Nanotale Typing Chronicles: Master Tapping

Finally, a game where I ooze skills: typing. Nanotale Typing Chronicles is out now on Steam and will increase your vocabulary.

Before the release date drifts past and we’re talking about this game as if it were from a bygone era, let me tell you a little something about Nanotale Typing Chronicles – out today on Steam.

First of all, it’s a typing adventure and part of the Typing Chronicles franchise by Flying Cactus. Before registering that as an educational piece (if you’re rehearsing for a spelling bee, it might help), it is, in fact, a fantasy tale with a focus on spells and being one with nature in a dreamy land that is unfortunately dying.

Your part is an archivist named Rosalind. Unlike a stereotypical academic sporting Clubmasters, she can handle herself by boasting magical powers. However, instead of unleashing a tirade of unheard of spells with up, down, left, right, A and B, she spells out relevant words to her plight.

I somewhat feel for the lower ranking beasts you encounter who she deems as ‘criminal’, but spelling words like ‘hurt’ are more appropriate and easier on the old digits. The highlight here is we typists make Gandalf look like a boy scout. Almost any word thrown up on the screen, and I’d bash the keyboard as if pulling off those combos for Lei Wulong in Tekken 2 back on the PlayStation. Heritage for you.

Nanotale Typing Chronicles - Fishy
Fishy. Source: Steam

Speaking of heritage, don’t let my gaming experience give the illusion that I know a thing or two about a thorough review. I played this solely on a keyboard and didn’t experiment with a controller. Before you shout that Nanotale Typing Chronicles is a typing adventure, and it’s pretty hard to spell ‘prat’ on a controller, you still have to move Rosalind around with the keyboard.

Switching between the spells (literally) and movement were a bit problematic for me. By default, she moves with E, S, D, F, and while that’s not going to put your hands out of action for a week or two, it’s a little confusing if you learned to type with the home keys. Perhaps I lack that nimbleness to shift.

Another aspect of the mechanic that will determine your progress is if you’re a touch typist. For the whole of this review, I haven’t once looked at my fingers or the keyboard. Actually, I just did, having written the last sentence. My PC setup uses a mechanical keyboard, and I seldom write on it, so reading the words on the screen and typing them up when there’s a dozen or so there at a time can be tricky.

Nanotale Typing Chronicles - Shrooms
Shrooms. Source: Steam

In fact, for the first half an hour or so, I was mildly cocky, thinking that I’d beat the game in one go. Wiping that smug sentiment off my chops, the waves came in thick and thin, with larger enemies to tackle that could clear ground faster than the others. Additionally, the words become a little more tricky to type – especially if it’s a word you’re unfamiliar with and start searching your own databanks for the meaning. Too late: you’ve been attacked.

It’s important to note that when Rosalind performs these spells, she whips out her book to a complete standstill, so referring back to the switch in keyboard presses, you have to exit the spell mode quickly, dash to safety, then start spelling again.

It’s not all about combat though, as you meet a good deal of NPCs along the way with plenty to say. A cool dialogue option is typing the keyword that interests you rather than from a dropdown selection. This was a really good aspect, and felt like my choices meant something. In the conversation, at least.

Nanotale Typing Chronicles - I'm not Groot
I’m not Groot. Source: Steam

More importantly, Rosalind isn’t a mage but an archivist. She’s collecting samples to ascertain why this world is falling to corruption. The more assets you inspect – spelling out words as per the combat – the higher her skill set and spells, allowing you to invest in stat increases based on your play style. Run faster and all that jazz. By the way, early on, you rescue a spirit fox and to repay your deed, you can summon it to transport you about the lands (it also helps out in combat on some occasions).

It’s fair to say I didn’t come into Nanotale Typing Chronicles with much expectations other than there would be lots of typing. There’s plenty of balance here for exploration, story development, RPG-like levelling in places and of course, combat. What I didn’t realise was that this would be quite a heartwarming experience.

The fundamental level design is mostly the same with similar type fetch quests, but they have a charm to them that makes you want to explore and type every single word you see, regardless of the consequences! Visually Nanotale Typing Chronicles is very lovely to look at, and the narration and overall voice talent in the game are a highlight.

There isn’t much to choose from in the typing genre unless opening up a Word document is your kink. Still, regardless of that lack of choice, Nanotale – Typing Chronicles is a game that deserves further investigation and a refreshing input option that isn’t button mashing but frantically typing as many words as you can whilst being fun. I like.