Glass Fort: Physics puzzle game with a good hook, but a glass jaw
Glass Fort is a game that many won’t hesitate to compare to Jenga, that good old wooden-block favourite. Each level, you’re given a structure mostly made of various sized blue and red blocks, floating on a small platform drifting through what looks like the backdrop of a Super Mario 64 boss level. Your job is to remove all the blue blocks and stop the red ones from either breaking or falling over the edge. Therefore, while the similarities are obvious, it’s worth pointing out that, unlike Jenga, you can’t choose which blocks to remove, only the order and timing in which to do so. Completing levels or naming buildings (In the later levels where the structures are based off famous landmarks) will get you a bunch of crystals, which you can use to buy freeze items to help you or unlock further stages.
An unusual aspect of the game is the way it uses lives. Within a level, you lose a life for every red block you accidentally (or tactically?) break, presenting you with a “Game Over” if your atomic bomb of a finger goes into overkill. Fair enough. But while you may expect your lives to reset after each level completed, the game in fact keeps the number of lives you had remaining previously and requires you to buy more health using the crystals earned from completing a level. Hence, if you are struggling, you are offered an exchange. Either you toil away at the same level again and again, or sacrifice your hard-earned cash to unlock a new one. Personally, I would have preferred it if there were always at least two levels to switch around from to stop yourself getting frustrated with a single one, especially if you don’t have enough lives and crystals to help you out.
What you can do to get you through a level, is swipe and pinch to rotate and zoom into your building. Unfortunately, what becomes increasingly apparent as the structures get larger and larger (namely inside the US and World Towers stages unlocked later on) is that the zoom mechanic is very poor. No matter where you zoom from, you only go towards the centre of the structure. Even when you’ve smashed most of the blocks, it will still zoom towards where the centre was! Seeing that the primary aims of being able to zoom is to: 1) examine the smaller, more complicated parts of a building and 2) prevent you from smashing multiple blocks at once with your (only comparatively!) chubby finger, it’s remarkable that the mechanic fails on both fronts, making later levels very frustrating to play.
Despite several gripes with the gameplay mechanics and uninspired visual style, Glass Fort is at heart a reasonably enjoyable and challenging physics puzzle game. However, with the wealth of other games in this genre, I can’t say there is enough on offer to set it apart from the pack. Maybe if you’re a big Jenga fan?
Glass Fort Promotional Youtube Video