Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Glider: Collect’n Kill Review

Glider: Collect’n Kill, developed and published by REVOgames.
The Good: Fun and different gameplay, high-quality graphics, adequate bots
The Not So Good: Low variety of maps, only one match style
What say you? A distinct shooter with rapid, appealing gameplay: 6/8

One reason why I like reviewing PC games is that you have the chance to play some interesting products by small developers, something that would never happen in the evil world of console games, where everything is homogenized in order to maximize sales. You also can play games from developers all over the world from strange, far away lands that apparently have computers. Glider: Collect’n Kill is of German descent, and if you have a game where the uninstall menu item is called “Deinstallieren,” you know it’s going to be fun. If they don’t bother to translate everything in the game, it has to be good! Funny thing is, as I loaded up the game, I felt like I’ve played this game before. Glider: Collect’n Kill is very similar to a game that I reviewed long ago and really liked, Clusterball. The basic gameplay model in Glider: Collect’n Kill is derived from this five-year-old game. So, how does this unofficial update play?

Glider: Collect’n Kill has some pretty good graphics. The detail in the levels is quite high, and although the objects are not as numerous as other first person shooters, this is actually a good thing, because then it would prove too difficult to drive around the levels. Each of the ships has a colored trail behind them so that you can easily spot them; sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between power-ups and ships, so this is a nice added feature. The explosion effects are also well done; it is very satisfying to see an enemy ship disintegrate into many flaming pieces when you destroy them. The graphics are pretty enough and render smoothly enough to make the game enjoyable. The sound effects are also well done, with auditory cues when you hit an enemy craft (a satisfying clunking sound) and techno background music. None of the sounds are over the top and annoying, which is always a plus. Glider: Collect’n Kill has both good sound and graphics, something that is usually missing in a title from a small developer.

In Glider: Collect’n Kill, you pilot a flying aircraft (Glider) in three-dimensional maps collecting balls (Collect) and shooting other players (Kill). Glider: Collect’n Kill features both single player and multiplayer gameplay, both of which can involve the capable AI pilots. They are available on three difficulty levels and will both engage you and other players. There isn’t a grand assortment of maps and ships, only five of each. Each of the five maps are nicely constructed and appropriately sized for semi-constant action, and have a variety of environments, sporting wide-open terrain, close-quarters action, and deep valleys. The five available ships have variable levels of speed, acceleration, armor, and handling to suit all styles of driving. Each match can end after a certain amount of time or at a maximum score. You can score points in two ways: shooting down enemy units, or returning collected balls by passing through the center ring (exactly like Clusterball). There are a variety of weapons to play with. A standard laser, a guided rocket, a multiple rocket launcher, a ball stealer, a railgun, mines, a minigun, and health and armor upgrades. None of these weapons are particularly original (you’d see the same in UT or Quake), but they get the job done. The ships handle pretty good, and the developers have decided to tone down the Newtonian physics a bit so that the ships turn and stop more quickly than other games, which results in satisfying gameplay.

Glider: Collect’n Kill is a fine shooter that has an interesting premise, although the gameplay is similar to Clusterball. The game could use more variety of maps and different scoring rules, but the game is fast paced, action packed, and, most importantly, fun to play. Once I got used to the pacing of the game, the more I played Glider: Collect’n Kill, the more I enjoyed it. Although I would like to see difference scoring methods (more points for balls or kills, etc) and different available weapon loadouts (for games with more collecting or more killing), I do like how the ships handle in Glider: Collect’n Kill a lot, especially for beginning players. One of the biggest problems with Clusterball is the learning curve associated with learning to pilot the planes; in Glider: Collect’n Kill, this is not an issue. Glider: Collect’n Kill is easy to play and quite entertaining, but it could use some additional maps and gameplay modes to make it even better.