Typoman: Revised combines platforming with word scrambling puzzles to achieve some wonderful results which are only brought down by the game’s short length and later repetitive nature.
Typoman: Revised from Brainseed Factory is a slightly altered and indeed revised version of the original Typoman released in 2015. You take on the role of HERO who finds himself in a ruined world permeated with mangled letters and ominous creatures stalking the corridors of what remains. He teams up with a hooded songstress in a pinnacle image of good to defeat the abounding evil. The Limbo inspired tale takes many cues from the game, distilling a similar foreboding mood into this paradigmatic battle between good and evil. This may be a conventional story and premise, but Brainseed Factory is able to put a unique spin on it so that it remains engaging.
At its heart Typoman: Revised is a game about words. No, it isn’t scrabble, but it isn’t far off and will require many of the same skills. The game relies on some very clever manipulation of words and the environment they are found in. The world of Typoman: Revised is primarily made of words, or rather, letters. Letters are found throughout the world but when arranged to create words they spring to life in animated fashion. You are the HERO, comprised of the individual letters, H, E, R, and O just as there are monsters called FEAR and HATE formed of their respective letters.
Typoman: Revised is more of a puzzle game than a platformer. Platforming sections and navigating the world will require well timed jumps but what demands most of your time and attention are the word puzzles. These are clever and will be sure to put a smile on your face when figuring them out. For instance, the word ON is used to power on various devices like platforms as you’d expect. The N will be in the environment, but you push an O found elsewhere, usually from some other word, beside it and voila, the word ON is formed. Before long, things get trickier and you’ll be confronted with an N but no immediate O to compliment it, the challenge then, is isolating the O.
The puzzles do get challenging as you play around with longer words and antonyms. However, a positive for Typoman: Revised is never letting these puzzles get too difficult. A few of them will take some time to puzzle over but they are all perfectly solvable. You just have to slow down and think for a bit. This allows the game’s pace to stay afloat preventing a complete halt which usually gives way to frustration soon enough. However, by the game’s final chapter many of the puzzles become repetitive and soon begin to lose variety as they mostly they become variations of “word scrambler” puzzles, even the final boss was ultimately another variant of this type of puzzle. The ingenuity that Typoman: Revised begins with fades by the end, but not by enough to tarnish the whole of the experience.
The gameplay occurs against an atmospheric backdrop. Typoman: Revised absolutely sells the despair ridden world with a subtle soundtrack from SonicPicnic to match the gloomy visuals. The gentle chime of a bell as bombs drop in the background, destroying buildings, is effective contrast and makes for a memorable image. That subtlety is maintained as dilapidated buildings in the first level give way to thorny halls pricked with sentient needles and eventually to a dystopian factory.
Ironically enough, Typoman: Revised conveys its narrative mainly through images. The characters have no voices and much of the story is told through actions not words. However, there are journal entries to find in the form of short quotes which usually pertain to a recently discovered word. The meaning (if any) of these entries is entirely down to the player to decipher. The player is given complete freedom when it comes to these. You can decide to collect them or completely ignore them. Even if you do collect them, you may choose not to read them. The choice is yours. This approach to narrative in video games is one I greatly appreciate.
A game such as Typoman: Revised is perfect for the Nintendo Switch’s handheld capabilities. This isn’t a game that you’d wish to play on a 4K, 55-inch screen. It is much better suited for handheld devices. Typoman: Revised is a small and humble game that still manages to pack a punch, being able to deliver it more forcefully on a complimentary device such as the Switch.
Typoman: Revised is a simple game with no illusions of grandeur. Brainseed Factory present it as nothing more than what it is and as a result it can shine. I would recommend this to any Switch owner or Limbo fan seeking some deceptively simple gameplay with atmospheric audio-visual design to match it. Unfortunately, the game’s length hampers its strengths. Most players will probably finish this in 3-5 hours, whilst collecting all available journal entries. This fact makes it difficult to recommend at full price, however at a discount, this indie title is a definite pick up.
- Clever word puzzles
- Atmospheric world and soundtrack
- Engaging story with supplementary content
- Well suited to handheld devices
- Short length, between 3-5 hours
- Puzzles get repetitive towards the end