Glyder: Adventure Worlds is a flying simulation game. You can think of it as a mobile cousin to Pilotwings. A strange cousin that no one really wants to hang out with for too long. You know the kind. They're actually pretty cool at first and can be a lot of fun but after about an hour with them you begin to realize that, in reality, they're annoying and only seemed fun because you were bored in the first place.
So why should you consider spending any time with Glyder: Adventure Worlds? Read on to see how this strange cousin performs as a substantial time killer.
There's a story to Glyder which is okay, at best. There's a whole lot to be desired in the graphics and level design but what's provided is satisfactory. The music and sound effects, while rather mundane, are quite good and set the mood very well. At heart, Glyder is a good game. That's what it all boils down to. I'm about to describe all of the reasons why it's not though - because there's nothing more disappointing than a good game that could have easily been made to be great.
The protagonist of Glyder's story is Eryn, a clever girl that tinkers with flying contraptions, assorted gizmos, and fanciful doodads. One day she hears a knocking on her door. She finds no one there when she answers but discovers a mysterious device had been left for her. Of course it requires further investigation, and upon doing so she is transported to another dimension. The driving force, the quest which Eryn must see to it's end, is to navigate this strange new frontier and find a way back home. Or at least, that's what I assumed from the load screen.
There's probably a really cool story to Glyder and it's probably very unfortunate that no one will ever know it. Glyder contains no narrative. At all. There is no further divulging of any storyline or plot after the four or five sentence load-screen introduction whatsoever. Glyder is a complete failure as a dramatic work. This is part one to why the word Adventure should be stricken from the title. Part two is the exceptionally lackluster and often non-existent adventuring that actually takes place during the game.
Eryn takes flight from floating platforms using a set of makeshift glider wings and soars above a very un-treacherous, barren, and unpopulated land. The bulk of adventuring within Glyder is almost wholly comprised of looking for something to do. Challenges exist in each of the six worlds but are rudimentary and have no weight in plot or level progression. Glyder is more akin to sandbox gameplay than it is to linear gameplay. It's up to you to decide what to do - speed runs, timed item collections, or. . . flying around. Completing certain challenges garners a few awards and will sometimes alter the landscape a little bit but does nothing truly beneficial or exciting. The lack of an antagonist, or any other characters at all for that matter, certainly dampen the feeling of necessity to further trudge through the airy levels.
Trudging through Glyder is very much a pick-up-and-play endeavor. Controlling Eryn's flight is easily executed through tilting maneuvers which are registered flawlessly. If you don't like tilting your phone you can also choose to use any part of the touchscreen as a directional pad but may find, like I did, that you won't be able to see where you're going as easily. There's a bit of a pro/con to each control style. The tilt scheme doesn't register extremely sharp turns nearly as well as using the touchscreen but it's so much easier to see where you want or need to go. Using the touchscreen restricts your vision a bit and throws in the hazard of hitting the Home or Search button but is also much more precise and you won't look as foolish on a crowded train.
There are plenty of items to collect in Glyder. Different wings and costumes to alter the character's appearance and flight prowess are hidden out in the open, usually in tough to fly to locations. Gems are scattered all over the place and are used to open different ports of quick transportation from one area to another. The levels are sprawling landscapes that are open and expansive and are well suited for exploration but are barren and scantly furnished with the exuberance of vitality. The soundtrack is profoundly suited to setting the mood of relaxed indifference, further marking Glyder as an atmospheric refrain instead of an adventure.
To reiterate, Glyder: Adventure Worlds is a good game. It's got tons of things to do that will take up a great deal of time. The challenges are bland and become increasingly routine but are substantial time wasters for when you're bored. Completionists may or may not have a field day with this one as there's so much to unlock and collect but there's so little incentive to do so. It's difficult to truly get a grasp of how decent of a game Glyder: Adventure Worlds is because it is at once very fun to play but also underwhelming and disheartening to continue playing. Glyder is a game of anticipated fun, patience, and unrealized excitement. It's certainly worth a trial run and at $2.99 it probably is worth it but you shouldn't expect much of an adventure
Grab Glyder here in the Marketplace for a free trial.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.