|Genre||Publisher||Release date||Release O.S||Available on|
It’s around this time of year that we’re used to seeing the huge AAA efforts from big publishers making the rounds just in time for Christmas and 2015 is no different. Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, Halo and Uncharted are dominating our TVs, web browsers and friend’s playlists the world over and while a small handful have delivered that big budget enjoyment we’ve come to expect from such trusted franchises, I have to admit they can feel a little too familiar. This is why I love discovering titles from smaller developers that one might easily miss in the hustle and bustle of the blockbuster battles at retail.
Typoman is one such game – an exclusive for the Wii U (a rarity in itself these days), that attempts to blend the simplicity of a 2D platformer with the mystery of a puzzler. And while it certainly manages to offer a fairly unique experience, does it manage to blend the two together successfully?
What helps Typoman stand out from other titles of the same genre is its injection of wordplay into its puzzles. Not only are you using the environment to overcome obstacles but you’re doing so through the use of physical letters in order to spell words. Take this example from early on in the game for instance that sees you reach an elevator without any power and a letter “N” next to it. Rolling a circle before the letter you soon realise it’s in fact a letter “O” that together forms the word “ON”. You guessed it, this then powers the elevator and you can continue on your way. This is just a simple example but you get the general idea.
Puzzles soon before far more complicated but unfortunately the difficulty doesn’t curve in a progressive way. One moment I found myself coming up with solutions in mere seconds, the next struggling for far too long. While the game does offer a very handy and well implemented hint system, it’s still a shame I found myself relying on it far too often at random points in the game. Overall though the quality of puzzles are brilliant and even when I got frustrated, the actual end solutions felt satisfying enough to keep me going.
So while Typoman excels as a puzzler adventure, sadly he slumps somewhat when it comes to being a good platformer. The movement of Hero can feel a little off at times and the trial and error nature of certain sections that might see you plummeting down the same pit over and over or killed by a deadly enemy can prove frustrating. This is particularly true after a lengthy sequence of carrying a letter across the landscape. In fact carrying letters is a time consuming process that feels like it could have been sped up especially considering how often you’ll find yourself doing it throughout your adventure. The game does have a habit of throwing generous checkpoints your way though, an often appreciated gesture especially following tough puzzles.
The game is dripping in atmosphere, everything from the abrupt no-nonsense start to the game that simply sees a truck pulling up and HERO’s head (or a letter “O”) roll out the back to the environment you explore to the captivating sombre soundtrack delivered by SonicPicnic.
While I’m never one to fly through a puzzle game with ease, Typoman felt relatively short at around four to five hours. By the very nature of these games, it’s understandable there would be no extras too but if you’re looking for something that will last this certainly won’t be it. As an experience that can be completed in a handful of sittings though, Typoman is great.
Typoman is an atmospheric, puzzling little adventure that’s a delight while it lasts. The platforming could use a little fine tuning, but if you’re looking for an interesting title that’ll test even the best of minds then Typoman certainly delivers.
- Strong atmosphere
- Puzzles are satisfying and tough
- Useful hint system
- Random difficulty curve
- Platforming sections feel under-cooked
- Game over fairly quickly