Typoman Review: Fleeting Wordplay

Typoman is a beautiful game. Like a lover, it lures you in with its seductive charm and intriguing features. You’ll find yourself enamored with the promise of engagement, finding it hard to pull away. Sadly, the passion fades quickly, and you’ll find the promises to be hollow, leaving you with nothing but a cheap one night stand.

The striking aesthetic really does sell this game.

Typoman is a story-driven puzzle platformer, drawing inspiration from Limbo and Braid. You play as the Hero, who is literally the word “HERO” spelled out in letters. You are dropped into a world made up almost entirely of letters, and it is your job to make your way through this world forming them into words. For example, Hero can find the letters “ARSIE” scattered across an area and sort them into the word “RAISE”. Doing so will create a bubble around the word, causing any platforms around it to elevate upward if able. The opening presentation and ways in which the game teaches you these mechanics are top tier, truly one of the best tutorials I’ve seen in a long time.

When I first came across this mechanic, my mind raced at the possibilities of what could possibly come next. I immediately thought of Scribblenauts, and how many crazy ways I may be able to solve really creative puzzles! Sadly, for the most part, this never comes to fruition. By the game’s design you are never really given the freedom to go crazy with this mechanic, as you are limited to whatever letters they give you for every specific puzzle. Usually the letters given are enough to spell only the words they are looking for. Sometimes you can make other words, but they will either be ignored by the game, or will give you a one-off joke that doesn’t help you proceed.

Typoman is a very linear game, baring small secret nooks for “quote” collectibles. You are going to find nearly all of your time spent walking to the right, while jumping occasionally and maybe climbing a ladder or swinging on a vine. This is not really a bad thing though, as through its linearity, the game does tell a story, utilizing its beautiful environments, as well as some clever, dialogless cutscenes. The story the game tells is pretty standard, but the way in which it’s presented is what keeps you going. Sadly, I found that the story completely falls apart in the 3rd act, taking everything it worked towards and turning it on its head. What felt as though it should have been a story of overcoming major adversity instead devolved into an annoying and poorly designed boss battle at the end.

The solution is obvious, but getting to it is the trick.

Puzzles in the game are limited to cordoned off sections of the map. The Hero is almost always trapped with a few letters scattered around. They need to find the letters, bring them together and spell out a specific word to move on. There are some exceptions to this formula, and when those exceptions come up you get a glimmer of hope again that the game may be moving in a new, fun direction. Sadly, those glimmers don’t last long, as at its core the game will always be about finding one specific word to moving on to the next one.

Outside of the puzzles, the game occasionally throws challenging platforming sections at you. Some of these are “chases” in which you need to avoid falling too far behind or be forced to do it all again. I found these chases in particular to really drag the game down, as before these points the game is a slow, methodical puzzler. Sure, you have infinite lives, but the chases are meant to blend into the story, forcing a sense of urgency on the player. If the player is having trouble with these sections, then they find themselves replaying them over and over, completely destroying that initial sense of urgency.

Things aren’t always as safe as they look…

Typoman seems like a game with an identity crisis. It’s not quite a platformer, but it’s not quite a puzzler. It’s not quite a narrative game, but it’s not quite an action game. It’s not quite a bad game, but it’s not quite a good game. It has it’s moments, and at times those moments can really shine through, but they are gone in a flash leaving you mourning what could have been. The game can be completed in about 2-3 hours, with a couple of minigames available after the fact. For $12.99 on Steam, the price is right, even if the adventure leaves something to be desired. In retrospect, I think Typoman would have made a great movie. Instead, we have a game that wears out its welcome, if only slightly.

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I am now Lead Game Designer for Field Of Heroes!

I am proud to announce that I will be taking over as lead game designer of Soccer MOBA game, Field of Heroes! This all came about after much discussion with good friend and great game developer Gamieon, who designed the prototype for the game and is now looking to expand it into a full release. The best part is, Gamieon is 100% cool with me streaming the creation of the design document, allowing all of you to join me on this wild ride. I will be working on every single aspect of the design of this game, everything from menu flow, to characters and their skills, to the audio-visual aesthetics of this game. We will be writing a very comprehensive design document for this game, and I will be streaming it live starting this Wednesday (2/15/17) at 8PM ET! Join me as we theory craft and work together to make this game a ton of fun!

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Immersive Movement 0.8.7 Update/Demo

Download Demo Here | Get the Unity Asset Here

What’s New?

  • Unity 5.4 Support
  • Smart Head Decoupling (Look Left/Right/Behind without changing direction)
  • Optional Trackpad Controls (Not Enabled In This Demo)
  • Better climbing methods (Now works on ALL colliders)

Controls:

To move forward, hold down the “Application Button” (Above the Track Pad) on the RIGHT hand Vive Controller. While holding the button, walk in place, and you will move forward in the direction you are moving. The more you move in real life, the faster you will move in VR.

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Immersive Movement 0.8.5 Update/Demo

Download Demo Here | Get the Unity Asset Here

Controls:

To move forward, hold down the “Application Button” (Above the Track Pad) on the RIGHT hand Vive Controller. While holding the button, walk in place, and you will move forward in the direction you are moving. The more you move in real life, the faster you will move in VR.

What’s New?

This version if Immserive Movement is all about the collisions and climbing! Your player can now climb up stairs, crouch under low areas and fall off of heights with the use of gravity. The Player Body system is completely optional, and very customizable. Add it to your VR project today to get started in interacting with your world!

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GM48-19 SUPER STREAM!!!

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What?

It’s that time once again! The 19th GM48 is complete, and the games are ripe for the playing! Now it’s time for me to play through each and every single one of them! I will be playing each of the games created for this game jam, giving them a maximum of 5 minutes each.

When/Where?

The event will take place on my twitch channel starting on Tuesday at 8PM ET. Given the sheer number of games, there’s a good chance this event will spill over into two days, if so it will continue on Wednesday at 8PM ET.

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