“Typoman” is a small title from the equally small developer, Brainseed Factory, that was originally released on Aug. 15, 2016 for PC. The game plays as a hybrid of platforming and puzzle solving, with the latter involving the eponymous hero’s ability to create words that consequently have actual effects on the environment. However, despite the game’s intriguing gimmick, “Typoman” is a bit rough around the edges.
The story is simple, as the player is the no-named hero in a world ravished by evil and darkness. It is his or her job to get past a litany of obstacles and find some way of saving the world. There is not much dialogue in the game — not that it is the type to need any — and instead uses its environments as a way of stimulating a basic good versus evil narrative rather than any exposition as to why the world is the way it is.
The game mostly consists of dark, silhouetted landscapes that create a profound sense of loneliness. It reminded me of the feeling that the 2009 animated film “9” had evoked of a broken, desolate world in need of hope.
When it comes to this world and its various intricacies, I found that the moody backdrop was quite effective. “Typoman” is far from an action-packed experience, which could be a turn off for some gamers. The environments may feel a bit depressing and repetitive.
Thankfully, the gameplay is where “Typoman” is at its best. With the ability to create words out of the letters picked up in the area, the game showcases creativity. The words can be as simple as the word “on” in order to activate a switch. Other times, however, creating words to get past a situation require thinking outside of the box, like one sequence in which a player creates words with positive connotations like “joy” and “happy” in order to create a shielding light that protects him or her from enemies.
While “Typoman” does indeed work best when testing you on the utility of words and their many possibilities, this can also be frustrating at times. The game does not have a fleshed-out tutorial aside from the basic button commands, so it is hard to get a grasp on the extent to which your powers will activate. This means that getting past certain puzzles may feel like a guessing game rather than true problem solving and creative wordplay. There were times where the character died from some clunky platforming sections that felt unfair rather than challenging.
At times, “Typoman” feels like a truly unique, fully realized experience that uses its clever gimmick of wordplay brilliantly. It is a game best suited for those seeking a more linear and relaxed activity similar to an everyday crossword puzzle. There are flaws with its inconsistent level design — both in terms of its actual look and gameplay — but there is plenty of pleasure to be derived from its basic premise.
As long as a player has the patience and mindset for it, “Typoman” is a worthwhile investment that will keep her or him engaged.