Words are powerful: they hurt people’s feelings, they make people laugh, and in Typoman they give your entire game a purpose from start to finish. Picture a desolate, dark war zone where houses are completely destroyed, nooses are hanging from trees and everything is crumbling around you. This war zone is in need of a hero, and in Brainseed Factory’s Typoman, that’s the role you play.
This is a puzzle platformer where the hero you play as is constructed from the letters H, E, R and O. You spend the game working through puzzles to create words from the letters scattered around in the environment around you which then have an effect on where you are. For example: pushing the ‘O’ from the word ‘MOVE’ toward the letter N to create ‘ON’ can turn on a platform, etc.
This game does require a lot of thinking. It’s not as straightforward as basically being spoon fed the answers to the puzzles. You will have everything in the level you need to complete it; there is not much ‘having to go back and collect the letters you need’, but that doesn’t make it easy. If you don’t like games with a lot of dying and rethinking then maybe Typoman is not for you – but it has such intriguing and unique gameplay that you would be a fool for not having a go.
However, singing these praises does not mean that Typoman does not have its faults. Like every game, there are things that bring the quality down. The game can become reasonably tedious after some time, as it’s quite hard in some cases to figure the puzzles out. Sometimes there are so many combinations of words available that it’s nearly impossible to find the correct answer without using a hint and if you’ve been stuck on the same part for a while it is monotonous after a while.
Typoman has a very ‘Limbo’-type feel to it. The graphics, artwork and the sound effects and music are particularly dark and eerie. Everything adds fantastically to the dystopian mysteries that Typoman has to offer. The music, when it is actually playing, is slow and quiet in the background. It doesn’t intrude too much on the game, and is purely there to help set the tone more for each chapter. The music choices are incredibly fitting with each different part of the game; with a level in the mines being accompanied by a murky sounding backing track then a level where your hero is infected with poisonous drugs having slightly more chaotic sounds.
The sound effects themselves add to the ambience of the already creepy setting. Nothing sounds out of place or unnatural and everything seems to have its own unique sound. Metal bridges clink and clank under your little feet and monsters sound as disgusting and scary as they should. It sounds obvious, but the sound effects have such a huge impact on the gameplay itself that when they’re made as brilliantly as this, the overall game is improved greatly.
The graphics and artwork are, in a word, phenomenal. The attention to detail is striking for an indie platformer and the use of letters to create the scene around you makes it all the more interesting to look at. What initially looks like a ladder is actually a stack of the letter H, spikes are capital As and you have a spattering of harsh words like ‘war’ throughout the background to give you some context into what has gone on to set up your adventure. The monsters themselves that you come up against are also formed of letters, and very often need other letters to stop them. So for example, a slug-like monster that will eat you and anything that gets close with the word ‘GORGE’ as part of its body is such a unique and fun idea that, to me, has been constructed fantastically throughout the game.
It is not often that an indie game such as Typoman sparks this much wonder for me. It is a puzzle and platform game, two genres that I personally am never much of a fan of, which gets the player thinking. It creates an interesting story and world and is done in such a different way than games that are already available that it makes it hard to stop playing. So, would I recommend Typoman? Yes, of course. It’s different and interesting and you can’t help falling in love with it from the word go… or in this case, the letters G and O.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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