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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Indie Insights: Episode 66

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Desperate Times


We’re kicking off the night with Desperate Times, a game by long time submitter Yokcos! This is a game that started its life as a Ludum Dare 35 entry which the developer has decided to expand on. The gimmic is its a shmup in which you pilot a ship which can only reload by transforming into another ship. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this mechanic to see if it makes for compelling, or frustrating gameplay.

The Pedestrian


After that we’ll be checking out The Pedestrian, a visual gorgeous puzzle platformer with an interesting mechnic. In this game you are a clipart character that moves across the world through different signs. You can manipulate the sign’s positions, entry and exit points to get your character across the real world. I’m really excited about this game because it’s got a really distinct and creative look to it. I’m very curious to see if this game uses its aesthetic to create powerful mechanics!

Blades of the Righteous


Lastly we’ll be concluding the night with Blades of the Righteous, a turn based tactical game where you micromanage the building of your army and defend your kingdom against oncoming hordes of enemies. This game promises random encounters ensuring that each game is different from the last. We’ll be taking a close look at the interface of this game, as well as how these encounters work together to create a unique experience and gameplay feel.

Where/When?


The stream will take place on all the following channels at 8PM EST.
Twitch (Primary Chat Takes Place Here)
YouTube
Hitbox

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Indie Insights: Episode 65

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Spark


First up we’ll be checking out Spark, a game space shooter with both a puzzle and survival gameplay mode. I find it curious that these two modes are seperate, it seems like puzzle sidescrolling space shooters are in short supply, so why not combine them into a hybrid? We’ll be looking closely at both modes and possibly talking about integrating them together, instead of keeping them seperate.

Shooting Game Thing


After that we’re taking a look at a space shooter by Bulletproof Outlaws! Last time we checked out a game by Bulletproof Outlaws it was Dragon Game, a game where you controlled a giant dragon who burned down buildings and ate allll the villages. Much like last time, this time we have a highly stylized Ludum Dare entry that the developer is looking into expanding on. In this one we play as a side scrolling spaceship which can transform into a giant mech, altering its hitbox and the way it performs in battle. We’ll be discussing ways to improve this game for a potential full release. Come to the show with enemy and mechanic ideas, and we’ll chat them out with the developer!

The Seeker

Finally we’ll be checking out The Seeker, a new title from Intercido etertainment. Previous we checked out Demented, which is now available on Steam Early Access. From the minimal description I’ve gotten of this game, it seems to be some sort of a Pac-man stealth game. We’ll be checking this game carefully and watching for any pitfalls similar to what we found when we checked Demented. Hope you’ll join us!

Where/When?


The stream will take place on all the following channels at 8PM EST.
Twitch (Primary Chat Takes Place Here)
YouTube
Hitbox

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Indie Insights: Episode 64

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Dire Vengeance


First up tonight we’re checking out the latest version of Dire Vengance by Magic Shot Games. Some of you may remember the last time we checked out this game a while back. Well now we’re back to see what sort of improvements have been made to this game since the last time. From what I can see, there’s a ton of new levels that have been added this time around. Not to mention a bunch of new beasties with different mechanics and attacks. There was a bit of difficulty when it came to the punishment of death, so we’ll be keeping an eye on player fairness this time around.

Sector Six


Next up tonight we’ve got Sector Six, a game where you create your own custom ship to take on the world! The concept of building your own ship is a neat one I’ve never seen in this genere, but it’s a concept I’ve LOVED in other genres. It’s such a great idea to give the player the power to shape their game however THEY wish to, and I’m excited to see how this plays out in a SHUMUP environment. We’ll be seeing how easy to use the customizer is, as well as how well balanced the gameplay is for different ship types.

Demons of Scheherazade

Lastly we’ll be checking out another game from C-Dawg, creator of Zodiac: Story of the Guardian, which we checked out a while back. This is another game created in Zelda Classic, a game engine developed especially to allow players to create original Zelda games of their own. With some VERY heavy modifications, you can do speical things to this engine however, including create an action RPG, as we are seeing here! I’m excited to see just how far the scripting can go with this engine, as it’s something I used to toy with myself a long time ago. Let’s see how this engine holds up to current game making technology!

Where/When?


The stream will take place on all the following channels at 8PM EST.
Twitch (Primary Chat Takes Place Here)
YouTube
Hitbox

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Indie Insights: Episode 63

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A Game of Changes



First up tonight we’ll be checking out A Game of Changes, a zen-like puzzle game inspired by the ancient chinese oracle I. Ching. This is probably the first game I’ve ever checked out which was inspired by philisophical writings. I find zen games fascienating in this day and age, when you consider most games exist to fill an action role in most people’s lives. It’s like listening to smooth Jazz while the rest of the world loves Metallica. I enjoy seeing games like this because they fit a niche that is rarely touched on, niche of non-violent and non-stressful gameplay that can be a great gateway game for many new gamers. I look forward to seeing how accessable this game is.

Bevontule


After that we’ll be checking out Bevontule, a 3D Turn Based tactical RPG. Much of this game is based around the concept of positioning and timing of your attacks, but I’m not sure what “timing” has to do with turn based gameplay. As I always enter these games blind, I’ll be finding out along with you guys, so let’s check it out together!

Barricade


We cap off our night by checking out the fully up to date version of Barricade! You may recall that I checked this game out not too long ago, but apperently I was sent an older version of the game. This version promises to have MANY new features to play around with, many changes and some more music to rock out too. I can’t wait to see the changes in this game!

Where/When?


The stream will take place on all the following channels at 8PM EST.
Twitch (Primary Chat Takes Place Here)
YouTube
Hitbox

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