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The Girl of Glass: A Summer Birds Tale

Join Kristal as she sets out on her journey to better understand herself and the world around her in a point and click adventure game, featuring turn-based combat and hand-painted environments. The Girl of Glass is set in a fictional mid-20th-century European country ruled by a tyrant eagle. You play as Kristal, the girl of glass, who is struggling with growing up, letting go of the past, and finding a future to believe in. On your journey of discovery, you will visit numerous places and meet a wonderful cast of characters to interact with – all in very detailed, hand-painted graphics. The Girl of Glass tells a charming coming-of-age tale with its unique characters, beautiful settings, and many dialogue options and choices that impact the story. You first meet Kristal at a circus where she is slaving for an ungrateful circus crew. One day a boy arrives and convinces her to run away with him. Together, they embark on the adventure of their lives. But it seems every road only leads her closer towards an inevitable confrontation with the eagle.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I just finished my first playthrough of Girl of Glass: A Summer Bird’s Tale, and I have a lot to say about this game. It is a game about imagination and self-discovery, with metaphors upon metaphors, and you kind of have to let it present itself to you on its own terms.
In this game, you are Krystal, an orphaned girl who happens to be made of glass. Krystal does odd jobs for a rinkydink and ramshackle circus that is on its last legs. The circus is populated by fellow outcasts and castaways; in an inspired twist that I really enjoyed, they all have different stories and personalities based on a series of choices you make at the beginning of the game. As pressure on the circus mounts from shady businessmen and corrupt officials, one day, a mysterious and charming young boy sweeps her off her feet and tries to convince her to run away with him. However, not all is as it seems with this guy, and she begins to have apprehensions. As all of this is going on, there is a second plotline that is rooted in dreams, imagination, and metaphor. In this dream world, Krystal is a warrior with a dark side who is journeying with companions such as a combat robot and a golem that are analogous to her real-life acquaintances.
Gameplay in Girl of Glass is split more or less 50/50 between two modes. When we are in the real world, the game plays like a point-and click-adventure. The puzzles are quite easy, and mostly consist of running back and forth to satisfy various fetch quests. The environments are also fairly small. Despite this, I really enjoyed the adventure portion of the game. The environments are *gorgeous* and making progress is satisfying, particularly in the later areas.
The other half of Girl of Glass is the combat-oriented half – RPG style turn-based battles. Aside from a few tutorial fights in the beginning of the game, the combat takes place in the dream world. I found it to be extremely challenging! (I did play on a high difficulty) There are no upgrades, EXP, or inventories – in battles, you will usually be 100% evenly matched by your computer opponent, and your victory will rely on careful planning, observation, and move selection.
The combat is surprisingly varied – new mechanics are introduced in almost each battle up until the final battle. Fights are up to four on four, and each character has a series of rock-paper-scissors style strengths and weaknesses. You have to juggle positioning of both yourself and your enemies, energy levels, field effects, and a host of special abilities.
The high point of Girl of Glass is definitely the art. This game's visuals are highly professional and polished and punch far above the game's indie weight class. The art had me hooked from the title screen. I mentioned the environments, which look incredible. I also thought it was effective how the developer used visual-novel style dialogue, with great-looking character models and a liberal use of illustrative cutaways and CGs. It’s not strange to see so many reviewers comparing it to Ghibli art. I also want to shout out the soundtrack, which was also phenomenal – especially in the final chapters!
A quality of life improvement I would like to see in a future update is a dialogue speed slider; as dialogue moves a little slow for my taste.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game and I definitely recommend picking it up. I am afraid that it will fly under the radar and not get the attention it deserves.
While I have finished the game, I only have about 50% of the achievements and feel like there is a lot more for me to see. I am already eager for my next playthrough, maybe I will not suck so hard at the combat next time around!

