Typoman caught my interest from the cover, but also the title. As you may know by now, I like type. Not that I’m an expert, but like drinking beer, I’d like to think I can tell the difference between each one and know what I like.
This isn’t the same as Type:Rider, it’s more of a classic platform game in that you have to time your jumps, and have a few obstacles to tackle – more so than the former title. Also, it doesn’t embrace fonts in their history and design, but it makes fantastic use of individual letters to form words and representations of the words.
For example, the four letters that make ‘doom’ form into a scorpion-like creature that chases you. The designs are quite ingenious, and when these enemies appear, it instils a little bit of urgency, and dare I say, fear!
Think of Any Four Letter Word
When we see our character, he is entirely lost and starts as a discarded letter. Slowly, he forms it to a full-bodied character that can run and jump and interact with levels and letters to spell out new ones.
The standout feature for Typoman, by Brainseed Factory, is its creative ways of spelling out new words to solve a puzzle. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, the word adds to your vocabulary bank. Words that you spell out early include words such as ‘on’ to activate a switch or ‘up’ to get a lift up an running. You can spell out certain words too. I won’t say what I spelt, but it was accepted, though I don’t think it’s a word most people would endure in any situation.
Some of the words are not so obvious, and there are times where you could potentially get stuck. Early on in the game, I got stuck where you encounter some poisonous gas, coincidently spelt as ‘gas’. I tried to run past but died, attempted to take the letters apart but no option too. In a last attempt of frustration, I combined the letter ‘p’ from a previous word with gas to spell ‘gasp’. This created a bubble to breathe and allowed me to progress. Bonzer.
There isn’t a plot as such. You need to navigate through the locations, encountering hostility, often spelt or exuding a negative manner. The letters that spell out your character is ‘Hero’, which is appropriate. It’s incredible how much personality can be drawn out from something made of just four letters.
Typoman is a hard game, though, that has to be said. You will need to be balanced in your skills really as the platforming sections can be fiddly and equally irritating. This version of the game on the Switch is Typoman Revised as there were complaints about the way the character handled on other platforms.
Additionally, you need to be good with the word sections. Obviously. Most of the puzzles are logical – rearrange ‘praise’ to form ‘raise’, ‘arise’ or ‘rise’ so that a lift will move so you can navigate past. Spell out love to counter the word ‘hate’. Some of the puzzles are not easy, and there have been a few times where I have exited out of the game so I can come back with fresh eyes, or with the knowledge from a YouTube video.
The Final Act
The game is very atmospheric and sets the tone well. Getting a bit arty, some of the sections remind me of German expressionism with the lighting effects and angular shadows. It’s a world of hostility, and there’s nowhere that feels safe. Just jagged edges and anger out to get you.
Navigating Hero is simple. He does seem to be a little bit weightless at times, and you can’t always calculate how far he will jump or where he will land. At times you need to jump across platforms that are falling, and speed and precision are essential, but it doesn’t have the same fluidity as Katana Zero or Kirby Star Allies. Equally, the puzzles aren’t as straightforward as The Gardens Between but aren’t entirely impossible. It is irritating at times, yes.
Typoman does feel like an indie game in that it caters to a select crowd. That’s not to say it’s a bad game at all – it’s quite enjoyable. However, a degree of patience and skill is necessary for this and though it isn’t a time challenge type game and you can go at your own pace (most of the time), there is a sense of urgency when you repeatedly die and can’t work out the solution to get past the section in question.