Typoman is 2D puzzle platformer that tells the story of a character made only out of letters (H, E, R, and O to be exact) as he travels across lands filled with hostile monsters and dangerous traps. Designed with almost everything being shadows (maybe possibly ink) except for a nicely drawn background, the protagonist's power is to shift letters found in the world into things that will aid him in his traversing. Be warned though, some words will not be very helpful, and instead could mean instant death. The game, developed and published by Brainseed Factory, holds so much potential with its unique and creative concepts, but does it fulfill any expectations?
You can purchase the game from the PlayStation Store for $12.99
A game built around the concept of letters and words may sound a bit weird, and understandably so. How could that possibly work out and still be fun? Well, the scattered letters you'll randomly come across will be used in multiple ways, but primarily for the puzzle aspect. Let's say you were making your way across the map and then learn you need to scale up the side of a large cliff. Luckily for you there's a platform (reading underneath "PLATFORM") that will take you up if you can find a way to turn it on. Rolling a nearby "O" up to the also nearby "N" will do just that. These type of simple interactions fill the entire journey in unique ways.
The more complex puzzles will be unscrambling key words in a very non-platformer way. Occasionally you'll need to take a random bunch of letters and form a key word out of them in order to continue progressing. This can be done in two ways: by picking up the letters individually and throwing them around, or by using a word pad to do it quicker. It'll vary from person to person, but this is where I felt the game became too slowed down at times. The platforming itself is very nice though, jumping from one crumbling piece of stone to the next, or making your way through tight passageways as you're being chased by the giant monster that resembles Alien.
Other monstrosities you'll face will be very similar in design but with their own twists (checkout the picture below). Traps will be your other deathly encounters if not handled with care. Tricky things like the word "PART" that, upon closer examination, springs around to crush you and spell "TRAP." Other traps will simply come with the terrain (spike falls, crumbling ruins, bursting fires, etc.). All in total the game stretches the best it can but only manages to make itself 3 chapters long, and only a coupe hours to complete.
Sound and Graphics
Major positives of the game fall within the way it presents the world to you. It's vague, mysterious, dark, and a little nerve rattling at times. What made this world so dependent on letters and words? Better yet, why do words have so much power? Regardless, the world is filled with them and in some truly creative ways, like ladders that are stacks of "H" characters. I didn't come across any technical issues throughout my play through as everything performed as it should. The soundtrack could have made a bigger impact but it did more than enough setting the tone and atmosphere of the cold and dangerous world. Sound effects on the other hand were very good. The first time I heard that alien monster's scream I knew I was in trouble. The stomping of his feet and the crashing of his body against the wall as he tried to break his way through the obstacle to chase me down had me nervous.
Typoman is a game for a specific gamer (not to say it's exclusive in any way); it's platform mechanics are well polished, although a little bland with just running, jumping, and moving letters. Where it missed the mark was with the deep emphasis on making words in order to progress. I'm not sure what a better design could have been exactly, but something quicker and less distracting from the true gameplay would have made it feel more heart pounding and immersive. Some will play the game for the word puzzles, others will play for platforming, and some will play for both. The emphasis is on puzzles, but you can't have one without the other. As mentioned earlier, the game is pretty short with only 3 chapters, but gameplay is extended with two bonus mini games that unlock upon completion.
+ Great atmosphere and overall concept
– Really short (a couple hours)
+ Badass character
– Slows down during some word puzzles
+ Bonus mini-games