Reviewed On: PC

There are people who play games to have fun, a simple request. There are those who play games for deep stories and well written characters, I fall into that one a lot. But there also people who play games for a straight up challenge. Glare, is a game for those kinds of people.

Publisher: Phobic Studios
Developer: Phobic Studios
Platforms: PC
Genre: Indie, Action-Platformer
Release Date: Oct 10, 2013

There isn’t a lot to say about Glare’s story. It’s honestly as simple as it can be. The Ramora, a dark corruptive race, has come to the galaxy/universe and has brought a great darkness to it.You, as The Shiner, are the ancient guardian of light. Your job is to dispel the corruptive darkness from the worlds all the while defeating the monsters created from it.

That’s about it, short, sweet, and to the point. It really does work though, mainly because you’re always sure of your goal. Kind of like Mario in a way.


The gameplay is what sets Glare apart. It’s a platformer mixed with puzzle element and great action, but it’s more than that really. Your character has at first one ability. The ability to pour on the light and cause certain things to happen. Your glare can repel monsters, make certain things grow, even create some things as well. It really is fun to go to the other worlds and see what you can do with your light. Soon enough you get your weapon, a light gun of sorts, and now you get to destroy the monsters coming after you.

Learning to be the light.

Learning to be the light.

One of the things Glare does really well is the balance between shooting and using your light. There are times when you’ll be surrounded and feel you have to use your gun, but at those times I suggest simply repelling your foes to get some room so you can blast them to kingdom come.

The monsters in Glare are tough. Many take multiple shots to be killed. Add to that the fact that they can spawn anywhere, at any given moment, and you have an enemy that will drive you crazy. They evolve as you do. The more weapons and powers you get the tougher they become. Trust me when I say it’s good that they’re tough, but at times you’re going to wish they were weak.

Hands down, the coolest thing about Glare is the level design. There are only six worlds in the game, however, each world is beautifully designed and deep. I’ll save the looks for the art design section but I’ll give you a sneak peek…it looks good.

Anyway the level design is spectacular. To compare, it feels like a mix of Super Mario Galaxy and Donkey Kong Country Returns. High praise, but well deserved. These levels are riddled with puzzles, monsters, platforming, and a high level of natural obstacles that will kill you on contact. Every world is different, new threats, new obstacles, and new skills to learn, it’s all great, and challenging.

That’s where the true beauty of Glare comes in. This…game…is…hard!!!! Like I said in the beginning, it’s a game for people who want a challenge. You’ll beat it, to be sure you will, but it’s more of a question of how long and how many times you’ll die. I died a lot, no shame in admitting that, I did. I think I died over thirty times in two different levels, just estimating.

There will be times when you want to rage quit. But I ask you to persevere, it’ll feel great when you win.

Every level ends with a slight twist, you’ll take part in a zero gravity boss fight at the planet core. This will repeat in every world (save for the last one, won’t spoil that) but it will get harder. The Ramora evolves and adds new levels of difficulty every time you meet it.

I think I'll try at defying gravity....

I think I’ll try at defying gravity….

The only thing I’ll say about the final level is that it’s a true test of all your skills, it’s one big boss fight for the ages. The team at Phobic Studios truly did a good job.

Though the gameplay is good, and the levels are great, they will overwhelm some players. Some challenges aren’t always clear, and even though they give you a happy helper to guide you it doesn’t make winning the level easier. My toughest world had me clocked in at about twice the time it took to complete the previous level. That may sound logical to some because as you progress it gets harder, and it does. But the reason I kept dying was because of the level of difficulty and precision they were asking me to overcome and achieve.

The only other issue with gameplay is the control scheme.  There were times that the slightest miscues on the controls would be send me careening into a death trap, and other times I swear I activated an object but nothing happened. True, it will be up to the player to make sure that doesn’t happen but it did upset me quite a bit while playing.

There are times when Glare feels like a masters course at school. Only the best will complete it without fault. One of the achievements for the game is to win without dying. I laughed, because I think even for the developers that would be impossible. Feel free to correct me. The final level especially there were times I felt overwhelmed and I don’t know how I died. You’ve been warned.

Art Design

The design of Glare is great. Not just in layout but looks and execution. You really feel like you’re in a live world. The plants, animals, backgrounds, obstacles, all correspond to what the world is meant to be. It’s really good to look at. They even have houses and environmental additions that you won’t be able to visit but you’ll want to, because you want to know who lived there.

this game looks good!

She don’t know she’s beautiful…

I mentioned Donkey Kong above, well the level design reflects the depth that game had as well. The background is just as deep and detailed as the foreground, the worlds again feel alive, and I love it. Some may not appreciate this aspect, but I truly do.

The Shiner, your character, also has a nice look. His model is simplistic but the effects of his glare and gun and other attributes are all well rendered. The same goes for the enemies as well.

Overall it just has a nice look. Crisp, clean, and full of life.

Sound Design

The sounds of Glare are nice and simple. The background music keeps you going, the natural sounds of the worlds are there to add depth. The music nicely fades out when you die but comes back strong (and in the same place) as you are reborn.


Overall, Glare is a great game, one full of great beauty and great challenge. If you want to play a game that’s hard and will test your skills to the limits then I totally suggest Glare. If you want to play a game that’s hard and you can jump out of after one level and save the next one for the next day. Then I’ll suggest Glare. But if you want a laid-back experience where you don’t have to try hard, do not play Glare.

It’s a great game, but it’s for the hardcore platformer crowd, maybe a few casual as well. It has great gameplay, great level design, and plenty of challenge. If you want to try it, it’s on Steam now.

'Glare' Review
Glare literally shines as a action-platformer and delivers intense levels with beautiful graphics and tough challenges. Shine on Glare, shine on.
  • Fantastic Level Design
  • Wonderful use of the "Light" mechanic
  • The game looks great
  • Tough challenges may be too much for some
  • Controls can be finicky at times
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Guest Writer

Todd is a born and raised Nintendo fanboy. But his desire to play more games led him to PC and indie gaming. He'll still chat the moon about the Big N, but he might surprise you about what else he knows in the world of gaming.

  • Zathurious

    Great review man. I enjoyed this game a lot, and while there are things it could improve upon, it’s a solid concept with a lot of potential.

    • CrisJ

      It definitely has the potential for sure

    • Todd Black

      Thanks! Glare was one of the first games I reviewed here at TDS, and it still has a lot of meaning for me. Whenever I play a difficult platformer, my mind instantly thinks of Glare.