Glyphica has you type to survive against relentless waves of evil words

By admin Jun6,2024

Back in the day I used to be one of those Counter Strike players who’d hop into a custom aim-training ‘environment’. I’d spend a good ten minutes or so darting my eyes between blobs or skittish enemy models then whipping my wrist to blast them with an AK.

Glyphica reminds me of those heady days. It’s a roguelite horde survival game where you’ve got to protect your central pewpew from an onslaught of words. I think it’s the perfect warm up for someone who’s about to do a big essay or maybe defend Dark Souls 2 in an errant comments section. It’s fun!

Glyphica’s got this minimal aesthetic, all clean lines and inoffensive shapes that lend it a subtle cool. In the demo there’s only one choice of shooter, which is a regular gun that spits bullets at whatever words you’ve typed in correctly. You see the words are relentless, pouring in from the sides slowly at first, but then picking up pace and upping in number as the timer ticks up. If they hit your base too many times, that’s your run over.

Choosing upgrades in Glyphica.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/aliasBLACK/Squeaky Pixel

Type in words quickly and correctly, and you’ll level up. This lets you choose clever upgrades that’ll defend you from the evil word salad. There’s one called “Hunter”, that spawns friendly drones that’ll attack words for you, but only when you complete words containing the letters i, o, and u. There’s another that spawns electricity fields that zap and slow down words caught in their radius, again, only when you complete words with certain letters in. As words grow stronger and in number, I like how you’re rewarded for remaining calm and thinking somewhat tactically: if there’s a big fatberg of words hurtling towards you, it might be worth targeting one that contains an “i”, for example.

Words don’t only get lengthier, they also develop traits. Some are encased in armour. Some hide their letters, forcing you to type in only the letters they gradually unveil and forcing your attention away from the other words at that moment. Others are simple, but launch themselves at your base with speed. Later on, some have spinny shields and buff other words, so you have to time your word completion to hit their weak spot.

Glyphica is a simple thing that trains your typing skills in a way that seems well-balanced and clean. It also reminds me of a game I’d play in school, which grants it an automatic, “Yeah, this is the good shit” bonus. You can nab the demo here, if you’re keen.

By admin

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