Typoman: Revised Review
LIMBO meets Scrabble in this countdown-conundrum style puzzle platformer. You play as nothing more than a cluster of letters scrambled together to spell out the word HERO. Being that of a hero, you venture your way through a dark and deadly world, set up like a Tim Burton take on a post-apocalyptic Sesame Street…
If you have ever played LIMBO before, you will probably get your feet under the table quite comfortably with this one. The hero plods along at a pace similar to the juvenile from the black and white nightmare (if a little more confident) and the shadows stalk you from the background with a similar prowl. However, it was these very similarities that did pique my interest in the first place. That, along with its rather interesting approach to the game’s puzzle element.
You see, the HERO in Typoman: Revised cannot defend himself in any traditional manner. Instead, he possesses a gift of employing words to conjure an environmental reaction to aid his path. This can come in handy in such a grim world of typography. Loose letters scattered about can be rearranged to influence an outcome. For example, to enter a door may require you to rearrange the available letters to form the word “OPEN.” If such letters are not available, then you will have to find an alternative word in order to execute a similar result.
If you are on the ball with this kind of thing, then it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. The actions that you decipher barely ever hit over six letters, and I only really got stumped on a handful of puzzles despite being pretty awful at Countdown. There are external influences on finding the right word that does change the formula up a bit, like a certain critter that will morph a word into its antonym – giving you a new variety of letters to play with.
Despite the game being able to understand new words that you may conjure together, there’s only really one true answer to any puzzle in Typoman: Revised. This makes it feel more like your figuring out a password rather than utilising a special ability, so don’t expect a Scribblenauts-style modifier to your outcome. Certain words can change some of the aesthetics of the game, only not nearly enough as I would have liked to have seen.
The platform element is simple, straightforward stuff that would probably work better if there was more of it. While it’s a good way to pad the space between each puzzle, the little amount of it makes the feature a little underused. Both elements do come together at the end though, as you face a huge boss that’s fuelling the darkness into the land. It’s a rather generic encounter in all honesty, but it is a nice touch to end the adventure with.
Despite being quite a wordy game so to speak, the plot, on the whole, is quite abstract in context. There are moments of narrative hidden behind quotation marks that you can look for. These tend to be brief with nothing more than a sentence of information to feed you with. They do all add up to a bigger picture though, for your journal will record the sentence to fit in with an overall script.
The game’s art direction implements a dark and brooding atmosphere with its bleak softness and sepia tone. I loved how your character is constructed together fittingly with the word “HERO” and how the enemies twist and turn into hellish creatures based on their negative title. The way contraptions also have their phrase is a nice touch too, like how a crush mechanism will remove the “C” as it rises, giving you a clear hint on how to avoid it. The sound fits well with the dystopian environment as well, and while there is not a lot of background music as such when it does play out, its haunting urgency hits the tone nicely.
However, the campaign in Typoman: Revised is a very brief experience lasting only a few hours at most. You do have two rather entertaining mini-games that you can jump into, with one being based on how fast you can spit out words under a minute while the other challenges you to make a certain word by transforming it into its antonym. They’re a fun little addition to have, but I doubt that many will be entertained by it for very long. The problem with the game’s length more than anything, is that if it was any longer it would begin to feel like it’s outstayed its welcome.
Typoman: Revised is a good little game to kill a few hours with. It would have been nice to see more use of the platforming component and a bit more variety in how the puzzles are handled. Its atmosphere works well within its motive, if not a little too close to LIMBO. I did have fun with it all in all though, along with one or two real head-scratching moments. Just don’t expect it to last that long, or even really care when it does finally come to a close.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Wales Interactive