Game review | Glitchpunk Early Access, a nostalgic joy ride
Let me start this review off by saying I have absolutely no nostalgia to fall back on when it comes to top-down shooters. No, not even for the first Grand Theft Auto. I just don’t get those warm fuzzy feelings when looking at games like that – but judging from the shocked and frankly disappointed faces of my friend group and partner when I said that, I’m clearly not in the majority with my retro, top-down hating ways.
Glitchpunk is precisely the type of game that I have no lingering feelings for. Inspired by classic top-down shooters, Glitchpunk lets you shoot, steal, drive and maim your way through its dystopian cyberpunk world as an android bounty hunter.
There are a few rather exciting concepts at play within Glitchpunk. For example, there is a reputation system between you and the various gangs who operate in the city. Doing quests for anyone gang will increase your reputation with them while also decreasing your rep with the others. This system leads to some nice branching narratives, different dialogue options and endings.
Inspired by classic top-down action games, Glitchpunk lets you brawl, shoot and drive your way through a dystopian future. As an android bounty hunter in a brutal world of gangs, cults and corporations there's plenty of work for you. Lock and load, let her rip! #GameTrailers #Gaming #Glitchpunk
Glitchpunk also has an upgrade system. You can find or buy different cybernetic modules around the city to upgrade your character with new abilities. One of these modules allows you to hack into those around you, changing how they act and respond to specific triggers. This system gives some dimension to your playthrough and makes for a game that feels new and fresh even though we’ve seen it a million times over.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all that’s good about Glitchpunk currently. Living up to its name in the most unfortunate and literal sense, Glitchpunk is littered with more performance issues than Cyberpunk 2077 at launch. And no, I didn’t think that that was a possibility either.
Glitchpunk has got to be one of the most resource-hungry games I’ve ever played. I sat with pretty much constant frame drops and freezing, which took a game that should have had me on the edge of my seat and turned it into an infuriatingly tedious experience that I just wanted to put behind me. More time was spent trying to get the game to perform better (it didn’t) and waiting through the insufferably long “loading” screens than actually playing through all of the available content.
I also feel like there is something up with Glitchpunks graphics currently. I was playing with everything on Ultra, but I just couldn’t get my game to mirror the sharp and crisp graphics showcased in the trailer.
Poor performance and optimisation aside, the gameplay also feels exceptionally janky with some laughably poor physics. I spent a good few minutes chuckling as I used my character’s body to push a car around the map and then seconds later found myself stuck behind an NPC that I couldn’t so much as nudge out of my characters way. The controller support could also use some love as it’s almost unusable presently.
Complaints aside, Glitchpunk feels like a welcome mashup between Hotline Miami and the old school GTA games. Glitchpunk needs a LOT of polishing and work, but it has the potential to be an entertaining and memorable game. The story is fun enough and perfectly complements the “dystopian” vibe, and overall, the combat balancing felt pretty fair. Glitchpunk has everything it needs to scratch that nostalgic itch, but currently, scratch is all it does.
I’m convinced there must be some curse on all Cyberpunk themed games, and hopefully, Glitchpunk will be able to shake it off with a little TLC.
As of now, it takes roughly three hours to complete Glitchpunk, but because there’s no auto or manual save, you will need to play through everything in a single run.
While I was far from impressed with Glitchpunk in its current state, I think it shows great promise and could be an exceptional top-down shooter when all is said and done, and the issues are patched out. Glitchpunk is currently in Early Access, and I'd gladly revisit it and revise my score when it launches.