At the most superficial level, co-op games are about working together. But in some of the best co-op games, it can be just as entertaining to mess with you friends as to help them out. While it may not be the nicest thing in the world to stomp your partner into a pit in New Super Mario Bros, or to intentionally alert the Witch in Left 4 Dead, it is funny. Isn’t that more important?
It’s that blend of competition and cooperation that I find most appealing about Glitch Busters: Stuck on You, an upcoming third-person shooter from Toylogic and Skybound Games. During Summer Game Fest 2022, I got to go hands on alongside director Yusuke Ochiai, who was kind enough to demonstrate both collaboration and some quality trolling throughout our play session.
Set in a futuristic version of the internet beset by viruses, Glitch Busters tasks four of the titular characters—cutesy little avatars with emoji faces and magnet feet—with saving the virtual world. While you can of course play with three other humans (online or in splitscreen), the game also supports AI-controlled bots to fill out your squad.
While blasting away enemies with your weapons, including a standard blaster and more powerful pickups like rocket launchers, makes up a big portion of the gameplay, there’s also a decent emphasis on puzzle solving and platforming. That’s where the Glitch Busters’ magnet feet come into play. Hold down the right trigger, and you’ll magnetically attract to a nearby teammate, stacking onto their head when you make contact. From here, you can stretch out your legs to get a higher vantage point, and boost off into a higher jump. There’s also a neat Manga Dash ability that lets you redirect your momentum while you’re flying toward a teammate to clobber enemies, in some cases breaking off their armor to make them easier to blast.
While you’re working together as a team to fight enemies and bosses and reach the end of the colorful, imaginative levels, you’re also competing to see who can collect the most like coins—and here’s where the trolling potential really opens up. There’s nothing stopping you from using your Magna Dash to quickly scoop up all the coins in the chest your teammate just opened. Or dive-bombing off the ledge when they’re stacked on top of you, just because.
The second type of stage I got to try out offered an even better mix of teamwork and shenanigans. Unlike the main 3D levels, this is a side-scrolling segment that stacked the entire four-player team and sped us through auto-scrolling gauntlet full of obstacles and enemies. As platforms and enemies hurtled toward us, we needed to coordinate to make sure we were all extending or contracting our magnet legs in concert to stack everyone up at the right height to clear the onrushing platforms. But then, there were also plenty of times when Ochiai and I decided it was better to shove one another into a platform and try to get the coins for ourselves, too. Not exactly maximizing our chances for success, but certainly maximizing the laughs.
Though I only got a short taste of the game, I definitely see the promise in what Glitch Busters is trying to do. The team at Toylogic looked back to the heyday of couch co-op, the Nintendo 64 era, for inspiration, and my demo really did capture that vibe. Back then, it wasn’t always about playing the game as good as possible; it was about playing together, even if that meant trying to be the biggest prankster on your team.
All told, there should be a decent amount of content to dig your teeth into. There’s a standard story mode, a randomized Patrol mode that remixes the levels, and a Simulator mode that lets you heavily customize the challenges you encounter.
Glitch Busters: Stuck On You is coming to to Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. There’s no release window yet.