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Typoman (Wii U) Review

By Adam Riley 04.12.2015 3

Review for Typoman on Wii U

There were many superb titles on offer at the Nindies section of EGX this year, with Shin'en showing off its long awaited FAST Racing Neo, Two Tribes offering up the intense shooting action of RIVE, and the hotly anticipated SteamWorld Dig successor, SteamWorld Heist, from those talented chaps at Image & Form. Another one that caught Cubed3's eye was Typoman, a quirky little puzzle-platform title that seemed to meld Scrabble with tough-as-nails run-and-jump antics. Thoroughly intrigued by the demo, it was with great enthusiasm that the final release on Wii U eShop was delved into. That lingering question of whether it could stretch out the smart gameplay without becoming tiresome just needed to be answered…and answered it has been.

Being freed from the reins of controlling publishers does not always result in innovation pouring forth. There are times where it simply leads to the misguided ventures of seemingly bedroom coders eager to cash in on uninformed punters. On the flipside, smart minds of developers can be restricted too much by budgets and market research shenanigans, so having the chance to let loose can be wondrous, Typoman being one specific example.

Brainseed Factory is behind the wheel of this dark and oft-disturbing romp that seems to focus on a struggle between good and evil throughout, complete with dark and dingy locales that are reminiscent of "the end is nigh" imagery, and a soundtrack from Dutch outfit, SonicPicnic, that will haunt gamers for a long time post-credits. Everything is lined up from the start as looking like a classy piece of atmospheric entertainment. Looks can sometimes be deceiving…but, thankfully, not here. Typoman excels in all areas.

Screenshot for Typoman on Wii U

The world surrounding Typoman is, more often than not, made up of various letters, sometimes forming actual words ('RAIN' for a dark cloud in the sky, unleashing its load; 'GRAB' for vines dangling down that must be clutched and swung from; and so on), whilst at others merely using their form to create parts of the scenery (numerous 'H' letters stacked, one atop the other, to form a ladder, for instance). Typoman has the ability to pick up and throw many letters around, as well as use a Scrambler on the GamePad to type words when a bunch are close together and too jumbled up to extract each letter individually. Why is this beneficial, though? Well, this is the key puzzle element of the adventure. Changing 'NO' to 'ON' to power up areas is one such example, as is dragging away the 'OOD' from 'GOOD' found earlier in a stage and then rearranging before pushing the final result up to a letter 'R' wedged in a wall to form a 'DOOR' to open a pathway, or even launching a 'P' over to the end of 'GAS,' thus allowing for a much needed breath of fresh air in poisonous regions.


 
SonicPicnic's excellent OST needs to be heard in its entirety.

There are so many intelligent word manipulation challenges at play, some of which are not against the clock, but others that must be conjured up when under acute duress - trying to form the word 'CLOSE' to bridge a gap, all the while having an evil being in hot pursuit, or finding the correct word to stop walls closing in on the lead character, squeezing the life out of him.

On top of the wonderful wordplay, there are the equally fantastic platform elements, with pinpoint accurate jumps and quick reflexes the order of the day - deaths are never the game's fault, simply that of those in control! Flawed only by the odd occasion where a word required for progress may not be entirely obvious (queue the hint system, which basically gives the answer away immediately), and the three-chapter length (although given how tough it can be, a good four or five hours can be squeezed out of this), Typoman is a breath of fresh air, with intelligently-crafted brainteasers and tight platform-esque controls, making for a deliciously unique take on the genre.

Screenshot for Typoman on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Coming to terms with the concept of Typoman is surprisingly easy, but managing to switch the brain from simple platform mode, and all the instincts that go with the sometimes twitch-like gameplay, to conundrum solving in a split second, is tougher than it may sound. Brainseed Factory has pieced together a fantastically atmospheric ride, filled to the brim with engaging word-jumble brainteasers and supremely tight run-and-jump mechanics. Once that old grey matter kicks into gear, planning solutions ahead of time, so as to be able to focus more on the extremely accurate leaps and bounds required, will become second nature. There may well be the odd head-scratching moment, but the satisfaction of making eventual progress is pure elation. Similarly, whilst there are only three short chapters included in all, the numerous retries necessary during some of the more dastardly sections lengthens the adventure, and that sense of deep-seated pleasure when overcoming particular obstacles is remarkably gratifying. Enthralling, from start to finish.

Developer

Brainseed Factory

Publisher

Headup

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

Good review Adam - I was really intrigued by the concept after seeing it, I believe, in a Nintendo Direct. Good atmosphere and idea!  

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Thanks Smilie Definitely one of my highlights of this year! This and FAST: Racing Neo (review coming soon!).

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Our member of the week

I've been wanting to try this out since it was announced the concept is absolutely fabulous Smilie !

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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