Glitchpunk Early Access hands-on preview: Punk's not dead

Dark Lord's Glitchpunk has brought its chaos and high-octane action to Steam Early Access.

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Steam Early Access is a program that’s excellent for letting fans get a taste of some of the biggest upcoming video games. One of the latest games to hit Early Access is Glitchpunk, the top-down action game inspired by titles like the early Grand Theft Auto games. I had the chance to check out Glitchpunk in its early state and walked away hopeful for what’s to come in the full release.

New Baltia’s finest

Glitchpunk is set in a dystopian cyberpunk future, in a cutthroat city where power is king and everybody is looking to get their slice of the pie. Players take on the role of an android bounty hunter, fulfilling contracts for fixers in exchange for cash and resources. Players will navigate the mean streets of New Baltia, causing mayhem and dodging police. The game has four different primary locations, including Outpost Texas, Moscow, and New Tokyo. However, the Early Access version of the game is limited to New Baltia.

Immediately loading into Glitchpunk, it’s clear how many different things there are for players to do. The minimap is full of icons, giving players a range of options when deciding what trouble they want to get into. There’s car dealerships, weapon shops, mod garages, and more for players to check out.

Contracts are the primary aspect of Glitchpunk’s gameplay. Contracts task players with taking out enemies and completing certain objectives around the world. Upon completion, players are rewarded with cash, as well as resources and other bonuses. What’s really interesting is that these contracts will play into storylines and have a branching effect on the game’s narrative that will lead you in the direction to one of Glitchpunk's multiple endings.

Trouble at every corner

The gameplay in Glitchpunk is strongly inspired by the early Grand Theft Auto games. Playing from a top-down perspective, players can steal vehicles, commit crimes, and visit a variety of shops. There’s a ton of freedom, but killing civilians and stealing will cause players to raise their “Wanted” level. Police will pursue players until they either complete a contract, which will prompt the fixer to pay off the officers, or visit a garage.

Players are also equipped with the ability to hack NPCs and other entities. Entering hacker mode causes time to stand still, displaying all of the hackable characters and devices in range. When hacking, players have an array of different options. This includes stealing credits, causing a distraction, and turning characters into allies. In order to pull off specific hacks, players will need to acquire and install various modules into their system.

Much like the Grand Theft Auto games, Glitchpunk rewards players for simply wandering around the world. While making my way around the city, there were a countless number of random occurrences that caught my attention. From gun-toting civilians to random robberies and hijackings, there’s plenty to see in New Baltia.

Impressive from the top-down

Glitchpunk’s Early Access version paints a clear image at what the developers are looking to deliver in the full game. There’s plenty to do and discover in Glitchpunk's sprawling world.. A marriage of the classic GTA formula with the Cyberpunk genre, Glitchpunk is shaping up to be one of the year’s more unique releases.


The impressions are based on a digital Steam code provided by the publisher. Glitchpunk hits Steam Early Access on August 11, 2021.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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