As a video games journalist, I play hundreds of games each year, from big-budget AAA titles to small indie games with a tiny team of developers. Every so often I will come across a game made by a small independent studio that immediately captures me with its charm and creativity. Typoman is one of those games.
The protagonist of Typoman is a typed-up man composed of the English letters for “hero”. The goal is to venture through a gloomy, Tim Burtonesque world overcoming all kinds of obstacles with the ultimate goal of… oh, I can’t tell you that, you have to play the game to find out.
Typoman is essentially a platformer, but the unique word-play challenges bring it to another level entirely. Throughout the world, you will encounter many different letters that you will have to use to influence your environment. For example, you come to a platform at the base of a cliff, to power it on you need to connect an O to the N to raise the platform and access the next area.
Another element of the game are the enemies. These usually consist of short rear pursuits which usually only last 30 seconds but in that time you are challenged to make every jump with a very little margin for error. Due to the unique gameplay and thus controls this can get frustrating, especially if you know what you have to do but mess up at the precise moment where you have to do it. This again ties into the puzzle element. You can use the environment to your advantage and create a word such as “crush” which will delete your pursuers.
These encounters are spaced out every 10 minutes or so meaning there is a bit of time to relax before the next one. The puzzles will be where the most time will go. It’s not that they are especially difficult but they can be challenging and it will take some time to get used to how the game works. In most cases, they can be figured out in three attempts.
Graphically the game is fairly simple. The background typically depicts silhouetted scenes which add to the mood. I find that this works int he games favour. There is a lot of detail in the foreground elements that having a busier background would take away from the overall design and distract the player from challenges.
The creatures themselves are black silhouettes with no depth. This makes it difficult to indicate exactly what they are. You can sometimes guess their shapes such as spiders or giant snakes. Overall they add a sense of fear to the game which results in an interesting experience.
Typoman reminds me a lot of Limbo, the progression through the two games are similar. The main difference being that in Typoman the focus is centred more on the puzzles rather than the endless running and jumping.
The downside to this game is that it is very short, it could be cleared on the first try in about 2 hours. I started the game again right after I completed it and the challenge was mostly gone. I knew how to solve the puzzles and the surprising elements were less effective. This might not be an issue if the game was replayed maybe 6 months down the line for many games this may be a play-once kind of game.
Typoman doesn’t hesitate to excite. It is filled with great puzzles and challenges and the overall design is quite interesting. If you’re looking for something different from your standard platforms or puzzlers I recommend that you try it out. As I mentioned before, the replay value isn’t great so it’s worth taking this into account considering the price. I personally feel that €12.99 is high considering what you get but I would have no issues paying €10 so if you’re on the fence add it to your wishlist and pick it up in a sale.
With that said you can pick up the game with the soundtrack for €14.23 which is more than worth it. The soundtrack was composed specifically for the game by SonicPicnic who also composed soundtracks for Awesomenauts, Speedrunners and collaborated with Guerrilla Games on the soundtrack for the Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds DLC. It’s on sale for $7 on Band Camp so getting it for an extra €2.23 is a pretty sweet deal.
Formats: PC (reviewed)
Publisher: Brainseed Factory
Developer: Brainseed Factory
Release Date: 15th August 2016
Age Rating: 7