Epistory: Tying Chronicles is a PC game developed by Fishing Cactus which has some very interesting and unique gameplay mechanics. The game has an interesting story that is told in a unique way and it takes place in a beautifully designed world that’s made of paper that unfolds around you. You set out on a journey to get rid of the evil in the world whilst becoming more powerful.
I was immediately blown away by the stunning visual style of the game when I started and loved the origami style design. The game guides you along a path that unfolds as you follow it, with areas opening to reveal new locations. The world feels immersive, deep and alive. The game is about a girl and the giant fox she rides on. The world is mostly uninhabited, except for evil creatures that are constantly trying to attack you and your faithful companion. As you explore and clear out dungeons, you’ll gain experience as the world folds out into mountain ranges, gloomy swamps and vast deserts. A lot of the game’s story is told through text, but still the world feels full of mystery and intrigue.
I enjoyed how game narrates various sections of the story as you move onto certain areas. These narrations don’t reveal too much but they add another layer of depth to the world building and overall atmosphere. It’s not particularly clear what your objective in the game is, but I actually just enjoyed the freedom to wander and explore the gorgeous world.
The controls in the game are unlike other games and anything I have played in recent times. You run around in the game by using E, F, J, and I, which might sound unusual but it actually works fairly well. If you don’t like using those keys though you can use the traditional W, A, S, D keys. You may want to try both methods as they work in slightly different ways. As you move through the world you hit the spacebar to reveal words scattered throughout the environments. These start out by being static non-threatening things like rocks and trees. When you see a word you must then type it out to gather XP. The XP you collect can be used to level up and purchase upgrades.
You use the Tab key to access the games menu, where you can see a map of the area. This is also where you can upgrade your stats like speed, knockback ability, increase elemental effects and other helpful skills. I decided to quickly upgrade the speed of the fox I was riding on as he starts out pretty slow. You can also get other helpful skills like seeing a guided path to the nearest objective.
As you progress you will start to come across bugs and enemy creatures that can have more than one word above them. They slowly move towards you and you must type in all of the words before they reach you. This is where the game gets challenging and at times fairly frustrating. There’s a bit of a problem with the typing control scheme, where switching between search mode and back to normal can feel awkward and slow. It’s also important to note that the game doesn’t allow for words to be typed unless they’re entirely in-frame. This becomes particularly troublesome when there are multiple enemies coming at you at once. I also have to mention that I’m not a particularly fast at typing so I found it tricky to keep an eye on the screen as well as typing out various words.
The enemies that attack you are varied and keep you on your toes. At times there can be lots of creatures heading at you, some crawling some flying and all at different speeds. They will also have different amounts of words, some being longer and more complex than others. This gets even more complicated as you open up elemental attacks, where some enemies can only be taken down with flame while others a blast of frost. This basically means you have to type in ‘fire’ or ‘ice’ before attacking a creature that needs to burn or freeze. These added complications and variations in speed of enemies means you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings and quickly gauge each situation before choosing which enemies to attack first. You die very quickly so its important learning how to eliminate the most prominent threats first.
The game also has some interesting puzzles elements that mix things up and were a highlight of the gameplay for me. The puzzles usually involve tile based switches and add a nice variation to the typing gameplay. I also enjoyed how it encourages you to explore further and take time to fully experience each area. The game is difficult but I personally enjoyed the challenge. I can certainly see some people not enjoying this type of game as it can almost feel like more of an educational game at times, which I didn’t mind as my typing skills could do with some improvement!
The presentation of the game is my favourite aspect and certainly feels like the strongest part of the experience. The game simply looks beautiful, with varied environments that have a handcrafted feel. I enjoyed how the world is build out of paper that unfolds elegantly as you move through it. I also loved the design of the two main characters that work well together. The narration in the game also works really well and helps add another layer of depth to the world and creates an even more immersive experience.
I enjoyed my time with Epistory but I can certainly see why some players may not enjoy this title. It’s a fairly slow-paced game that requires practice and patience. The controls feel a bit clumsy and switching modes with the spacebar needs refining. The world design is the strongest and most interesting feature of the game and I loved exploring the beautiful landscapes. I would only recommend this game if you want to explore a gorgeous world with gameplay that offers something a bit different. Don’t expect heavy action or fast paced gameplay, but if you want to improve your timing and typing skills then this might be for you.
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