Typoman is a game which as far as the player can see, achieves exactly what it intended. With easy character control and a great visual concept, it entices the player to continue with the journey of this typographical game.
As far as this games’s story goes you are led to believe that this character lives in a world made of letterforms and typography. Simply put, an environment made from words and letters usually in a particular font. The game starts as the character is born by creating itself out of discarded letters. The four letters this character is made from are the letters H E R O. This sets the scene for our game as everything that can be interacted with either as a visual guide, warning or manipulated object uses the letters of that object’s name to describe what it is. This written clue is an ingenious way of communicating with the player as no spoken word is given throughout the game. The majority of objects are described for what they are, some however like a ladder uses the shapes of the letter H to be a climbable object.
Throughout the game this concept continues with monsters and enemies also made out of letterforms such as the enemy DOOM who’s legs are made of the letter M. You will interact with levers and other objects but most interestingly will be able to pick up letters in the environment to be able to spell words that will control the events of the environment. For example finding the letter O and rolling it over to the letter N will create ON and so shall turn on a motor somewhere on the map or open a door.
Letters can be rearranged into any order, and there are achievements for creating as many anagrams as you can with these found letters. Letters can’t always be carried from one environment to another, however I did find one part near the start of the game where a letter was stopping me compete a timed section as it was in the way of the exit and so I would constantly die. Luckily after a few deaths the letter reset and I was freed. The game could have stopped me from bringing the letter into the environment but it did not. There are two ways to rearrange letters in this game; either manually by throwing them around or by using the UI version of this which lets you switch them with ease. Not using this helpful tool will result in an achievement and as far as I can see would be the only reason not to use this tool.
Another way the game speaks to the player is by the use of collectible quotes. These quotes tell the story so far and can be read altogether across two pages in a book at the main menu. As you can imagine there is also an achievement for finding these. These quotes however are written in a typeface less fitting with the rest of the game than anything else. Yes, they are written as if taken from a book, but the typeface chosen feels miss matched, almost as if these fonts are just written in a default typeface and pt size the game engine spits out. Maybe the graphic designer in me is being picky, but this of all things stood out to me as a design choice that could be easily changed without any other drastic repercussions.
The game is very linear and although there are several paths to take, these will always have you turn around when there is a dead-end. Normally the wrong path will lead to a collectible.
There is one game mode, story mode. This game can be easily compared to the style of Limbo or Inside in that sense. The art style is also very similar to Limbo too although isn’t as contrasting. There are more grey areas but characters are normally black block graphical shapes, also similar to Limbo.
Controls on this game are excellent. This is unsurprisingly due to its lack of them. You will find yourself most often moving your character, jumping, picking up and throwing objects. Unlike my earlier reviewed game iO, this game has simple to use controls which won’t frustrate. The character moves as it should and you don’t find yourself clipping parts of the environment where there should be something there or isn’t something there.
Graphically this game isn’t a game for the high quality next-gen 3D nerds inside all of us. This instead is a game which knows its art style and has stuck to it. The animations which couple this art style also compliment the style itself. Letterforms feel like they move as they would and have a sense of shape and weight. This is something which could have been a missed thought by some game developers.
Audio isn’t a noticeable factor of this game. But this said, the audio that is there is well placed and shouldn’t be undervalued. The audio such as that in this game is used in the right place. It isn’t too loud or too quiet, it’s there in the places you would expect and to create the atmosphere that is required at the time. Ambient and well fitting is how I would describe the audio.
For a game which is quite small in file size, load times take slightly longer than expected. But load times are far and few between and are not enough time to make a cup of tea in. Again similar load times to other graphical side scroll games, but nowhere near the load times of a large open world game like Dying Light, which as you would expect would be a longer wait.
Achievements are mainly tied to collecting quotes, completing levels and finding as many word combinations as possible. Keeping this in mind will help you collect as many as you can.
To summarise, Typoman is a great game with a fantastic art style and gameplay mechanic which is refreshing to see. Even if its influences are clearly taken from games like Limbo, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I came into Typoman expecting a typographical environmental version of Limbo, and that’s exactly what I got. A great game premise, but may not be one which warrants any sort of sequel. This game isn’t a game to return to after completion purely for the lack of content to see that would be new second time around. A well-built game which can be completed in a few hours.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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