The most fun you can have with your right hand.
Okay, well, maybe not... but the concept behind Glover is one of the most original I've seen for the consoles in a while. So how does one explain an animated glove in a game?
In the Crystal Castle located in the Crystal Kingdom is a wizard who uses magical gloves to mix strange concoctions. But (you know there has to be a 'but') one day the wizard accidentally mixes the wrong ingredients and (as John Madden would say) BOOM! Glover goes flying out the window and the other glove lands in a bubbling cauldron of evil. Unfortunately, the explosion not only sent our hero flying but seven crystals as well. Thinking fast, Glover magically changes the crystals into bouncy rubber balls so they don't break and they subsequently bounce to remote areas of the kingdom. This is where Glover's journey begins.
Basically you are required to take control Glover and guide a rubber ball to the end of the level. Sound easy? Well it's not. The addition of the ball adds a whole new dimension to the run-jump-and-kill-enemies formula. Traversing even simple obstacles such as steps or ramps becomes much more difficult.
Fortunately, Glover is pretty resourceful character (for a four-fingered glove) and he's got a myriad of moves available to him. There's a lot of technique involved in this game, as you'll find out once you open the box and find a reference card listing 18 moves Glover can do with or without the ball. These include slapping, bouncing, throwing, and lobbing the ball as well as jumping, cartwheeling, and running on top of the ball like a circus animal. In addition, Glover is able to change the physical characteristics of the ball according to the situation. The rubber ball (good bounce and throwing range) can change to a bowling ball (large and slow, but good for brute force), a ball bearing (small, little bounce and magnetic) and a crystal (breaks very easily, but awards 2x points).
With all the depth in the number of moves, some of the puzzles in the game can get downright nasty and challenge even the most jaded puzzle masters. Glover is so much more involved than other platformers that it even includes a training level to familiarize you with the controls as well as the different moves that Glover can do. I'd advise going through the training throughly as some of the puzzles in the game require mastery of these skills and leave little room for error.
Most of the game is finding your way around obstacles, but along the way you can also pick up "garibs" that award extra lives and open bonus levels. Picking up garibs with Glover alone awards the least points and picking them up with the use of the ball awards considerably more. Glover also incorporates some Marble Madness elements; specifically rolling the ball along narrow ledges while dodging obstacles and enemies with one wrong move spelling disaster.
The gameplay in Glover really brings out some mixed emotions. Half the time, Glover acts so silly you can't help but laugh when he's doing a cartwheel and shouting, "Wheeeee!!" or when you leave him idle for too long and he starts drumming his fingers. The other half of the time you'll be pulling your hair out trying to figure out how to get the ball to a particular area without dying seventy-five million times in the process.
Although Glover does a pretty good job of being challenging without being overly frustrating, there's twice as many ways to achieve instant death than in other platformers.
Naturally, Glover has a limited amount of health and lives, but you also have a limited number of balls to work with as well. Even if Glover has plenty of lives left, if you accidentally send your last ball rolling down a bottomless pit, it's game over, man. Pretty much a mixed bag as far as gameplay is concerned; puzzles are original and challenging, but Instant Death x2 is a little much.
The graphics look great, but there's a lot of fog and some pop-up is evident. Well, whaddya expect from a game that features a four-fingered glove as its hero? Polygons look smooth with very little blockiness and the sound in Glover gets extra high marks for the amount of flatulence involved. Why this is in the game and to what purpose it serves (other than making immature fools like me cackle hysterically) is as of yet undetermined. Music is of the platform variety with some hummable tunes here and there but nothing really outstanding or annoying.
Glover reminds me a lot of Iggy's Reckin' Balls in that they both look like simple or boring games, but underneath the kiddie candy-coated exterior lies a good game with an amazing amount of depth. Kudos to Hasbro Interactive for bringing something original to the tired platform genre. If you've got the time, try Glover on for size.