You’ve lived in the same town all your life, a tiny idyllic village well removed from the world beyond its borders. Life is simple but reassuring in the way of a well-maintained schedule or a checked-off to-do list, and you have very little to want or desire beyond it. You’re content to tread well-worn paths with your best friend and ask nothing else of life. One day, in flagrant defiance of all established patterns, your friend says that he’s going away—reasons unknown, motive mysterious. The night before his departure he disappears, and you look up at the sky, and see Something. This is the premise of GLITCHED.
Your name is Gus, as it turns out. You’re about 20-pixels high, brown hair, green shirt, cute walking animation. Your friend’s name is Conrad, and he’s been glitched out of existence. The person up in the sky is you—real you, sitting on the subway staring a little too close at your phone screen you. This is GLITCHED’s gimmick: the fourth wall? It’s gone. Far, far away. Gus, the friendly avatar, is going to spend the game interacting with you.
Besides this quirk, GLITCHED has a pretty standard agenda: explore the world, meet new characters, maybe fight some stuff, maybe
catch a Pokémon discover a small animal. Personality is tracked through the “Essence System,” which means all actions influence the development of one of six alignments: zeal, insight, harmony, conquest, drift, and bastion. Instead of being a karma system like Fallout 3 (2008) or mappable alignments like Dungeons & Dragons (1974), it emphasizes traits or ideologies that are supported by the choices you and Gus make, both in dialogue and in the larger game. Arya Stark’s going to end up with high zeal, while Sansa might end up with insight or harmony.
GLITCHED also rejects the tall-grass combat system of getting ambushed out of nowhere by Zigzagoons, preferring to keep combat within the story. All combat is triggered through dialogue, and many times you can talk characters down, flee, or otherwise avoid getting physical. You’ll have party members and shiny equipment to shake things up, and most battles will have variable endings: you can talk to enemies instead of killing them. Like Undertale (2015), the game often rewards getting creative instead of taking the easy way through.
For those of you that can’t wait to get started, GLITCHED has a demo to go along with its Kickstarter campaign (which has already surpassed the funding goal) and, as promised, the fourth wall is smashed to bits within seconds of opening it. Stretch goals that have already been unlocked include a customizable town, a collectable “Bebo” farm (bird-ostrich-things?), and an arcade combat minigame, with new quests, more characters, and New Game+ still to come. Whenever you choose to enter this world, Gus’ll be waiting for you.