Typos are a fairly common occurrence, even in today’s technologically advanced world. As I write this, and this is no joke, I misspelled “technologically” and my word processor automatically corrected that. As a writer, this privilege would not be bested upon me if, for instance, I was doing this article via hand or typewriter. Typoman is game that takes writing and the crafting of words very seriously, so seriously that Developers Brainseed Factory managed to create both a dark and enlightening story around the very nature of the action. Originally released on WiiU back in 2015, then Steam in 2016, the title has finally come to Xbox One. You are the hero, crafted from letters yourself, who can in turn take letters from the environments and make words that can come to life. Using this ability, you will bring light back into the world, stopping dark forces and surpassing puzzles along your journey.
Though not following an open narrative, Typoman opens to immediate conflict, showcasing the forces of good and evil. With a being of good and light helping guide the way, you begin your trek to an unknown end. The game is simple enough as platformers go. Jump and scale varying environments to progress, solve puzzles, and take a step on to the off beaten paths to uncover collectables. Thanks to its word crafting mechanism though, it has a chance to stand out from the somewhat standard affair offered in the genre. Using letters found lying around, you can build many words. Most of these words have no immediate effects, like “cat” or “car”, but others can be of much use to you. Creating words like “good” and “safe” create force fields that can protect you, while others like “lift” and “turn” can move objects within a certain range. These are used in areas showcasing both conflict and puzzles. The puzzles that require these word-necessary solutions are the flagship feature of the game, deservingly so. Some of the puzzles are incredibly crafty and require deep thought to come up with the incredibly smart solutions. It is also fun to come up with words like “hat” which will give your character a top hat, and even “Elvis” which dons the hero with big hair and a microphone. There are many other fun words to play with, but I do not want to take away the fun of discovering them for yourself.
When it comes to the platforming, it is a bit dull in retrospect. It works, but just does not showcase any particular finesse for a game in the genre. It is fun to explore and find the games collectable item, which are quotations. Finding these unlocks a quote, and finding multiple add to a diary that showcases a string of narrative from these quotes. When it comes to combat, you do not engage directly with the enemy, but rather outwit them using the words you can craft. In these situations, the controls can get a bit pesky. In puzzle situations, you typically do not have to worry about impending doom, so manually moving the letters or entering the word builder is not a problem. When enemies are inching towards you and your letters do not land in the right place, it can get tedious. In addition to that, I ran into a fair amount of bugs on the Xbox One version. From letters not loading, words not activating, and even jumping into (and getting stuck) in a restricted plane, these issues distracted from the general experience.
The title is rather short, clocking in at about three hours over three chapters. It does offer incentive to replay via certain achievements, but also gives way to two mini-games after completing the game once. The first is a word builder, which works like Boggle but does not require the letters to be next to each other. Just build as many words as you can in a certain amount of time. This is an extremely valuable addition for fans of word games like me, but like the base game, was hindered by some bugs that stopped me from enjoying it as much. The second mini is more complex. In this game, you must build a requested word, using a limited selection of letters that would normally make the task impossible. The kicker is that you must build words thats opposites have the letter(s) you need, then build the word “lie” to make that opposite word come out of your built word. For instance, if you were to need a “P” you could build the word “Down”, send the word “LIE” after it, and it would create “UP”, giving you the aforementioned “P”. Sound complex? It is, but it adds a certain challenge to the package.
Aesthetic wise, Typoman has a killer one. The look is dark and grizzly, but the backgrounds really tie everything together. The final boss has an immaculate design, one that deserves much praise, and that overall finale is one of the most well put together climaxes I have seen in recent years. This scene is masterfully brought together with the support of some fantastic musical tracks, with an overall score that brings forth music that emotes both whimsy and melancholy. Though the core of the game is somewhat standard, these last few thoughts I have reflected are what really made it a positive experience to have. Aside from the bugs, I enjoyed Typoman Revised for its aesthetic, its thought provoking puzzles, and its fantastic finale. Though it can use another read over to clean up the rough spots, Typoman Revised is a solid second draft.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7/10
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