Image copyright Brainseed Factory 2016
Indie games are great, aren’t they? You get all the fun of playing a video game with a much lower price tag. Anything most of the Triple-A games can do, an indie developer can do…or at least try to do. Sure, they don’t always make the mark. But when they do, there’s a special kind of greatness and sense of achievement that you can relish in.
The same can be said when you spell really difficult and complex words. Everyone remembers having to spell a certain word in their English lessons at school, right? Well, that same sense of accomplishment pulses through your veins, and you enjoy your triumphs.
I know that was a very obscure jump, but there is a reason for the connection, and it just so happens to be this week’s Wright Wrecommendation; Typoman: Revised.
Typoman takes players on a voyage of discovery and adventure, as you take control of the HERO – a hero made up of the letters “H”, “E”, “R”, “O”.
In fact, every living creature is made up of letters that represent their characteristics. The chief antagonist GARMR (named after the Norse mythological dog who is associated with Hel and Ragnarök, of death and destruction) features a body composed of twisted versions of the letters “G”, “A”, “R”, and “M”. There’s also DOOM, GREED, and LIE, several key enemies who affect HERO in different ways whilst playing on the characteristics of their names.
And that is where Typoman differs from 99% of the games out there. Whilst your regular action adventure platform game will feature quite linear gameplay – move the character from A to B to access C – Typoman makes you work with A and B to make a new word altogether.
Sure, that sounds like a kid’s game, but when you see the dystopic world that HERO and the other characters in Typoman live in, you soon realise this isn’t Mario!
First and foremost, there’s the dark and brooding landscape.
The world is constantly dark and foreboding – owing to the fact that all HOPE is lost, and WAR is a constant threat. HERO is the only being that’s inherently good left in the world and holds the power to change the world for the best.
The other element of this dystopia is that you can’t actually fight off any of the enemies. Sure, you can use the environment to defeat them, but you can’t properly defend yourself from the likes of GREED or LIE. You can only avoid and evade them.
But you do defeat them. You’re the HERO, after all.
Your only friend throughout the whole game, MUSE, leads you through the early parts of the game, but before long even She succumbs to the malevolent world that they inhabit.
Depressing story aside, Typoman makes you work through the darkness.
HERO has the power to craft words out of the world around him. In one region, there’s a torrential downfall of RAIN above a lake that you can’t swim through or climb over. However, there are “D”s on the bottom of vines that you can swing from. By timing your swings, you can get rid of all of that RAIN using the nearby D.
The world can be a vicious and cruel place for HERO, but he has the power to change it.
And it’s that sense of accomplishment and achievement that makes Typoman such a good game. It’s easy to pick up, and rewarding to master. There’s plenty of lateral thinking involved at times, with some of the word-based puzzles not being as straight-forward as you’d imagine they would be.
Brainseed Factory has made a wonderful little game, and, despite its incredible short run-time, there’s plenty in there to make it worthwhile.
Plus, it’s nice to be able to support an indie developer, for when the big guys drop the ball – and they do – it’s up to the little guys to make us remember what we love most about video games.
It’s a small review, but then again, it’s a small game. I could make some clever word-play there, but I’ll leave that to the Typoman!
Nerd Rating; 8/10 – a simple game to pick up and play, and short enough to not take up all of your day, but a good little game all the same. Though he doesn’t feature any visible emotions, you can’t help but feel connected to HERO as he traverses the world around him. It probably won’t win any Game of the Year awards, but it doesn’t need to. It’s another one of those games that exist to be played, not win awards. Though that being said, it has picked up no less than eight awards. So, yeah, not bad for a game you could feasibly complete in 3 hours.
If you like this, try; Limbo, Toby: The Secret Mine.