glyder titleDuring the Game Developer's Conference late last month, Touch Arcade had the opportunity to sit down with Glu and spend some time with a number of their upcoming titles.

One of the more impressive games we saw was Glyder [App Store], a casual flyer in which the player takes on the role of Eryn, an unfortunate girl thrown through a dimensional rift, who's just trying to find her way home.  We've since received a copy of the final release version of the game which is now available in the App Store and have spent most of the day soaring about the game world trying our best to get Eryn home.

In Glyder, Eryn is equipped with a da Vinci-esque flying apparatus and must complete a series of missions across six different island worlds, collecting floating crystals of various colors in order to open a portal that will lead her home.  Along the way, she can get speed boosts by picking up power-ups and gain altitude by flying into thermal pockets (corridors of updraft air) spread about the game world.  Additionally, various mini-missions crop up from time to time, such as flying from one side of an island to another by way of purple platforms, etc.  And, at any time, the player can move to the next world by flying beyond the boundaries of the current world towards a distant, visible, neighboring island.

glyder screen

The overall feel of Glyder is highly reminiscent of Pilotwings 64's "birdman" secret flight mode, where the player dons a pair of wings and flies freely about the game world.  While there's no actual flapping involved, the thermals and general flight model are quite similar to the Nintendo 64 classic.  (And this would be a compliment to Glyder.)

The game features accelerometer-based flight control that feels responsive and works well, but lacks a calibration option which limits play orientation (home position is at an approximate 45-degree angle).  Achievements – 50 in all – are unlocked by performing various feats such as visiting every area of a given world, achieving maximum possible velocity in a power-dive, completing mini-trips, and the like.  The combination of gem collection, mini-missions, and achievements does instill some sense of progress to an otherwise laid back gaming experience.

glyder_castle

Graphically Glyder is impressive.  The 2D title and menu artwork is clean and the 3D in-game graphics are well rendered and feature notable draw distance.  However, the game does sometimes suffer from occasional framerate issues, especially on lesser devices than the 2G iPod touch, which is the fastest iPhone platform device of the lot.  It's nothing that really gets in the way of playability, but it is noticeable from time to time.

See our gameplay video for a look at three of the game's six island worlds (recorded on 2nd Generation iPod Touch):


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Glyder's pleasant sense of soaring, combined with the title's soothing soundtrack, makes for a relaxing game experience.  That's not to say that there's a lack of challenge to the title; some of the narrow corridors that must be negotiated in order to secure that last crystal are quite harrowing.  The game is well implemented and offers a very different type of gaming experience on the iPhone -- one that people generally either really like or really don't.

We believe those who find Glyder's concept and video appealing will indeed find it to be a very enjoyable experience that is well worth the game's $1.99 introductory price. Exploring all the 6 worlds, completing each achievement and collecting all gems also offers plenty of gameplay time.

Game Details
Name: Glyder (v1.0) Price: $1.99 [Buy]
Developer: Glu
Size: 7.9 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G, 2G iPod touch
Glyder is a casual collect-the-crystals flyer somewhat reminiscent of Pilotwings 64.  There are no enemies, just you and the crystals, which makes for a rather relaxing experience.

TouchArcade Rating

  • rich_952000

    Spot on assesment Arn. I bought this instantly and it's the best all-around adventure game I've seen yet. Even though I'm bummed that there is no tilt calibration this is a highly recommended game.

    [rant]How in this stage of App Store growth can companies release games that use tilt functions, and not include simple coding for tilt calibration????[/rant]

  • BigA

    hmmm, reminds me of the bit in WoW when you travel from city to city on the back of a giant bird, which was admittedly very relaxing. But ultimately not my thing....I never did lie Marmite; )

  • bERNIE

    Would also be useful if games could be listed for compatibility with iPhone s/w 3.0... this games doesn't work.

    • Chris

      @bernie

      Why would they? Isn't 3.0 still beta?

      • John

        Yes it may still be beta but I'm guessing a fair few people have the firmware on their devices (legally, for me at least). It would be useful to know if this will work with it before buying the game. Ancient Frog didn't work until the recent update upon which, it now works like a dream.

        So yes, it is beta, but it would still be nice to know which games and devs we can also support.

    • http://phase.org Phase

      Works fine on my iPhone on beta 2

  • George

    Was looking forward to this and me being me and always saying it how it is, well i say the man from delmonte he say yes yes yes.

