As another puzzle game code landed in my inbox, I couldn’t help but wonder what this one had in store for me. Typoman: Revised is a word based puzzle/platform game from Brainseed Factory, a small German indie game developer.
What first struck me was the visual and atmospheric similarity to the game Limbo, a tiny silhouetted protagonist in a much larger world. The protagonist in this game comes in the form of someone known simply as “Hero”, who you control as he traverses through a 2D dystopian world. The world is full of monsters that come in many forms, spiders, bandit-like creatures and worms, all of which you must defeat or sneak past to get to the end of the chapter. Every object, apart from the ground and some platforms, is made out of letters, and “Hero” gets his name because, as you may have guessed, he consists of the letters “H”, “E”, “R” and “O”.
While “Hero” may be small, his powers are immense. “Hero” can make words out of letters he finds and can use those words to alter his surroundings by carrying different letters and adding them to other words. This can also make the game more challenging, as sometimes, you just don’t know what word to make and where the letters come from. While some words can benefit “Hero”, some can do the opposite. Darker words, such as ‘FEAR’, and ‘DOOM’ can summon the monsters that set out to stop “Hero”, while more positive words, such as ‘LOVE’ and ‘LIFE’ can protect you. Each word that alters surroundings creates a ranged area of effect, meaning you have to position words carefully in order to move what you want.
The graphics, considering it is a 2D game, are brilliant. Each chapter has a specific backdrop that fits the mood of each part of the story. At various points in the game, fire and explosions of colour really show off the visual quality while the HUD is also very minimalistic, which almost adds to the simplicity of the game.
I mentioned story, which is a very interesting part of the game. As far as I, the player, was concerned, there was very little of an overall story. ‘Why was the world over-ridden by monsters?’ ‘Where did the monsters come from?’ Having pointed this out, it works. The lack of a real story really adds to the atmosphere of the game, the ‘not-knowing’ of what’s going on. If you find yourself wanting to dig more into the story, throughout the game there are hidden collectibles in the form of speech marks, that reveal parts of a passage that you can view at the end.
Mood and atmosphere play the biggest part in this game, with the dark, dystopian setting. I found that, at times, the monsters did actually look quite scary – sounds pretty wimpish for a 2D game, but once again, it really works. The music of the game fits unbelievably well, and SonicPicnic have done an amazing job on the soundtrack. The music combined with the occasional jump-scare meant the ambiance was spot on.
The game was rather on the short side, with a prologue and only three chapters, with each chapter lasting about half an hour each, depending on your speed. If I didn’t follow a walk through, it would’ve took a lot longer, because honestly, some of the puzzles were very difficult. There are two mini-games that are unlocked after completing the story which add to the length of the game, one where you must use words and their opposites to make up a target word, and Word Hunter, where you have to spell as many words in a minute as you can, with longer words scoring more points.
The controls were very simple, however timing and efficiency had to be perfect. At various parts in the story, there are chase sequences in which you must make words quickly in order to stay alive. Sometimes I found myself falling down gaps in the floor after missing a ledge or sliding off another letter.
It’s worth experimenting with words as well. At one point, I noticed I could make the word ‘GRASS’ and presumed, like other words, it would simply add it to the dictionary-like list I’d already compiled, however, from the bottom of each letter grew some grass. Similarly, forming the word ‘RAVE’ caused a strobe light to appear above.
The ending was brilliant, visually impressive and rounded off what little of a story we had. I would definitely recommend Typoman: Revised to puzzle lovers and fans of Limbo.
Typoman: Revised is available on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam.