Glum Buster

By: Paul Eres

On: April 27th, 2009

From almost out of nowhere, Glum Buster is released. CosMind spent about four years working on this game, with little hype — no trailers, not many previews. Only a few people even really knew about its existence, such as the IGF judges (it had been an entry) and the members of the small Game Maker community Eo (since he posted a small demo of it back in 2005 for other members there to be amazed at). But those people have been quietly looking forward to this game’s release for a long time. Accompanying its IGF entry description was a small rhyme and nothing else: “Cheer up, dear friend, or they may come. And take you where the glum is from.”

The game itself is a platformer with interesting environments, mechanics, and ideas — CosMind describes it as something from his daydreams, for ours. From the conversations I’ve had with him on the Eo forums, he has very strong and unique ideas about game design, so it’s not surprising that the game is fairly different from other platformers in its atmosphere and level designs.

I don’t want to say too much about the game because discovering it is part of the pleasure, but at the same time I want to express my enthusiasm for the game because so much care and work went into it and because it offers a unique play experience (the closest comparison is Seiklus, but comparing a game as unique as this to any other game feels wrong almost). The best moment for me was when, after the first few screen-size small stages, a large world opened up, and a grasshopper appeared that I could ride on, and I lost the ability to fly, and the sky went from its menacing red with many moons to a bright blue and a grassy castle, and I realized Glum Buster’s world was much bigger than I had ever imagined.

  • Dustin

    “Grasshopper; no problem, see a blue thing, activate it, oh look, it moves when I do, get it over the wall. All you had to realise is that you can activate things you can’t get at, which is not that subtle!”

    Yeah except you have to press jump exactly when the grasshopper is jumping. Making the player figure things out by themselves is ok if things have a logical consistency, but this game has NONE. You just shoot, draw triangles, bump into things and right click randomly until something works.

  • Klayman

    Really loving this game and surprised by the amount of negativity on these comments. Many of you must have high standards.

    I love the originality and visuals of this. I think the game play is a little awkward at first but it quickly becomes apparent how intuitive it actually is.

    CountFractal, I shot at the butterfly and then captured them in a triangle. I think they turned into little pixels that follow you around, not sure what they do though.

  • Maimed Fox

    Green collects the ‘grins’ for you, yellow shows you where hidden grins are, pink deflects projectiles and shows you were the white things are, and I think blue just makes the flash from right clicking a bit bigger so it’s easier to pull things toward you.

    @Dustin: You don’t have to time your jumps on the grasshopper, he just hops slightly to move left or right, and super jumps when you press up. It’s really not that hard to figure out! And your summary of the controls of the game really shows how simple it is; if you come across something you don’t understand, shoot at it, draw triangles around it, touch it… and something’s sure to happen. It’s all really intuitive once you get the hang of it.

    That’s something I really like about the game. Though much of it has to be figured out on your own, there’s no punishment for doing something wrong and no excessive difficulty. The various gameplay elements constantly being introduced just seems to come naturally and organically.

  • Flamebait

    @olympi, you need to shoot through the rightmost wall in the cavern below (I *think* that was the first grasshopper).

    @Maimed Fox, I realized the solution to every other puzzle almost immediately, and it looks like someone else had trouble with the column bit. In retrospect I don’t recall any other parts where you had to do something similar. It *is* a design hiccup, but not a major one.

  • Koholint

    I haven’t played the whole game yet (I think I have one world left), but I’m liking it. I don’t know about you guys, but I think the puzzles are pretty intuitive. Besides, you have a total of two, maybe three different buttons you can try to interact with things. How hard is that?

  • konjak

    I don’t get this buzz. I think this game is terrible.

  • Lischo Pine

    Well, this certainly isn’t for everyone! I’m glad that he finished it, but I don’t really see four years of work (or rather effort) in it.

  • Balrog

    Great game, it has a good variety of puzzles and it changes the mechanics with out explaining them which is something I likes because you have to play with it and figure out how stuff works. Other games would have just pulled you along the whole time over explaining everything acting like you would not be able to see it for yourself

  • Alex May

    I still really like this.

    I have been:
    * collecting hats
    * collecting smiley faces
    * figuring out combos
    * exploring
    * finding secret helper butterflies
    * being beamed across the universe

    It’s great!

  • C-

    This feels like an adventure game, except it’s from another universe where adventure game puzzles actually make sense. It’s so strange how these puzzles can be completely random, and yet be so intuitive. There are a lot of things any game designer should take away from this game.

  • Archagon

    Wonderful little game! I’d say it’s more of a combination of “Within a Deep Forest” and “Braid” than “Seiklus”. The hat collection is a great touch.

    The pace is a bit slow for me, but I have the same gripe with Nifflas’s games.

    I contributed $5 and might contribute more.

  • Maddox

    Great game! I’ll writing a full review of it on in the next couple of days.

  • Justin Leingang

    I recently added this game to