App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Beglitched is the latest release from Alec Thomson, who released Swap Sword late last year. While both of these games are match-three titles, they couldn't be more different in tone and mechanics. Where Swap Sword was a straightforward dungeon-crawler, Beglitched is a puzzle game with a bright aesthetic, a hacking theme, minesweeper-like mechanics, and an overworld with its own sets of different puzzles. While it's a charming little package (particularly in terms of its writing), a lot of the puzzles in Beglitched test your patience, while others are downright confusing.
Who is Glitch Witch?
The entirety of Beglitched takes place within a cutesy computer operating system where you play as the apprentice to a legendary hacker known as Glitch Witch. When you start the game, you find yourself exploring networks while she is away, which kicks off a story full of kooky characters, a little mystery, and lots and lots of hacking.
Like most other video game versions of hacking, the hacking in Beglitched is abstracted into a more palatable game form. Beglitched's take involves playing a match-three game to create resources that allow you to locate and destroy invading users. It's a really strange combination of systems, but the result is a kind of puzzling that feels entirely new rather than a redressing of familiar mechanics.
Learn to hack
Beglitched's unique version of match-three is then crammed it into a strange overworld represented by an adorable operating system. While in this overworld, you can wander between computer monitors, which can be logged into to trigger certain events, like earning money or uncovering an egg which “scrambles” your network. On certain networks of monitors, enemies are present as well, and moving to them initiates the match-three portion of the game.
When matching three, you have a game board full of tiles representing compasses, money, computers, batteries, and bombs. Your goal is to use energy (which is gained by matching batteries) to activate compasses and computers so you can pinpoint the location of a hidden enemy on the game board. Once located, you need to move a bomb tile to where they are hiding and activate it to damage them. There are also other tactical considerations--like turn limits, powerups, and specialized enemy behaviors--that help keep the action feeling fresh and varied throughout the experience.
As much as I appreciate how unique Beglitched is, the first thirty minutes or so with the game were very confusing, with certain early sections feeling pointless and/or inscrutable. There are some characters and dialogue prompts that appear to try and teach you how the game works, but it only really seems like the game clicks after you bang your head against the mechanics a few times.
To help you stick with the experience, Beglitched's first couple networks are are almost too easy once you know what you're doing. From here though, things ramp up to levels that demand you protect sets of otherwise pointless tiles and others that are full of completely indestructible enemies. While these puzzles aren't insurmountable, they may test your patience, especially considering that a few wrong moves can result in having to restart a whole network of puzzles from the very beginning.
If this weren't bad enough, Beglitched also ramps up the puzzle mechanics of its overworld the deeper into it you get by creating puzzles that alternate between being tedious and infuriatingly confusing. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that Beglitched does not do a very good job of explaining how its overworld works at all.
The bottom line
I really appreciate the lengths Beglitched goes to to mix up the match-three formula. That said, I only really found myself having fun with Beglitched around the mid-point of the game. Earlier on in the game I was confused about how to do anything, and later on I found myself getting frustrated by ridiculously demanding hacking segments paired with overworld puzzles that didn't seem to properly explain themselves. Had some of these puzzles been explained a little better or the consequences for failure been a little less severe, Beglitched would be a much easier game to recommend than it is now.