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TGS 2016: Hands-On with ‘Glyph Quest Chronicles’

You have to hand it to developer We Heart Dragons. After releasing the original Glyph Quest (Free) as a free-to-play game with an unlock IAP, they listened to player feedback and acted on it. Thus, Glyph Quest‘s sequel, Super Glyph Quest ($3.99), launched as a fully paid game. The overall game was fleshed out with a lot of story content and quests, and the gameplay mechanics were built on and refined. In an unfortunate reflection of the market, Super Glyph Quest ended up making only a fraction of what the first did. On top of that, while a lot of fans were happy with the game, some felt that the game’s simple core was drowned in all of the new additions.

The good news is that Glyph Quest lives on, but its new form may not please everyone. Glyph Quest Chronicles appears to be, like the previous title, a reply to the reception of the game before it. The bottom line is that it’s not a paid game anymore. Instead, the developers are going with a free-to-play model that seems informed by popular social RPGs. That means the overall structure is built around shorter, discrete stages, there is a stamina meter in effect (called mana here), and a premium currency. It might sound bad, but the developer has a few ideas to make this as painless as possible for fans of the earlier games.

First up, there’s the Loyalty Card. As you clear stages, you’ll get stamps on a card, and when it’s filled, your mana will be topped off. One of the things you can buy in the game’s shop is a better Loyalty Card that requires fewer stamps. With that in hand, you’ll almost be able to play continuously. There’s also a currency doubler available, and the premium currency will trickle out over time as well. The most intriguing inclusion is Patron Mode. When you’ve spent a certain amount of money (the developer is still deciding where that line will be), Patron Mode will be activated, overturning some of the free-to-play restrictions. Exactly what that entails is also still under consideration.

As for new gameplay mechanics, there are new powerful glyphs you can make when you match four pieces. This is to incentivize smaller matches after you’ve unlocked the ability to make bigger ones. There’s a new technique that allows you to exercise some minor control over what glyphs will replace the ones you’ve just matched on the board. Finally, there’s a new gameplay mode called Doomsday that challenges you to clear the stage before a timer expires. Making matches slows the timer down, so you not only need to make strategic matches, you need to do it quickly. It adds a lot of excitement to the already solid core gameplay.

Glyph Quest Chronicles will most likely be out next month, so some of the details that are still up in the air will be resolved shortly. We’ll almost certainly be doing a full review when the game is released, so keep your eyes peeled for more soon. If nothing else, if the free-to-play approach doesn’t work for you, the previous paid title is still available.