Typoman: Revised Review

Title: Typoman: Revised

Developer: Brainseed Factory

Publisher: Brainseed Factory

Released For: PC (Windows, MAC OSX)

Reviewing: PC (Windows)

DRM Versions Available      

Released On: Aug 15th, 2016

MSRP: $14.99 Steam Link

Copy Provided By Developer And/Or Publisher

 

Enter the world of Typoman: Revised! Typoman is a ‘cute thing in big scary world’ game where you are assembled as a series of letters that may or may not be foreshadowing what the main character will become. Despite being a cute thing in a big scary world that totally isn’t based in WW2,  you have one special, unique gift: You can assemble a series of hodgepodge letters in order to create words that alter your environment. Will this odd, typographic world hold ink? Let’s find out.

The game starts off as you, the player being nothing more than a letter ‘O’. You quickly assemble the shackles of a body out of other letters and parts, and you’ll travel across the 2D lands solving puzzles, assembling words, and slamming your head on the nearest wall out of frustration for what should be the easiest version of word scramble you’ve ever seen. Mind you, not necessarily in that order.

“But what does one do in the game?” I hear the reader cry.

Whelp, that’s it. You will platform your way with your character while you solve what are almost intentionally the equivalent of word scrambles. Mind you, it’s already about two steps higher than the average indie job, and this ‘revised’ version (something we’ll talk about later) does deserve the title of being revised to at least some degree. The platforming itself is well enough, and the platforming puzzles (which are different than the other puzzles in the game) are decent enough if a bit basic. The game presents itself well and we were surprised by the diversity of puzzles in the game when it came to mixing up the word portions and the platforming portions. The problem isn’t the platforming, but the word scrambles.

Typoman 2016-08-19 00-18-53-79

To diverse, there are two types of word scramble puzzles in the game. One is where the letters are already in front of the player and the player then just has to make the correct word, and then there are the word puzzles through the press machines. These differ from the normal puzzles in which you have near infinite letters at your disposal, and you have zero clue what word you’re supposed to use. Sometimes it’s the same word you’ve used previously, other times it’s words you’ve never used. The difference is while there’s a ramp in word scrambled difficulty, the puzzles themselves only share common traits at random. In short, while there’s a difficulty curve in the game, the puzzle elements that ramp up in difficulty aren’t the types of puzzle elements you truly master, rather succeed at through trial and error. And when the game ‘does’ introduce puzzle elements that could ramp up in difficulty, they almost never bring them back later making them one-off elements of the game. There’s also the problem of certain puzzles being overly specific with word choices. For example, rather than using the word ‘raise’ to open a door that opened a previous door, this time the word was ‘split’, and ‘raise’ or ‘open’ weren’t even options. Figure that one out.

As for the ‘revised’ part of the title, this is the PC port of Typoman, which was originally released on the Wii U in 2015. Most of the revisions seem to come in the form of bug fixing, graphical improvements, and puzzle elements being switched up while (sometimes) making the puzzle more or less difficult.

This makes it out like I hate the game, and I don’t. Truthfully, I find the concept of assembling words to help you solve puzzles intriguing. Similar to ‘Scribblenauts’ on the DS except targeted at people who really like word scrambles. The problem is that while certain elements of the game’s puzzles (arguably the game’s bread and butter) have some cohesion, that cohesion all falls flat towards the third chapter of the game. It’s not bad if you’re really into that concept, but if you’re hoping that this game will bring you into the game idea with open arms and welcome you with a fresh bag of crisps, prepare to be met with open arms to only later be slapped in the face several hundred times. The puzzle elements work, but because what gameplay elements do and what do not carry forward are borderline random, which makes getting ‘better’ at the game to be nearly impossible.

Oh, and the game also has a story or something. The game doesn’t care enough to have it be in anything more than floating quotes, so why should we? It’s not explained, and you miss out on story elements if you miss jumps at certain points in the game. Don’t get me wrong, a story doesn’t have to be crystal clear. However, I draw the line at ‘so murky aliens probably live at the bottom of this puddle’ levels of vagueness. With that being said, the first 30 minutes of the 2-3 hour experience will probably cue you in as to what the whole world is one big analogy for. Specifically, a quote about burning books.

Typoman 2016-08-18 22-22-59-60

Visually, the game looks quite nice if the ‘small cute thing in big scary world’ is your type of visual style. Even then, some of the words entwined with the scenery looked nice and the lighting effects looked quite nice. Particularly, the early stages have some nice detail.

Audio wise, it’s not ‘horrible’ but it’s certainly not incredible by any means. The first few chapters and their music work well enough, but the third chapter falls short. The big problem is the fact that there’s no way to adjust sound at all, and even with the computer at 50% volume, I had to physically take my Sennheiser 598s off because the volume was physically hurting my ears and I shouldn’t have to do that. That being said, the audio isn’t terrible, but one particular music track at the last 20 minutes or so was borderline screeching, and I have a good feeling that such an audio effect was almost entirely due to the audio volume of the game.

Control wise, it plays fine with a controller. The keyboard and mouse controls are rather ‘iffy’ but, the controls were fine with a controller. As for the settings, you have one extremely generic ‘graphics’ slider and that’s it. Nothing else. The game looks fine as-is and ran incredibly well on my system, but that’s not a surprise.

So, despite my gripes with the game, was it fun? Yes. Well, yes in parts I should say. It’s fun in short, chapter-based bursts and if you’re really amazing at word scrambles and you just can’t get enough word searches and word scramble, this game should keep you interested. However, if you thought like myself that this game would be ‘Scribblenauts but with words’, you’re mistaken. Worse yet, with no tutorial and the gripes mentioned previously, this game left me lukewarm at best. Unless you’re really into word scrambles, our conclusion is to wait until this concept is at a deep discount or to try the demo first. In the end, Typoman: Revised is a neat ‘Scribblenauts meets words’ concept, but doesn’t truly deliver on its execution in the way most players would expect.

 

PROS

  • great atmosphere
  • Great art style and looks visually brilliant

MEH

  • Platforming is okay, but floaty at times
  • Music was okay, but the last ‘song’ at the end ruined it for us

CONS

  • The story is lackluster at best
  • The word scramble puzzles are frustrating
  • little to no options in the settings department
  • keyboard and mouse controls are lacking

 

Here’s our video review for the game.

 

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