Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork Review

A look at James Kochalka and Pixeljunk Studios’ Kickstarter-funded indie title available now via Steam.

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork on PC

The explosion of both indie and mobile games in recent years has, I think, resulted in something curious and pretty great. With the openness of the market, smaller titles that eschew convention and focus on simple, enjoyable gameplay have flooded the market. An irreverent, tongue-in-cheek tale of a lone defender of his distant planet, Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork puts aside most semblance of story, complex mechanics, and the other trappings of high-profile games. It delivers an action-packed and easy to play experience that captures the essence of what games are really supposed to be about, in this writer’s humble opinion: fun.

Playing something like a Space Invaders clone, Glorkian Warrior tells the tale of Glork, a three-eyed alien set on defending his planet, also called Glork, from invading forces. Enemies stream into play in waves, while Glork runs and jumps across the ground at the bottom of the screen. Strapped to his back, our downtrodden hero carries his trusty Super Backpack, a talking weapon that constantly fires during play. While the Super Backpack’s default weaponry is pretty substandard, plentiful powerups and boosters add some punch. Players are also tasked with collecting crackers, which add to point totals and assist in unlocking further weapons, upgrades, and other items or features.

Glorkian Warrior Gameplay

Along with enemies, dangerous asteroids also drop, presenting further danger to Glork and his mission to protect his planet.

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork is actually not the first appearance of this somewhat inept hero. Cartoonist and musician James Kochalka has released three books featuring this bug-eyed creature, and has garnered some success. The result of a collaboration between Kochalka and Pixeljunk Studios, Glorkian Warrior was a Kickstarter-funded project that led to the creation of this game for mobile platforms and, eventually, PC and Mac ports. Kochalka’s unique style and humor permeate every aspect of the game, with surreal art and off-beat jokes filling nearly every part of the game. Short conversations between Glork and the Super Backpack poke fun at both the game, the characters, and games as a whole.

Glorkian Warrior Is This a Dream

A dig at the common “it was all a dream” theme, this bit of dialogue is a good representation of the humor found throughout the game.

While Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork may not be a highly sophisticated or complicated game, it seems to perfectly nail what it set out to be. With plenty of unlockable items and weapons, including a potent piercing laser that can decimate rows of enemies and weapon-boosting powerups that increase shot damage or firing speed. Other unlockables, such as exploding basketballs, present more of a danger than a benefit, and several of the unlocked items appear to do nothing meaningful at all. Glorkian Warrior spares no opportunity for cutting commentary on common themes in gaming, all while keeping a sharp wit and self-deprecating tone that serves well in the ultimately futile quest for survival that, as Glork is apt to point out, has no particular end goal to reach.

Glorkian Warrior Boss Battle

Upping the ante from mere waves of easily dispatched foes, potent boss battles pop up from time to time, truly testing Glork’s mettle.

All in all, Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork plays much as you’d expect from a mobile game port, but with enough amusing content and unique style to create a memorable and worthwhile experience. With a nice, low $3.99 price on Steam, there’s little reason for those looking for something different and fun that still offers a challenge for gamers of all skill levels. While the simple gameplay and bright, cartoonish graphics may turn away some gamers in search of a more complex experience, Glorkian Warrior puts together something that captures the spirit of what videogames are, in the end, really all about – having fun and taking a break from the dull realities of life.

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