Life or death spelling bee.
Artistic puzzle platforming games are kind of a dime a dozen nowadays. They have really been in the indie scene for a good while now, and I honestly have grown tired of them. While I will still give any game a shot, I decided to go into Typoman with a better outlook. While it does hit every cue that a game in this kind of genre has, Typoman has a rather unique mechanic that I haven’t seen used before.
Typoman is a puzzle platformer where players will navigate a bleak world with a little stick figure character made up of letters that cleverly spell “Hero.” Get used to seeing letters everywhere because the game revolves around environments made up of letters of all shapes and sizes as well as a spelling mechanic that falls into the puzzle aspects of the game.
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d pay: $10
Players must find letters in the environment, move them around by pushing, pulling, or throwing them, and spell out different words that will affect the environment. So, spelling “On” will turn a machine on that will raise and lower a platform, things like that. When getting used to that, the players will then begin to find more complex puzzles that can take some time to figure out. Luckily, there is a very good hint system that has two tiers. The first time it is used, it’s just a hint, usually a phrase of some sort, the second time it’s used, the actual word needed will appear in the phrase. This helped out immensely in the later puzzles. I’m not shy when it comes to admitting defeat.
The platforming is where to get takes a bit of a turn for me. There were times where the jumping was just too off and I ended up getting the timing wrong or there were spots where both accuracy and a time limit resulted in me dying and having to retry. Granted, the checkpoints are well done and never punishing, but I really wish the controls and platforming were better, especially when I was asked to do something quickly.
When not wanting to physically pick up and move the letters around on certain parts, I could actually look down at my gamepad and if the letters were close enough to each other, use the gamepad to move the letters around to spell out the word. This was helpful because the character can’t actually move when lifting a letter so to get a word out faster, I could just use the gamepad and move on.
While it uses a very interesting mechanic, I feel that Typoman relies far too much on trial and error gameplay. Not with the actual words, but with the platfroming and even some of the unknown traps scattered throughout the world. The checkpoints do help out, but after about the third or fourth try, I was ready to just get the pattern down and go to the next word puzzle. Those were what really made the game shine.
I did really enjoy the look of it all. Sure, we’ve all seen the black, white, and gray 2D backgrounds before, but for some reason, it really works here. That mixed with the ambient music really sets the tone of the overall experience.
Typoman is another interesting little game on the Wii U. It has its moments of brilliance, and I have to commend the game for its hint system and checkpoints. While a bit on the difficult side, there was still some decent fun to be had. I only wish the platforming and controls were better implemented. This is one to at least look out for on the Wii U. Just keep in mind, there is some trial and error that has to be played through to get to the good bits.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.