Building games are supposed to be in-depth and serious. We deserve towering cranes, gleaming interplanetary landers and complex networks of conveyor belts, not cutsey fairies, sunbeams and magical fruit. Glittermitten Grove [official site], a wretched and insipid affair, rips the meaning and the strategy out of a noble genre – a cynical cash-in made from what looks like clipart, making a quick buck out of legions of creatively-minded PC gamers who long only to escape from a world that hates and fears them.
Glittermitten Grove was excreted onto Steam towards the end of last year, a bleak Christmas present from someone who clearly despises videogames and everyone who plays them.
It is saccharine in the extreme, a relentless grind of faux-cheer and the kind of art one might find on a pop-up-choked website full of browser games aggressively targeted at young girls.
I will grudgingly admit that there is a kind of strategy to it. Resources must be farmed by building collectors within sunbeams, but the position of those collectors change as your plant-based settlement’s weight shifts whenever new structures are added to it.
Another resource is obtained by casting firework spells into the earth, blowing tunnels that contain crystals and other treasures. After a suitable amount of mind-numbing repetition in this vein, it vaguely resembles a Tinkerbell-themed Terraria.
Don’t be fooled by screenshots to this effect. Glittermitten Grove is nothing but misery. Build, wait for meters to refill, endure, repeat, self-loathe.
Games are one of the greatest expressions of human imagination that there is. To see the form squandered this way, devoid of even trace elements of ingenuity and invention, is a tragedy. As I played Glittermitten Grove, grim to the core underneath its thin pastel skin, I lost all faith in videogames. Butts to all of this.
Glittermitten Grove is out now via Steam for £15/$20/€20.