Glitchhikers: The Spaces Betweenby Aethyna Apr 1, 2022 | 1 Votes | 98 Played | 0 Reviews
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Glitchhikers: The Space Between is a deeply philosophical, visual novel-like adventure that tries to give you a space to relax and meditate, as well as to give you plenty of food for thought to chew on.
In this game, you’ll get to choose one of several ways to travel, be it through a night drive, a train ride, a stroll through the park, or even a romp through a Covid-lockdown-era airport terminal. Along the way, you’ll get to enjoy the occasional brilliant sights, have some fun jumping about (at the terminal) or speeding along the road (while driving), and ponder on life’s many questions with a host of diverse characters/”glitchhikers”.
There’s no specific plot here, but each character in this game comes with their own backstories which you can discover bit by bit by talking to them.
Every conversation you have with a character in this game will often lead to a moment where you’ll be given several dialogue choices. With no “right” or “wrong” answers, you can choose whatever response you like without fearing judgment from others as you delve into the issue at hand with your conversation partner.
However, unlike the fairly linear, albeit branching, visual novel gameplay, this game lets you approach the “experience” or “journey” whichever way you like, out of the handful of options provided. You could, for instance, take a chill and seemingly aimless night drive on the highway with little to no traffic to overtake, and pick up – or more like teleport in – any glitchhikers you see along the way to start up a new conversation.
Each “journey” doesn’t take too long, though this depends entirely on you. You can choose to go on forever if you want or you could simply exit your journey when the option to do so is provided to you. chose to venture into the park since the paths are looped around each other and sometimes, you might just find yourself walking in circles without finding an exit.
Thankfully, there’s a helpful park map located at strategic points throughout the park, allowing you to quickly “teleport” from one point in the park to another… and even to a nearby exit if you’d like to try something else instead.
The train ride is somewhat similar to the park journey except that, for some reason, instead of walking normally like you would, down the narrow corridors of the train to meet new passengers and talk to them, the game forces you to “lurch forwards”, making it an incredibly nauseating experience, at least that’s the case for me. Even with the massive dot in the middle of the screen, which I reckon is designed to prevent motion sickness for players like me, I still felt sick so much so I couldn’t even make it to the end of the ride and had to quit.
I’d like to also mention that you can’t just leave the train whenever you like. You have to wait until the train arrives at a station before you could leave. I’d like to also point out that you can press the spacebar to get a bird’s eye view of the train.
Another mode of transport… well, I guess it’s more like the place where you’ll take said mode of transport – the airport terminal... that’s quite unique. Unlike the previous journeys, this one has more free roaming, allowing you to explore the pretty massive airport terminal whichever way you like… or you could just follow the indicator like I did… you do you!
Interestingly, as you move about at the terminal, you’ll produce a trail of neon-styled rainbow-colored line. This makes for a fun time as you jump and run around trying to draw some form of art or picture.
At the end of the day though, you’ll end up at this 24-hour convenience store at what seems to be a metaphorical waypoint in life. Here, you could talk to the robot behind the counter who acts as a guide for newcomers to the game and the journey. There’s also a series of fridges that will house a brand new “flavor” of drinks after you’ve talked to a new hiker along your journey. There’s a bit of a “collect ‘em all” element here that encourages repeated playthroughs.
Ironically enough, Glitchhikers unfortunately has some glitches. At one point, when the train was entering a station, the conductor announced the name of the station, and the game kind of froze. My character didn’t freeze though so I could move about, but I couldn’t interact with anything. The announcement was stuck on screen for way too long as well. Thankfully, after messing around for a bit, the game seems to manage to get itself unstuck and everything went on smoothly from there.
The graphics here are fairly muted and dark, with a splash of neon colors from time to time. I reckon it’s designed this way to provide the sense of calmness and peace that only night can bring.
I also quite like most of the music in this game too, especially the songs that play near the end of a journey. Fellow Traveller, if you’re reading, you might want to consider selling the soundtrack DLC for the game – there might be fans of the songs like me who would be willing to drop some dough to buy it.
In a nutshell, Glitchhikers: The Space Between isn’t your typical visual novel-styled adventure – it’s definitely more interactive in some cases and more thought-provoking – and hence, it might just not be everyone’s cup of tea even if you do love in-depth visual novels in general and are curious as to what this game has to offer. Since the game might be a hit or a miss for most (there’s little in-between), and that there’s no demo to try, you might want to check out the game yourself. If after an hour or so, you think that it’s really not for you, well, you could always use Steam’s refund feature - no harm’s done!