Review from Steam

I am changing my negative review to a positive one because the developers have been listening to the community in general, even though the game could still use more polish in certain areas. Beyond random technical issues and slow combat, I am curious to see what people think of the narrative, I don't think the story is great, but it is weird and different, so much so that I often found myself stunned trying to digest the experience.
Let me put it this way, if you only played the game for about 4 hours, you probably would leave a positive review, but if you played past the circus, you might think the game needs a complete structural overhaul. I think the game is longer than advertised, took me well over 9 hours, granted the slow combat is a huge part of the content (and I had several softlocks). The game has 7 chapters that alternate between point&click adventure and JRPG sections which I do not like. The JRPG mechanics are not very good, at best the combat is boring, but more importantly, I think it hurts the pacing of the narrative. Thematically, the combat in this game doesn't even make sense, every time there is a fight the narrative has to make some kind of excuse to fight a random animal. I figured the main character has combat in her head, but it adds too much imaginary conflict to what otherwise is a decent story (sometimes).
In 25 years of gaming, I have never experienced a story where the narrative goes from good to bad and from bad to good about 6 times in the same game - I am genuinely amazed how drastically it can change in tone and storytelling. It's very strange, sometimes the game feels very kid-friendly, and then it goes very dark and political at random, even distasteful if you ask me (I am not referring to excessive cursing which is also not in the trailer). I was very frustrated with how the story was paced mainly because the game already demonstrated that it could do so correctly, especially early on when you make friends with the circus employees. Supposedly the game has alternative outcomes, but I can't imagine forcing myself to play the type of combat again, however, I did notice that dialogue can affect your relationships. Thank god the voice actor was pretty good, she made it a lot more serviceable. In the end, I was entertained by the story, if only just watching it spiral out of control.
Even after 6+hours of gameplay it still holds your hand in the JRPG battles, I don't think there was a single fight where it didn't interrupt me to point out something obvious. Guys the tutorial in your game should not last 6 hours, I know how JRPG games work, you need to have an option to turn off all hints. Furthermore, there is always more dialogue during the battles, so even if you want to just speedrun them, you can't do it. The only time the combat gets interesting is during the boss fights, they could take more than 5 attempts. As far as the depth, it has some special abilities between different characters and resistances to certain elemental attacks, it's not too complicated. I find it strange that game often introduced character skills that became obsolete 30 minutes later, it's kinda like they added JRPG gameplay just for aesthetics. Even if the system had some potential, it's just not handled very well.
Pros:
+ it's a beautiful game, not just animation, a lot of artwork in general
+ pretty decent amount of content, even if you factor in the slow combat
+ I think the story has issues, but I was entertained by it
+ decent voice acting
+ achievements, branching dialogue with limited* impact
Feedback:
Combat Pace - the game still needs a way to reset battles in the middle of the fight without reloading. When you load you have to watch cutscenes which can add a lot of time to boss fights on a higher difficulty. I would like to see some of the tutorial cut from the game, it never stops even toward the end (or make it optional). The combat UI requires you to hold the mouse to select skills, it would be a lot easier if you just clicked on the UI and it stayed open with all of the choices.
Narrative & Misleading Trailer - I don't expect changes to the narrative, but for any future projects I think it's important to maintain a certain narrative tone when it comes to world-building. Everything about the game trailer is very lighthearted which is rather misleading. I bought the game because it reminded me of lighthearted and occasionally deeply emotional ghibli movies, I didn't expect constant cursing, political themes, self-harming, and exploring dirty desires. You can do that story if you want, but don't pretend it's something else in the trailer.
Softlocks - you can occasionally run into a black screen or a softlock around combat sections, but usually you can just reload the game, in most cases 2-3 minutes of lost progress. (I had about 6, at least one of them was fixed)
Overall thoughts: 7/10
I wish it was just a regular adventure game because those parts are very enjoyable. The combat didn't add anything good to the game in my opinion, if anything the main story kept getting delayed because we needed to make space for imaginary battles. This game is truly an experience, not all of it is positive, but it was kinda unique. Probably not going to please a diehard adventure or JRPG fan (and I am both of those). The best part of this game is also the worst part - it has a questionable story that I needed to see all the way.

Review from Steam

The Girl of Glass is a beautiful and inspirational story that unfolds throughout the game with new perspectives and details developing the player's understanding of the narrative. Having said that, the game is a delight to play from the very first minute thanks to the gorgeous artwork, music and witty dialogue. The game might challenge some of us that are dedicated to specific genres in that it combines a point and click adventure with turn-based combats. However as the story unfolds it becomes clear that these two are complementing each other and that also the combat battles increase the understanding of the main character's life journey. I have not finished the game yet and I look forward to spending more time in the enchanting world of the Girl of Glass. Recommended!

Review from Steam

I just finished the game and I must admit: I really adore the strong message, the music and the artwork. Its just overwhelmingly beautiful and I never took so many screenshots in any other game before. ❤️
I also really love the point and click part of the game, I am a huge fan of that genre. The riddles are not too difficult, but its still entertaining and interesting, I didnt get bored or really stuck. :)
The only thing that frustrated me a bit were the dream battles. I found the difficulty in those fights really high, so I decided to continue in easy mode, even the average mode drove me crazy, I felt like it was so random sometimes :(
But in the end, I have to say: This game is great and definetly worth playing! The creators were puting really a lot of heart in the game. :)

