The Nintendo 64 was -THE- system for fans of 3D platformers. During its time, it felt as though there was a new title in this genre released every week. As a fan of RPGs, it felt like I was in an unknown world when I decided to finally pick up the console and check out some of its games. On a whim, I decided to make Glover my latest N64 title. Of course, it’s a 3D platformer that shows off what the console can do in terms of graphics. The real question I had was whether or not it would be fun to play. With a surprising learning curve and some sensitive controls, Glover is a labor of love type of game. Once you understand all that your adorable main character can do and take the time to fully explore each world, Glover ends up being a fun experience. You just have to be patient enough to give it a chance.
If you couldn’t tell by its cover, Glover’s story is far from serious. It takes place in the Crystal Kingdom, which happens to be the home of the cleverly named Crystal Castle. Within the castle walls is a wizard busy concocting something in the cauldron. After it double-bubbles and toils and troubles, the mixture explodes and sends the wizard soaring out the window. One of his gloves soars out of the castle gates and magically animates into Glover. His other glove gets stuck in the potion and turns into the evil (but still precious) Cross Stitch. The castle exploding caused seven magical crystals to scatter through the land. Without these, the Crystal Kingdom will be unstable. It’s up to Glover to retrieve these crystals and stop Cross Stitch from making a mess of things. It’s a cute little story that unfolds as you would expect and gives your hero a bit more personality. Obviously, it takes a backseat to the action.
Glover’s quest is divided into multiple worlds with three levels in each. The goal is to get Glover’s magical bouncy ball to the end of each level, fight a boss at the third level and salvage one of the crystals. The task sounds simple, but Glover is more complex than one would think. Glover has different command depending on whether or not the ball is in his control. Without the ball, Glover can jump, double-jump, cartwheel, and perform a fist slam that is used to kill certain enemies or activate switches. While in control of the ball, Glover can bounce it to gain height, throw it at switches, slap it at enemies or walk on it if it’s in water. With the push of a button, the ball can transform into different forms. The bowling ball is used to break walls or wreck bigger enemies. The metal ball is used to sink into water. Finally, the green crystal is used to earn more points when Glover gathers a collectible Garib. There are a set number of Garibs in each level and collecting all of them will grant Glover an extra life. Other collectibles included extra lives and potions that give Glover special but temporary abilities.
Glover’s controls take a while to master and they can be overly sensitive. This combination, plus the camera that has a hard time keeping up with Glover’s speed can cause more frustration than the average gamer will enjoy. The ball can only take so many hits before it pops and Glover can withstand only three hits. While there are checkpoints in each stage as well as various power-ups, Glover can feel overwhelming during the early stages. Boss fights are tricky because you have to carefully aim your attacks while keeping the ball and/or Glover safe. The realistic physics, hazardous traps, huge areas, relentless enemies and variety of other obstacles make Glover’s quest anything but easy, at least at first. Eventually, the controls will feel like second nature and you will welcome the challenges that come with each new level. With proper use of Glover’s abilities with and without the ball, puzzles and enemies can be “handled” with ease. It just takes a while to get there; some gamers may not be as patient to rise to the challenge plus deal with some of the mechanical issues.
Glover is a fantastic looking and sounding game. The Crystal Kingdom is a colorful and lush world that has a presentation that combines cartoony characters with abstract environments. The anticipation of new puzzles and enemies in each new stage is amplified by the excitement of seeing how the new stage looks. Each stage has fun music, as well. The tunes are as you would expect: upbeat, peppy and fun. There are also some snippets of voice acting, which is equally fun. Glover will often shout little quips like “abracadabra” or “yes” during certain instances. It’s a nice touch instead of having the main hero act like a mute.
Glover is challenging, but with enough trial and error and perseverance, the game can be finished in about ten hours. With multiple difficulty levels, bonus features and cheat codes, it can be easy to go through Glover in its entirety or attempt a favorite level again. All told, Glover is an underrated little adventure on the Nintendo 64 that has more content than one would expect. It takes a while to learn and will undoubtedly cause some sort of frustration. It lacks the fame of something from Nintendo or Rare. Some may consider it to be just another entry in the console’s 3D platformer library. Thanks to some clever game play and a vivid look, Glover is a worthy title that I recommend to fans of the genre.
Overall, 7/10: Glover is a good 3D platformer that makes proper use of what the Nintendo 64 is known for.