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Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sandlot Games
Developer: Sandlot Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Glyph has a visual style that reminds me a lot of Celtic art and designs. The different color tiles that you are trying to match up are bright and have intricate patterns carved in them. The overall presentation of this puzzle game is clean and really helps to convey the feeling of dealing with ancient artifacts and ruins.

The game's audio presentation isn't all that bad either. The music has a very ethereal feel to it that again lends itself well to the old-world feeling of Glyph. With both the visual and audible aspects of this game, you really get the feeling that you should be uncovering these ancient symbols while hobbits or elves walk by you.


Glyph has two gameplay modes, Quest and Action. Each mode has its own style and can almost be considered two completely different games in one. Besides reusing the same art assets for the different colored tiles, both modes also have power tiles or artifacts that will help to change the look of the board.

One artifact will remove a column, while another will cause the color of the stone you click on to spread to surrounding tiles. In Quest mode, each artifact can be leveled up. When an artifact appears on the screen, every tile you remove from the board adds power to the artifact. The more power an artifact has, the larger the area the artifact will affect. For instance, the power tile that removes columns will affect only one column with no additional power, but if you destroy enough blocks before using it, it can clear out three columns.

Glyph's Quest mode actually conveys a pretty solid story. Though that story is told in text with the occasional voice-overs (no flashy cinematics here), your progression between the different elements doesn't feel anywhere as random or pointless as, say changing temples in Zuma. You are trying to piece together the five lands (Woods, Fire, Water, Earth and Ether) and in order to do that, you must uncover ancient buried glyphs. You use stones that can cause layers of rock to be blown away and the more stones you blow up at a time, the more rock you get rid of. At its heart, Glyph is a tile-matching game. But instead of just having you try and clear as many tiles as possible, Quest mode gives you a purpose. The levels don't really care how many you get rid of, instead, it is where you get rid of them. As you remove rock-layers, the bright-blue symbol buried underneath gets uncovered and once you have revealed the entire glyph (not necessarily cleared the board, just the rock on top of the glyph), you are done with that level.

After four or five levels, you then play a Simon-esque game to combine them and form one of the glyphs that will help to bring life and energy back into that part of the broken land. In this part of the game, the newly-uncovered glyphs will light up in a certain order. You have to click on them and repeat the order a few times before you are allowed to continue with the rest of the game.

Action mode, on the other hand, is much closer to your standard color-matching game. In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to Collapse. Rows of tiles appear from the bottom of the screen at regular intervals. You need to click on matching colored tiles in order to get them to go away. If you remove a column of tiles, then all of the columns will slide towards the center of the screen as much as possible (this is what really makes it feel like Collapse). The artifacts from Quest mode appear in this mode as well, but instead of appearing outside of the game board and being available whenever you want, they appear with the rest of the tiles. This slight change gives them a more pressing feel and makes you want to use them faster.

Action mode's similarity to Collapse is, by no means, a bad thing. It is a fun game and I have spent way too much time playing this mode. It offers a nice distraction and break from the potential repetition of the other mode.

Glyph also comes packaged with a bonus game called Snail Mail. In this addictive game, you are trying to race through obstacle courses full of enemies, asteroids, ramps and power-ups in order to deliver packages across the universe. In Snail Mail, you have no control over your speed, but you can navigate the snail left and right across the space-highway in order to guide your courier around obstacles or through packages and health units. Your only other mechanic is a mouse click that fires your weapon. As you go through certain colored rings, your weapons upgrade, and if you go through enough rings, you become invincible for the rest of the track (or until you fall off in a pit). Fun stuff.


Glyph's two modes are different and have very different levels of difficulty. Quest mode can, for the most part, be taken at a slow and steady pace. Though you have a time limit, the time increases as you remove tiles, so as long as you are clearing stones, you don't really have to worry about it. Quest mode starts off really easy, but as you progress in the story and more types of tiles get introduced, it gets gradually harder.

Action mode, on the other hand, feels like you should hit the ground running because you are constantly trying to keep the number of stone tiles on the board as low as possible. This mode, though not necessarily more difficult, felt more frantic than the other.

Game Mechanics:

The controls of Glyph are simply point and click. You click on the tile that you want all connected and matching ones to disappear. But one of the small aspects of this game that really makes it easier to play is what happens when you get ready to click on a tile.

As you move your mouse over various parts of the board, the tiles that will be affected by your click shake. This gives you an immediate idea of exactly how big an area you are about to change. If you are simply trying to clear a group of tiles, then only the same colored tiles that are connected to yours shake. However, if you are trying to use one of the artifacts, then it isn't just all of the connected ruins, it is all ruins within that power tile's affected area. Again, this really helps to give you an idea of the size of the change you are about to introduce on the board.

Glyph is an excellent puzzle game that any fan of the genre should pick up. The non-matching puzzle that appears regularly throughout the Quest mode as well as the frequent introduction of new types of tiles is spaced just frequently enough to keep the game from feeling too repetitive and is a great way to relax after a long day at the office. And if that mode still gets to be too redundant, the Action mode is a great escape from that to get your heart rate up.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium II 400Mhz or better, 64 MB RAM, 32 bit 3D Hardware Accelerated Video Card with 32MB Video RAM, Internet Explorer 5.0+, AOL 5,6 or MSN browsers, Direct-X 8.1 or above, Keyboard & mouse required, Joystick and game pad are not supported

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

Microsoft Xbox 360 Bullet Witch Microsoft Xbox 360 Dance Dance Revolution Universe

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