The idea behind Typoman intrigued me, so I jumped at the chance to be able to give the revised edition a go. This two dimensional puzzle platformer places you in a crumbling world needing a hero. Using letters and spelling, you take on challenges and alter your environment. The art itself was alluring, immersing you in a post-apocalyptic, lonely world.
I began my journey in Typoman as a tiny little “O”. But it wasn’t long till I acquired an “E” for my torso, an “H” for my legs, and lastly a backwards “R” for my arm, turning me into a true HERO. This is what I ended up really liking in the game. There’s lots of clever little bits and pieces that played with letters and words outside of the word puzzles themselves. For example, the letters DOOM was summoned and then morphed into nightmarish monsters that wanted to kill me. Another example is when you fall to death on spikes. The spikes are made of clusters of capital A’s, which was basically what I said aloud when I fell to my death.
I also had fun accidentally spelling out words. I spelled out “AIR” at one point, and while it didn’t help me solve the puzzle, I saw a light breeze blow against my character. I also spelled out “RIP” and was quite surprised when my character killed itself. My favorite one had to be the one that was shown in the trailer: if you spell the word “HAT”, your character gets to wear a little tophat!
In terms of the gameplay, I’m sad to say that it was lackluster. Early in the game, I also dropped a letter, that eventually morphed into part of a wall and then disappeared completely. I ended up killing myself to restart that bit of the puzzle again. The controls in general felt clunky, and I found myself getting increasingly annoyed at the game when I kept missing vines that I was supposed to grab onto despite common sense telling me I should’ve made the jumps. There were also times when I had to put down letters in a specific spot in the game, but found it very hard to properly set it down resulting in me dying. This is especially frustrating because the revised edition of the game was supposed to have changed parts of the character’s control to make it better.
The puzzles throughout the game felt fair. A few times, I had to randomly try a variety of words that could be spelled from my word bank till I eventually found one that worked, but it was mostly alright. However, there was a problem was consistency. What I learned from one puzzle would differ on another. For example, I was used to opening gates by spelling the words “ON”, but at one point it didn’t work. Turns out I’d need to spell “DOWN” instead although I just opened another gate with “ON”. It was a little confusing.
Along the way in Typoman, you have the chance to go through secret areas to collect glowing quotation marks. Upon collecting one, a sentence will pop up. It soon becomes evident that most of the story is told in this way. These quotes also have capitalized letters that give you hints for upcoming puzzles, but I didn’t quite catch onto that till later. However, I must say that I didn’t quite get the story even after reading all the quotes. It isn’t until later that I learned that this game was a tribute to ‘The Hero With A Pen. A homage to authors especially in times of war or oppression” from Bilal Chbib, the founder of the game.
While that is a righteous and commendable goal, the game just wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. It’s also a shame that it’s so short. I beat the entire game in one sitting and it took me 3.4 hours. It’s a little pricey (at $14.99) for its playtime. I might not have collected all of the achievements, but I doubt I’ll be going through the whole thing again. Overall, I still love the unique gameplay that drives the game, but the execution fell short.
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