Typoman Updated Preview
Typoman was a surprise hit at last year’s gamescom, and by far one of my personal favourite games of the convention. It’s a basic platformer in most ways, but the ingenious use of words to form puzzles and scenery is something completely unique. It’s well worth checking out my initial preview of the game to get a general idea for the game. For this preview, however, we’ve got more of a check-in to see how Typoman is coming along. The short version: very nicely. One big piece of news aside, the game is clearly in very good shape, and after another small gameplay session at this year’s gamescom I’m happy to report that this should be every bit the revolutionary platformer I was hoping it would be.
That big piece of news, however, could cause some problems. I was surprised to be handed a Wii U gamepad to play the game this time round, a rather clunky change after last year’s much more comfortable Xbox controller. Still, I figured I’ll be free to use my normal controller once the game releases. Well, no, that’s the big news - Typoman will now be released exclusively on Wii U. Of course, I’m happy that Brainseed Factory’s clever little title has been deservedly recognised by such a big publisher (with the game going under Nintendo’s Nindies@Home program) but, to put it bluntly, I don’t have a Wii U.
For those that actually own a Wii U, this is sure to be great news. There certainly aren’t enough inventive platformers on the console, with the likes of Ori and the Blind Forest and Limbo missing from the line-up (although it looks as though Limbo will finally be coming soon). Yet there’s no point ignoring the simple fact that most gamers own either a PS4, Xbox One or PC. I was obviously a little saddened to hear that Typoman would be a Wii U exclusive, not just because I won’t be able to play it, but because I feel as though the game deserves more. Exclusivity to the least popular console available is sure to limit the attention Typoman will get, and from I’ve seen it deserves a lot. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong; I can only hope so.
The exclusivity deal aside, the game is certainly shaping up to be a fantastic little platformer. The brilliant word-play puzzles that impressed me in my first play through were back in force this time round. My favourite example by far being a series of platforms with ‘crush’ written on them, that the Hero has to run past before they squash him. Of course, that’s not exactly exciting or original, but as the platform moved up the ‘c’ in crush would be left behind, encouraging the player to ‘rush’; past the trap. It’s a very small change from the standard fare, but even this far less interactive example was enough to put a smile on my face. The level was filled with other puzzles in which the word-play was far more important, but that one stuck out to me due to its wonderful simplicity.
I also got to try my hand at a much more difficult level that involved the Hero teleporting to different parts of the level in an effort to bring a collection of words together. It was good fun, although it didn’t use the word-play system quite as effectively as the simpler puzzles. Still, balancing the game out with running/jumping and more considered and layered puzzles is a great way to go, and something that should easily carry players through the 4-5 hours play time. In this regard, Typoman is looking very Limbo; with a short play time but one that’s filled with constantly evolving ideas.
Typoman is due out towards the end of this year, and will obviously be exclusive to Wii U. Here’s to hoping that ends up being a timed exclusive...