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 61

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Split Brain


First up tonight we’ll be checking out Split Brain, a top down shooter inspired by a combination of Hotline Miami and John Wick. This game features a dual wielding system and promises a fast paced action experience. We’ll be seeing how well the dual wielding system controls and if it can create for a frantic experience like its inspirations.

Blobby

Next up we’ll be checking out Blobby, a puzzle platformer based around a constant bouncing mechanic. Physics based platformers are always a tricky thing to get right, which is why so many Little Big Planet levels end up failing. It’s important to get your controls as tight as possible while making sure your level design can work correctly around the physics themselves.

MiniRL



Lastly we’ll be checking out MiniRL, a procedurally-generated 2D roguelike with puzzle elements. It sets out to have accessible gameplay so that anyone can pick up and play it. This game is created by a web developer of 15 years who’s seeking a career change. We’ll be testing the level of accessability this game has as first time players with no instruction manual.

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 60

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Axel the Penguin


First up tonight we’ll be checking out a passion project that Ceresoft has been working on for quite a while now. This Sega Master System stylized action platformer is a throwback to the old Mascot platformers of the past. It’s the story of a little penguin by the name of Axel (who’d have guessed), on a quest to save his beloved penguin girlfriend! He’s have to use all of his wit to platform around these puzzling levels. I’ve been keeping a close eye on this one since Ceresoft joined my Discord a while back. We’ve been discussing the game and I’m very exicted to finally check out a demo of it!

Skyhook


Next up we’ll be taking our 2nd look at a person favorite of mine, Skyhook! We checked this game out in 2015, and since then the developer has been HARD at work getting this game to its completion stage. Qazi now believes the game is ready for its full release on Steam, and I’m super excited to see how far its come since our last playthrough! Since the last time I checked it out, melee has been added to the game per my suggestion, and a full Single Player mode has been added as well. We’ll be checking out the Single Player specifically to see what’s been done to improve the experience!

Dragon Game


Our last game of the night is from newcomer BulletProof Outlaws! This game, currently by the name of Dragon Game is a Ludum Dare entry that has been modified to be a full game experience. This game is still in SUPER ULTRA PROTOTYPE MODE!!!! So we’ll be doing alot of things with this one including but not limited to Game Name Brainstorming! It’s gonna be a good time.

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 49

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Indie Insights #49

A Quest of Life


Our first game of the night is A Quest of Life! This game is currently made using RPG Maker, however, the developer is planning on porting it over to Unity under the new name “Fidem”. With that in mind, we will be disregarding the current state of the graphics and gameplay but instead be focusing on the story the game is attempting to tell. This game has an ambitious feature list including sidequests and non-linear exploration, which is something not frequently found in RPG Maker. We’ll be discussing the difficulties of porting a game from RPG Maker to Unity, so I’ll be calling on Unity viewers to help out with any knowledge they may have on the subject!

Dungeons and Damsels


Our next game will be a special one. This game is being created by Dave, also known as 2DGamedev on Twitch. He’s been working on this game with his community for quite a while now, and while it still has a long way to go I’m happy to help him and his community along with it! Currently the game is more or less in a prototype stage and has gone through a number of iterations. Right now it is a roguelite platformer with procedual generated levels and items. I have enjoyed watching this game progress over time and am excited to see where it is right now. Let’s all give our input into the current state of the game.

Skyling: Garden Defense


Finally we’ll be checking out Skyling: Garden Defense, a huge mashup of classic popular games such as Pacman, Q*Bert and Crystal Castles. It can be tricky to find a good balance between old vs new, and while the mechanics are still very similar to the listed games, they’re made more interesting through visual effects and hopefully sound. We’ll be drawing comparisons to what made those games great and whether or not this one holds up to their legacy. After all, if games aren’t evolving, then what’s the point in playing them compared to the originals?

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 48

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Indie Insights #48

Quyrium


First up for the night we have a hardcore bullet hell shoot em up by the name Quyrium. This shooter promises an exillerating shumup experience through flashy colors, mesmerizing bullet patterns and a thrilling electronic soundtrack. It also features a unique cooldown-based item system, which is something I’m not familiar with when it comes to shmups. My primary study while checking out this game will be to see if it can handle precise enough movements and if it offers tough enough bullet patterns. Hopefully the patterns ramp up at a decent pace instead of starting hard and staying hard. A steady and fair difficulty ramp is the cornerstone of any good game, so let’s see how this one’s is so far.

Onion Force


After we check out Quyrium, we’ll be taking a hard left turn when it comes to genres as we check out Onion Force by Queen Bee Games. This game is made in Game Maker Studio with a team of only two people. By the developer’s definition, this is an Action Adventure Tower Defense hybrid, something that I’ve never actually seen before! These are genres I’ve never seen an action adventure take on a Tower Defense game before, but the concept of the player being active during waves in TD is an interesting one indeed. I recall back when I used to play Sanctum, a FPS Tower Defense game, very much enjoying the experience, but I also found it hard to balance for. You have to make sure that your towers are powerful enough to do a majority of the work, but they have to leave enough for you to do as the player, or else you’ll find yourself sitting on the sidelines and watching in boredom. In many cases, players end up acting as a “last line of defense” in these types of games, stopping anything big from getting through while the little guys are handeled by the towers. We’re going to look very closely at what sort of towers this game offers, and how well they are balanced to work with the player, as opposed to doing all the work for the player.

Bogarash


Our final game of the night will be a top down Action RPG by the name of Bogarash. This game is currently in its Beta stage and features a top down perspective utilizing prerendered 2D sprites made to look 3D, much like the old school Diablo style games. The game is centered around exploring the land of the medieval Balkans as you seek to defeat a ruthless bolyar and defend the throne. From what I’ve seen so far of this game, it is working to create a realistic setting within medieval times with no magic, elves, orcs or anything. Ironically, this strikes me as a very unique way to go with this game, despite its lack of distinguishing uniqueness. It has been a long time since I’ve played a medieval set game that didn’t at least have some form of magic or dragons along side it. I’m curious to see how deep into realism this game goes, and am excited by the prospect to see how it handles things such as combat. We’ll be studying this game’s atmosphere and its use (or lack of use) of mechanics to enforce that atmosphere.

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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