The Land of Glass
The Land of Glass follows 8 protagonists as they battle their way through dark forces. Save the land of Vitrerran in 4 different campaigns. With a unique card-based battle system, deck building and strategy are as important as reflexes and combat knowledge.
+New, card-based gameplay
+Full music score
Mar 27, 2018
The Land of Glass is a tactical card game. Combining elements from RPGs and card-playing, the game takes you on a narrative to save the world from a dark evil. The game provides you with four different campaigns to get the whole story.
Dark forces and shadows are destroying the land of Vitrerran. Many characters, both heroes and villains, use magic spells like fireballs and ice blasts.
The main mechanic of the game has characters swinging weapons and casting spells. Dead bodies are often visible, but it’s all depicted in sprite form.
The game focuses on the struggles of the main characters, and how anyone can step up and save the world.
The Land of Glass is a game that is really really appealing or really forgettable. In other words, it’s a game that plays to a very niche market. And it kind of has to, since it’s largely built around its battle system. If you like playing Uno or Crazy 8’s, then this game will be enjoyable, but if the idea of using card games for combat (and not in a Yugioh way) isn’t appealing to you, then this game doesn’t have much to make up for it.
It’s also hard to ignore that this feels very much like it was supposed to be a mobile game. The way the text, dialogue, character movement, and combat work consist of much pointing, clicking, and swiping. Even movement across a map is as simple as tapping a predetermined red spot. Most other indie games that I’ve played, even the single developer ones, have at least had an icon when I minimized the game to the task bar on my computer, but The Land of Glass even lacks that. It’s kind of distracting to play this game when it feels like a port. If you have a touch screen device like a Surface Pro, The Land of Glass will probably play better.
The game focuses on the stories of 8 people, grouped together in pairs, in a mystical land called Vitrerran. Each pair of characters is dealing with an invasion of the land. Evil shadow beings have come through various portals scattered throughout the country, and each character has their own way of dealing with it. The story is one of the strongest elements of the game, and the narrative techniques it uses—mainly using multiple perspectives to tell a larger story—works to bridge the different campaigns together. The characters are likable, which is no easy feat, considering most of the story is done through dialogue boxes and unchanging character portraits.
Speaking on the aesthetics of The Land of Glass, they are also something hit-and-miss. The more I played through this game, the more it felt like a flash game I might have played in 2008. The textures are low resolution and blocky, and besides the overworld, the maps are geometric. There are a lot of thick lines and bright colors, and I think this was meant to evoke the images of stained glass windows. I suspect that this was a deliberate design choice, but it still makes most of the game look unappealing, and I’d have to stop playing every few minutes just because I couldn’t take the eye strain. The music, while fitting, feels a little generic and gets repetitive over time.
The gameplay is The Land of Glass biggest selling point. The game uses a combat system based on cardplay, and to effectively get through the game requires both strategic deck building, a sharp eye, and quick reflexes. Attacks, defense and spells are represented by cards in your deck, you can boost your stats by adding utility cards to your deck, and you can also craft new types of cards at blacksmith shops. Most of the time these cards will be used to improve your skill in combat.
Combat in this game is simple. You and your opponent each have a grid. One grid represents your attacks against your opponent, and the other one represents your defense. To win a fight, you have to use higher number attack cards on the attack grid while placing high number defense cards on the defense grid your opponent is attacking. The game has a cool down mechanic that varies depending on what cards you place and how you place them. Spell cards can be played right on the battlefield. The goal is to either knock your opponent off the battlefield or reduce their hit points to zero. The former is much more common.
Remember Kingdom Hearts? Remember the GameBoy sequel, Chain of Memories? Remember how the card game battle system polarized many of the series fans, simultaneously becoming to most fun and most frustrating game in the series? (In the spirit of journalistic integrity, I am in the latter camp). The Land of Glass feels very much the same. While it doesn’t have a franchise behind it to ruin (or lift up), card game battle systems are hard to get right for a big audience. Action RPG enthusiasts aren’t used to deck building and collecting, and card game players need to learn the frantic style of quick play.
The Land of Glass is a great game for gamers looking for something new and different, but because it smashes together two vastly different play styles, it loses what makes each of those playstyles fun. Action RPGs are fun because of the hack-and-slash feel and because leveling up is (ideally) quick, easy, and intuitive. Card games are fun because they require proper planning, lots of customization, and building a strategy while taking down your opponents. The Land of Glass takes away the best parts of both genres. Because the combat is card based, combat doesn’t feel as free flowing and intuitive. And because the combat is also action based, there’s little time to plan out moves and come up with different strategies during a game.
So what does The Land of Glass offer in the end? As stated above, at the very least the game is worth a play for the story. The best way to describe this game is that it’s not very fun, but still rewarding and worth playing through. It tries something new and different, and has its own distinct style. This is one of those games I imagine will have a small, but dedicated fanbase. If you like what it has to offer, you’ll really like it, but if you can’t enjoy the core element of the game, it’s not worth the price you pay.
Review code generously provided by Dual Wield Software
+ Unique Gameplay
+ Interesting Story
- Simple map structure