Glam’s Incredible Run: Escape from Dukha
Developer: Three Legged Egg
Publisher: Red Art Games
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Indie, Platformer, Puzzle
Platform: PS4 (also available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC – Steam)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 31/03/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Run, climb, jump, swing, and die, die, die. These are the things that you will be doing a lot of when playing Glam’s Incredible Run.
Now and then a game comes along that makes you question your entire existence as you spend hours stuck on a level, endlessly dying, and yet somehow this is strangely a somewhat enjoyable experience. Read on to find out why and how this small indie game made this reviewer swear a lot of times.
Where the Journey Begins
Coming from the three-person team at Three Legged Egg, Glam’s Incredible Run is by no means a small challenge, but more about that later. In this game, you play as Glam, a pink-haired, parkour legend who uses her hair to swing and traverse through each stage in the realm of Catarina.
The game is an action, puzzle platformer where you have to not only swing but also run, jump and climb to complete each level.
There are many obstacles such as spikes, falling to your death in *every direction*, enemies that shoot fireballs, gremlin-type creatures that laugh every time you die, and also, getting trapped in reappearing shapes can get you killed. Probably missing out on a few things here but just know that almost anything and everything can cause sweet, sweet death.
There are over two hundred levels split across eleven chapters, each one introducing a new type of level design and skill that constantly ups the difficulty and provides many challenges for players to adapt to and overcome.
There is not any narrative to follow in the game but the overall aim is to complete these levels so that you can unite Glam with her mother, who is being held captive by an evil witch.
Let’s Start with the Good
I would like to say before we get into the game properly that I am always taken aback whenever I play games such as this one that has been made by so few people. It is so well-polished with depth that has been worked on by talented and dedicated developers. There was often the thought of “surely there were a lot more people working on this”, as I progressed through the game, and that is something that always needs to be highlighted.
Now, there is a lot to like about this game. To begin with, the obstacles and level design that were introduced in each of the eleven chapters presented a nice variation and kept the game from feeling repetitive. There are around fifteen – twenty levels in each chapter, the first couple of levels of the chapter are there to help the player understand what they have to do with the new obstacle, and from there, the levels ramp up in difficulty.
The game tests your rhythm, timing, and patience, though sometimes a little too much, however, Glam’s Incredible Run has all the characteristics of a solid puzzle platformer. For instance, when you are stuck on a level, there is that “I do not want to put the controller down until I complete this level” feeling, which is always a sign of a good puzzle game.
There’s an addictive feel to it that when you have completed a tricky level, you jump right into the next one despite the troubles of the previous one. It is often at this time that you have the satisfying moment of rolling off three or four levels in quick succession and you feel like a gaming god. Cut to ten minutes later and you’re right back spewing expletives at your TV on another tough level.
You can see the Super Mario and Super Meat Boy inspiration through Glam’s Incredible Run. Glam does stand out enough on her own and does not feel like not just a carbon copy of those games. Glam has been well-designed and it is clear to see her personality just in the stern gum bubble blowing stance alone. There is the option to customise how Glam looks which is a nice touch and one that was not necessary but adds a little depth to the game.
The graphics are reminiscent of retro arcade games such as the likes of Donkey Kong and the aforementioned Super Mario Bros., but obviously with a modern feel to the game. It is charming and will attract hardcore fans of this genre.
In games like this, the soundtrack and gameplay sound must be suitable so that it does not make this challenging gaming experience even more of a hindrance. Thankfully the soundtrack accompanies the game nicely and I found myself almost humming the tune a few days after playing it.
The only gameplay sound that gets boring comes from the little monsters that feature on a few levels. When you die you hear their monster laugh, which is fun on a level you die on a couple of hundred times. They are even added in levels where you can’t reach them so I see what you did there, developers.
Glam’s Incredibly Frustrating Run
As alluded to throughout, this game requires a lot of patience and is too precise a lot of the time. It goes past the limit of “get good” and leans into “I don’t need this frustration in my life” territory. Many levels have three to four increasingly challenging and precise stages that feel like they could be levels on their own.
Breaking them up into smaller levels would help because having to master what feels like three levels in one is rough when you have to begin them again when you die.
At times it veers away from being any fun at all and just simply punishing work. Not all games need an easy mode and challenging games such as Cuphead and Super Meat Boy are popular with a certain audience, but the long levels in Glam’s Incredible Run may cause a few to turn away as at times I wanted to do due to frustration.
Earlier there was a narrative angle mentioned about Glam’s mother being captured being the reason she is running these obstacles. There is little to no mention of this at any point of the two hundred levels or in the sixteen hours it took to complete Glam’s Incredible Run. I only found the story by looking at the ‘about me’ section of the game. It wasn’t necessary to add in a full narrative arc with cut scenes but a few nods to the story would have been better.
There were a few mixed feelings after completing Glam’s Incredible Run. There are impressive elements, such as how smooth the majority of the gameplay was (apart from a couple of obstacles that required far too much precision).
The graphics, soundtrack, and the way the levels came together were impressive and it was obvious that a lot of thought went into the placement of traps and what the player could and couldn’t get away with. There was little opportunity to cheese a few levels (though not impossible). You had to figure out how you were going to solve and get through certain levels. The trial-and-error aspect of it was clever. At £3.99 it is worth a punt for a game you’ll get time out of and will challenge your mind.
I want to see what else Three Legged Eggs can create and I hope that their future projects are as creative and stylish as this one.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can buy Glam’s Incredible Run: Escape from Dukha in the PlayStation Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.