging stance on this idea and whilst it will frustrate and annoy you at times, its largely a good experience.

Enemy deaths and enemy fire can light the way as much as your bullets.

Alongside your aura around your body lighting up the way, you can also shoot out a light bullet like a twin stick shooter. The bullet continues until it hits something – be that a wall, floor or enemy. It works like an echolocation gun but requires your memory to remember exactly where to jump or wall climb to. Doing both light shooting and platforming can be done but its tricky and that’s the point of time trial mode. 100 levels – how fast can it be done? What I liked most about GLO is that you can often (so long as you shoot the odd enemy drifting towards you) choose to map out the world around you with shooting everywhere before you set off or go in blind. Both options are there for both play styles and it makes the daunting idea of GLO much more accessible than you initial think it will be. That’s backed up by your characters movements too – they are fluid and responsive. I really liked the wall climbing by rhythmic jumping into the wall.

Every level is a one hit kill and enemies are just blocks or amoebas floating towards you. You can shoot a light bullet at them to kill them and they sprinkle some tiny lights around as they die. Handy stuff. You can also collect other bullets. One of these sticks to surfaces for a few seconds and another is like a firework that sends a spray of lights down from the sky. Both are useful and worth going out of your way to get, especially after the first third of the game.

The flare as the added benefit of killing what it touches too. It’s a lovely lightshow and I wanted more of this in the game.

Whilst level design is usually quite decent, it is built around cheap deaths and maze surprises that become telegraphable after a while. It does keep its platform challenge throughout the game though so I think retro gamers will likely get the most out of GLO. One area which I didn’t connect with were the bosses. Unlike all the other levels where the design may have been trolling you at times but always fair, the bosses felt too random. They all carry logic and move sets but you can’t see them in the dark and so it feels a bit random when you die and when you win. They were the least rewarding and engaging part of the game for me personally.

It’s a recommendation with caution from me for GLO. Platformer fans will enjoy the challenge and whilst its a short, succinct and well thought out game as a whole, I think many others will get frustrated at the trial and die routine. The platinum on PS4/PS5 versions is also placed after level 20 of 100 before the tricky bosses and levels come into play so if you want that easy plat – this ones doable in 20 minutes.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Final Thoughts
Some nice game mechanics and ideas give GLO a good if frustrating at times innings during its short but challenging lifespan.
Darkness as a game mechanic works out really well.
The ability to think before moving is perfectly reasonable - as is speedrunning.
Some nice puzzle mechanics keep things fresh later in the game (post platinum).
Boss battles will be marmite.
Uninspiring sound design and soundtrack.
Some levels are built around cheap deaths.
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