App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Glitchskier is a shoot em up (shmup) set against a glitch-heavy, retro computer aesthetic. If you have fondness for anything that smacks of cyberpunk, hacking, or old computers more generally, there's a chance that just looking at screenshots of Glitchskier will get you a little giddy. Beyond aesthetics, Glitchskier offers some solid shmup action, but its gameplay doesn't quite make the same impact that its look does.
In Glitchskier, you control a little triangular ship that you control by tapping and dragging around on the screen. As you move, your vessel fires automatically, which allows you to position yourself to take out any enemies or obstacles that are looking to impede your progress.
Along the way, you'll gather weapon upgrades, which allow you to dish out more punishment or simply attack from alternative angles. These upgrades can really help out when facing off against the four bosses in Glitchskier, which present a pretty steep challenge at the end of specific stages.
If you ever get hit during a run, time briefly slows down and you lose one of your upgrades. If there are no upgrades to lose, your ship is destroyed, you get a game over, and you have to start the game all over again from the very beginning.
A E S T H E T I C
To say that Glitchskier is committed to a specific look feels almost like an understatement. Whenever you boot up the game, you bear witness to a fake boot screen for a retro OS that serves as your way of launching the game, adjusting settings, and even seeing the game credits.
Once you are in the action, Glitchskier is then filled with retro graphics, scan lines, and error code. To keep things readable on screen while everything is glitching out and crazy, the game (helpfully) applies color tones to objects and enemies that can be destroyed and those that can't. It's a smart system that really helps the game stay playable while looking incredibly hectic.
Upgrade your gameplay
Unfortunately for Glitchskier, I find the game a lot more enjoyable as something to look at than as something to play. It's shmup action is fine enough, but there are a few things about it that seem peculiar to keep me from being super compelled by it.
The first is the game over system. As mentioned previously, if you die on a run in Glitchskier, no progress is saved. Instead, you just have to start the game from the beginning again and work your way up to where you died.
Secondly, Glitchskier doesn't offer much in terms of upgrades or unlocks for any sort of progress you may have made. All of the game's color pallets are unlocked from the jump, and the only thing to keep you going is your own drive to see the experience through to the end. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but this sort of structure definitely won't be everyone's cup of tea.
The bottom line
Much like an antiquated operating system, Glitchskier is cool-looking, but not the greatest thing to play with. Audio-visually, it's amazing, but I wish that the gameplay rose to that same level of awesomeness. It's not a bad game by any means, but there are better (though perhaps less visually ambitious) shmups out there.