Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: The "Tyrah and the Magical Glytches" Game

By Bixyl Shuftan

Second Life isn't a "game" in itself, although people call it one for simplicity as "virtual world" can confuse a few people. Still, one can play games in it, and over the years people have come up with many from inword versions of chess to fencing games, to jousting, to combat roleplays like New Bastogne and Aria Clash, to fishing games like 7Seas, and many more.

For a time, Linden Lab was content to leave the game making to others. Then it began making some of it's own. First came "Linden Realms." Then came "The Cornfield." Following that were "Paleoquest," and "New Horizons." These two gaming adventures had plots, a reoccurring supporting character, Magellan Linden, and a villain.

Then in September 2017, Linden Lab announced "Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches." The plot is a sequel to the events of "Horizons." Magellan is dead, and following a funeral for him given by his former assistant Punkee and Tyrah, the girl held hostage in "Horizons," a new threat emerges. Ruth, the original avatar, appears. Furious at being all but forgotten, Ruth decides to take advantage of Magellan's absence by unleashing magical creatures called "glytches" to interfere and mess with the Grid. Not good at catching things, Punkee decides to rely on his former boss's old tactic: get the residents to help.

The object of the game is to capture these glytches in the various places in Second Life they are. To start playing the game, head to Portal Park, Portal Park 01 (175/118/52), and find the doorway named "Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches." Going through, you end up in the village of Hartyshire. In front of where you appear are displays of the two videos for the game, one explaining the plot and the other on how to play the game. Beyond that are a number of buildings in a circle, around a fountain and statue of Tyrah. What you will need to do first is head to the Gem Apothecary. There, you will find several things. But for beginners the most important one is the starter kit on the counter in front of the door. This contains three items, the game HUD, the starting weapon glass jar, and a notecard explaining more about these and the game. Add both the HUD and the weapon to play the game.

The HUD has several buttons/interfaces. The top left one returns you to Hartyshire. The center left button takes you to the wiki webpage of the game. The top right button gives you the option to mute the HUD's sound effects. The center left button takes you to a location where glytches are, and is the button you will be using the most in the game. On the bottom is a button to display the map of the sim, which shows you where the glytches are, and tells you if you've caught one, swung your weapon and missed, and if you've caught your limit. On the far right is the gem counter, displaying how many blue, pink, and green gems you have. Get 100 green gems, and they're exchanged for a pink one. 100 pink gems will be exchanged for a blue.

There are many kinds of glitches, the names of which you'll see in the Gem Apothecary back in Hartyshire. Among them are the cloudlike Flumpies, the Frosties which look like ice and snow. the Gardeners that look like plants, the Shamaniacs that look like teddy bears from the circus, the Naughties that look like red imps. the Primsies that look like people made from wood blocks, the Keirapillars that look like a cross between cats and caterpillars, and many more. There are three varieties of each. Each that I've come across, many of which are distinctive to one kind, "Mommy, where do prims come from?" "Click on that link, it'll be fun. What can go wrong?" "Miya, miya, you can't catch me." "Leave me alone!"

To go glytch hunting, press the "Next Location" button on your HUD. You will then be teleported to a sim where three glytches are. Many of the sims are Linden-owned or managed, such as Linden Relams or Bay City. But Linden Lab is also inviting the owners of privately owned sims to take part, so you'll come across some of them. Some places I was at had tall grass which can hide glytches until you walk too close and your hunt turns into their ambush.

On your HUD map, you'll see the glytches' locations marked with tiny red circles. To capture one, go up to it in mouselook, then left-click your mouse to use your weapon on it. The glytches don't seem to notice you until you're almost right next to them, even if you're in front of them. Still, I try to sneak up behind them by habit before pressing the button. If successful, the critter is caught, appearing in a cage. You're awarded a small number of green gems and the game will ask you to accept the captured glytch into your inventory. Do so quickly before you lose it.

Unfortunately, you have a good chance of missing. This invariably alerts the glytch who will then get away, but usually not before casting a spell on you. These can be just annoying such as being compelled to cluck and strut like a chicken, being made to listen to a horrible cell phone ringtone, and others. Some involve the weather turning on you, such as being sucked up in a tornado or a blast of cold wind knocking you down. Some turn the tables on you and put a cage on you or have a UFO abduct you. Some are hurtful such as having a tree fall on you or a bus drive by and hit you. And some are downright nasty such as being set on fire or being enveloped in a deadly toxic mist.

If you have enough gems, you'll be able to upgrade your weapon. Head to the Gem Apothecary, and to the right of the door when entering, you'll see the weapon upgrade platform. Get on and you'll get a chance to upgrade to a glytch net if you have a glass jar and 75 green gems. Still better weapons require more. The platinum flyswatter will set you back 75 pink gems, and the glytch gun will need 15 blue gems. Next to the weapons upgrade is the lost HUD vendor where if you happen to lose the HUD you can get a new one.

Besides upgrading your weapon, you can trade your gems for gifts. To your left when entering the Gem Apothecary is the "Gem Lottery." Here, there are three platforms, one for exchanging a green gem for a common prize, another for exchanging a pink gem for a rare prize, and a third for exchanging blue gems for epic prizes. As the name "lottery" implies, what you get is determined at random in these three categories. Common prizes include balloons and alien shoulder pets. Rare prizes include jewelry and hats and holdable pet dinosaurs. Epic prizes include ridable dinosaur pets, vehicles, and dinosaur avatars.

The other building you can enter in Hartyshire is the gift shop. Here, you can get free items such as cups and commemorative t-shirts. To your left upon entering is the "Hatchery." To use this, you need to have gotten the SL14B gift avatar during the event. Add the egg from the avatar to your inventory, then touch the hatchery. You then get what hatches from the egg, which you need to accept. What your gift will be is a glytch avatar called a Revwyn. The avatar comes with a small HUD that will allow you to make four sounds. You can go on the hunt in the avatar if you like, but the glytches will attack you just the same. Since the game's release, I have seen *exactly one* other one besides mine. So it's fair to say you'll have a rare avatar.

There are also three portals to bonus areas. The one on the left of the three is The Forest of Gathering, in which players can capture glytches, including possible rare and epic ones. You need to pay a blue gem to get in. The one in the middle is The Sanctuary of Wind. There are no glytches here, just gems you can collect. But you still need to overcome and avoid obstacles. You need to pay three blue gems to play this area. The third area is The Rusty Cauldron. This giant tavern area us available only to Premium players. Here one collect gems and capture glytches. Among the possible prizes here are glytch avatars, which unless you have the egg from the SL14B is the only known way you can get one.

As mentioned before, once you capture a glytch and accept it, it's yours to keep. They can be worn like shoulder pets, and when clicked on will make a noise.

How entertaining is it? I've had fun playing it, the the glytch attacks can be funny, even if they're on me. The bonus levels could use less of a fee in my opinion, though it's a small minus in an overall great game.

That's the rundown on the Glytch game from Linden Lab. If any players have a story about the one that almost got away, or a particularly hilarious spell attack, please let the Newser know. Happy Hunting.

Bixyl Shuftan

Editor's Note: Although I planned to do this review just after the announcement, a friend of the paper told us he'd do a reader submission on it. But events on his side of the computer intervened, and kept him from doing so. Sorry about the delay.

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