Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply let your thoughts wander, as you’re going from A to B. To simply wander from A to B as your thoughts go. To think from A to B – alright, it might be time to start making some actual sense. See, I just played the Glitchhikers: The Spaces Between demo, which contains a small slice of what appears to be part remake of Glitchhikers: The First Drive, and part greatly-expanded-up-on experience. But exactly what did I… experience?
Well, that’s for me to know, and you to find out. Either by taking the demo for a spin yourself or – since you’re here anyway – reading my thoughts on what may or may not actually be available, for who’s to say this isn’t all simply a dream, and that you’re about to wake up in a world where not even a trace of Glitchhikers ever existed? Sorry. I promise to stop with the philosophical metaphorical nonsense now. Maybe. If I can help myself. Perhaps playing Glitchhikers: The First Drive yesterday and the Glitchhikers: The Spaces Between demo today has put me in a strange mood. One which allows thoughts to wander freely, to roam, to boldly go where no thoughts have gone before. It does feel good though.
So, let’s start from the beginning, which – unlike the original – doesn’t plop you straight into a car on a dark road, ensuring you’re aware from the get-go that there is going to be more to this second entry than four wheels of
fury glitchhiking. Instead, you appear outside a place called The Stop, in which a chatty clerk answers any inquiries you may have as vaguely as possible before leaving you to either hit the highway, hop aboard the commuter train, visit the nearby park or get on a bus to the airport. Except only some of those are available, likely because of the whole demo thing, so off to the highway we go, where an ever so slightly familiar experience awaits.
Glitchhikers: The Spaces Between is about the thoughts that exist between destinations, the parts of journeys that dominate our time but not our attention, when our minds wander to parts of ourselves and our world normally left unexamined.
At least, for those who played Glitchhikers: The First Drive, and yet Glitchhikers: The Spaces Between, is still noticeably different on the road. Like everything has been upgraded somewhat, your car is able to reach both a higher high and lower low in terms of speed, and the overall feel seems… moodier. Looking at footage from yesterday’s session and comparing it with that from the demo reveals that my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me: the road ahead is darker, stars and trees far more plentiful, and I am driving a more expensive(?) car this time around. A handful of welcome visual improvements, but there are even more important changes worthy of highlighting. Features many games simply ignore, ones that a lot of players would be genuinely thrilled to stumble across while navigating their menus curiously.
Things like, say, the ability to turn off/hide certain content through a list of filters: death/grief, suicide/nihilism, abuse, substance use, and body horror. Do keep in mind, however, that “current journey will not be affected”, meaning you’ll have to make the changes prior to starting a new game. Oh, and you also have the option of immediately ending any conversation without coming off as rude to the other person – yet another thoughtful inclusion.
Now, remember how I noted that the demo for Glitchhikers: The Spaces Between doesn’t begin with the player behind the wheel? Yeah. Doesn’t end there either. As you might have noticed from the screenshot above all this, there’s also a train to catch – a part of the journey that further emphasizes just how much bigger this one is, in every way, compared to Glitchhikers: The First Drive. Even if a lot of it is only hinted at, not actually available in this little slice, this… thought snack, as it were.
I do wonder whether experiencing the original back in 2014 near its release would have changed my thoughts regarding this upcoming sequel/expanded remake drastically, or not at all. Seeing how I am unlikely to ever find out, I’ll just have to treat it as one more thing to let wander through my mind as the car whisks me down that barely lit road well after midnight, marking the beginning of a new journey.