Glover, in concept, is a novel approach to the often-trite realm of the platform game. The thoughtful marriage of puzzle elements with action-oriented gameplay is a pleasant step away from the usual, twitchy platform fare. On the PlayStation platform, though, the concept is only marginally realized, due to the title's mediocre presentation. Perhaps the port from the N64 was too much for the little guy to bear.
The narrative unfolds as follows: In a faraway land, a wizard is charged with the task of guarding his kingdom's power source, a set of magical crystals. This wizard dabbles in alchemy, and one fateful day, an experiment goes awry: Doodling with the wrong alchemical components has caused what he was brewing to explode, literally knocking his gloves off, one flying out the window, the other falling into the cauldron. Exposure to this brew, presumably, granted his accessories sentience, and, conveniently enough, for the purpose of storytelling, one became good, the other evil. Unfortunately, the mishap scattered the crystals in the wizard's charge all across the kingdom and turned the poor chap to stone. Luckily, Glover, the good glove, was able to weave a spell that turned the crystals into red bouncy balls before they fell to the ground and shattered, along with the hope and livelihood of the kingdom. While the narrative is definitely endearing, the port wasn't kind, and, unfortunately, it has a rough bearing on the gameplay.
You play as Glover, and your quest is to retrieve these crystals before Cross-Stitch, your evil twin, gets his mitts on them. The game is laid out in a series of six worlds, each containing five levels. While the objective of each world (defeat boss; recover crystal) doesn't stray too much from the platform convention, the actions required to solve each world definitely take on an unconventional tone. In order to complete each level successfully, Glover must scoot the ball (which is really a crystal) toward the end of each stage. Blocking him is a series of obstacles, including enemies (which are, sadly, much of a nonpresence in that they're insanely simple to avoid) and puzzles. The emphasis is definitely on the latter aspect, and this is where Glover shines; see, the ball Glover carries can be transmuted into a number of different forms: a bouncy rubber ball, a heavy bowling ball, a magnetic ball bearing, and a fragile crystal. Each form carries its own properties, letting Glover manage a certain terrain or solve a certain puzzle. Glover uses the rubber ball to walk on water, the bowling ball to walk underwater, etc. The physics model that is used grants each form very realistic properties, affecting how far it can be thrown or how high or frequently it bounces.Glover is armed with a variety of attacks, including the ball-swat, in which he swats the ball in one of its heavier forms toward the enemy, thus squashing the enemy, and the fist-drop, which is very similar to the token platform butt-drop, save that Glover actually assumes the form of a fist and pummels any creature unfortunate enough to be under him. When throwing (which is paramount to the completion of many of the game's puzzles) or swatting the ball, you're able to choose the ball's trajectory. This feature is inadequate ,usually allowing no more than four trajectories for the ball to follow, mainly corresponding to cardinal directions. During certain boss battles, it becomes unnecessarily difficult to aim the ball in the enemy's general direction, let alone fight efficiently.
The game's presentation, however, is the factor that most largely damages Glover. While the environments look more or less adequate, the character models are severely blurry and underdetailed, making the whole thing seem less than polished. Due to the ubiquitous low-res elements, the entire game appears rather bland and sedate. This fact, unfortunately, brings the otherwise thoughtful and expressive environments down. The music and sounds are venomously tinny and have a certain disturbingly pervasive quality to them; they'll creep into your brain, and you will dream about them for nights to come. The entire presentation makes you feel as if you're playing half a game, rather than a solid, deep full game.
Perhaps Glover 2 (which is being developed for the N64 and the PlayStation) will be something to get a bit more excited about. Glover, despite its interesting play mechanics, seems to have lost its soul in the port from the N64. Very unfortunate. With the host of platformers available for the PlayStation, finding an adequate substitute shouldn't prove too difficult.