Review from Steam

If you've read any of the other reviews of The Girl of Glass, you probably already understand that it's hard to either recommend or advise against playing it. That's because the game switches both gameplay and tone so frequently, it's almost impossible for it to hit anyone's taste 100 % of the time.
So is this a case of "I wish Steam offered a 'middling' review option"? No, not for me. I would still give the game a thumbs-up. Yes, The Girl of Glass is definitely 'uneven' or even 'flawed' (depending on whether you think its uneven-ness is deliberate or not). However, that actually makes it a very interesting gaming experience in my mind. I definitely enjoyed it (despite sometimes thinking "oh no, not another fight") and I think the plot and characters will stay with me for quite a while. In a way, this game is actually more enjoyable precisely because it's neither 100 % a lighthearted fairy tale nor 100 % a dark combat game. I's not easily defined either as 'good' or 'bad'. It's something which, in the end, you'll have to mull over in your head.
Now, I think the only way for me to give you any idea of whether the game might meet your personal tastes is by giving you some (mild) spoilers. I won't be going into any plot details here, but I think it might be helpful to point out some general observations about the balance of the different gameplay styles and the way the tone of the game changes over time. I suggest you read only as many of these as you need to decide for yourself whether you want to try the game:
Gameplay systems
- The very first chapter of the game combines point-n-click adventure gameplay with visual novel narration and turn-based combat. This actually works remarkably well and the three gameplay systems are well-balanced.
- The point-n-click bits aren't very challenging, but the combat becomes significantly more challenging as the game goes on. So if you're here to wrap your head around some clever puzzles, you might not like where the game is going.
- After the first chapter, the structure of the game changes: Now, it's one chapter focused on adventure/VN gameplay, followed by one focused on combat with lots of VN narration. This dual structure then repeats until the end.
- I'd argue that this switch in gameplay that occurs in each chapter actually underlines the themes of the plot very well. But if you're not into turn-based combat games, that probably won't help you when you find yourself doing back-to-back combat for an hour or two. There is an easy mode though, so I'd suggest trying that if you're on the fence here. You can change to a lower difficulty setting at any point in the game, by the way.
- The Visual Novel elements in the combat-heavy chapters actually do a good job of tying everything in with the plot, but the overall significance of these chapters to the story might not be immediately obvious at first.
Tone and narration
- The game starts off rather light-hearted, but it becomes more serious later on. While it doesn't necessarily become too dark, it does broach some heavy subjects.
- The writing can feel kinda uneven at times (though this could be argued to be part of the main theme). The game switches freely from dreamy adventure narrative to goofy jokes to discussing serious political/psychological themes.
- The combat-heavy chapters are significantly darker in tone than the other chapters (again, this makes sense within the narrative)
- The game does bring up serious political topics such as fascism and resistance against it. However, the way in which it discusses these can (again) be very uneven: Sometimes, you're having a well-thought-out discussion about how fascist systems are kept alive not so much by the leader in charge as by the general populace who allow the system to keep going unopposed. Next thing you know, the game introduces an evil priest character by showing him trying to buy a child for his personal 'entertainment'. Look, I'm an unapologetic leftist atheist, but this is kinda on the nose...

Review from Steam

I don't normally play this type of game, but I still enjoyed it a lot and the level of difficulty felt appropriate. The only negative is that the combat mechanics felt a bit repetetive, but having the story and beautiful graphics very present in the combat made sure it was still an interesting and engaging time. Overall I think the story and the aesthetics is the best part of the game. The pacing was very good, giving you time to breathe without getting boring, and I was always intrigued to see how it would continue. The story was cute and wholesome yet deep and mature, and I found it moving and thoughtful to think about even after playing the game. At some points I needed a bit of effort to get past an obstacle, but I was never stuck for long. In other words it was a bit challenging but not frustrating. Since it is point and click the solution only required a bit of thought so players who struggle with timing and controls can also enjoy this game. The player has enough freedom to feel engaged but not so much that it deters from or dilutes the story, which is what I feel the whole game is centered around. Everything in the game fits with and adds to the story beautifully, and I recommend this game to everyone who enjoys a good story.

Review from Steam

Still in my first playthrough, so i've not finished the game just yet. However, I wanted to leave a review since this game has not gotten much attention, which is a shame. The hand-painted art style reminds me of Studio Ghibil films! Its story has a sort of magical realism to it, like those of Haruku Murakami's stories. This is also a game that reflects on serious issues like trauma, loneliness, war, and an honest look at how complex people can be inside while appearing less on the surface, etc.
It's also great that it challenges typical tropes such as "boy saves girl" and while initially he is a symbol of escape for her, as the story progresses, her romanticised image of him crumbles. As it is in real life, no one is perfect and it's fantastic that the game doesn't shy away from that truth. Finally, this game has multiple genres in one. It may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy turn-based combat, point-and-click adventures, and visual novels... then this is a hidden gem you might want to check out! :-)