    Bought it really like it, if your of the old pilotwings percetion you cant go to far wrong BUYING this little gem.

  • Adams Immersive

    Article tags mention "maze." Is there a maze element to the missions you must fly?

  • http://www.myspace.com/moonsofjupitermusic RM imagery

    it looks very nice and relaxing, but i'm wondering how quickly i'll get bored...

  • Chris

    This really reminds me of that arcade game from the 90s where you powered your glider by pedaling an actual bike.

    I'd give this game 4 out of 5 stars so far. I played it for about 20 mins, and the first 6-8 times I crashed straight into the ground until I figured out the controls. The A/B platforms are somewhat confusing, and the game is definitely tuned for someone who knows what they are doing.

    I got frustrated looking for the find pink stone I needed until I finally figured out that I could just fly to another island. I guess I've played too many games that just kill you when you get past an invisible fence.

    The sensation of flying is really there, and they did a clever job with visually showing the thermals without making it too easy to catch them.

    All in all, definitely worth the $1.99.

    • CHuckster

      Prop-cycle

  • NotYou

    I'm really enjoying this. I wasn't at all excited about when it was announced, but I'm glad I bought it. It'd very polished and all around pleasant to play. It's a steal for $1.99.

  • Malarkey

    This will be an instant download for me! This sounds awesome. Games are getting closer to replicating my dreams.

  • Knowlesy

    I'm a big fan of flying and adventure games and this provides both. I downloaded it last night to my 2G iphone and it's been running fine, it crashed once, no big deal.

    The game it's self is beautiful, a great learning curve, relaxing and challenging, plenty of various challenges to beat and it's a fantastic price.

    If you haven't downloaded it do so, I've not regretted it at all!!!

  • Ragashingo

    I bought this game on a whim and it is now one of my favorites. It's fun going after all the achivements especially the timed ones where you have to skim the ground for a minute or do a maximum speed dive for 30 seconds. It is well worth the price.

  • http://knumbknuts.blogspot.com KnumbKnuts

    I found this game on a hang gliding blog, ozreport.com

    What a fun game! I am very surprised that $2 gets you all the coding that went into this.

    On the hang gliding front, the wing has the ease of a beginner hang glider and the performance of a competition glider ;) , but the game captures a few of the fun things about hang gliding.

    - Coring a thermal (trying to time your turn into a thermal and your circles within it so that you stay in it the whole time)
    - Seeing how high you can get
    - Seeing how far you can go
    - Buzzing landscape

    Obviously, this is not a simulator, but it catches a glimpse of the fun of the real deal.

  • http://www.valkyriestudio.net/ ValkyrieStudio

    For me personally, you could have done nothing but posted a screenshot and said, "This game is very much like the Birdman mode in PilotWings 64." I had so much fun with that game way back when, but nothing beat that mode - I rarely played any other mode except Birdman after unlocking it.

    So it goes without saying, Glyder is right up my alley. It IS very reminiscent of PilotWings, but without the occasional frustration that comes from crashing - making for a very pleasant experience. It's so much fun to simply fly around, and I like that there's a bit of an element of strategy in learning how to get some of the gems. And the beautiful scenery is, well, beautiful.

    I still have a lot to do in the game, but I hope to see more, either in content updates or a sequel.

    As a semi-aside, thanks for pointing this game out to everyone; while I love all the apps available out there, I don't think the App Store interface is well-suited for browsing. Nothing about this game would stand out beyond the games around it in a listing, so I'd have never found many of the games I love without this site.

  • http://teamrockstarimages.com stevep

    man, i must be only one who can't get into this game - it keeps crashing (black screen and back to apps) every 30 secs. what am i doing wrong?

  • http://teamrockstarimages.com stevep

    nevermind, i'm a loser.

    power-cycled my iphone and all is well.

  • Uclaforlife

    This game is sweet. But I can't find the last pink crystal in dark pinnacle...

  • Violet

    Just bought it, and i absolutely loved it. But can anyone help me with this : How does one get that last pink gem hidden in clusters of cartons in the first level? Im a total game noob ^^

    • Non-Game-Noob ^^

      dive dow really low to the ground, then fly between the small gaps in the "cartons" (i think that theyre actually houses).

      the one annoying thing about this game is that eveything is way bigger than it actually is. i will be flying just over the surface of something, then it will suddenly pop up in my face. :P

  • raman

    found this game,this make me not to sell my ipod ( yes,paragliding pilot here too)