We've taken a look at a very clever new indie title that impressed us in Cologne.
Word puns are a dime a dozen in gaming, but we've never seen a game that relies almost entirely on word puns as a mechanic. Objects you interact with in Typoman are letters that make up words - a platform is simply made up of the seven letters found in said word. Our hero is made up of four letters, starting as an o that subsequently picks up legs head and arms in the shape of e, r and h. At times puzzles revolve around removing letters to rob the object of its function while at other times you add a letter to complete the word or change it.
One example of this was a puddle of water that had a cloud over it with the word 'rain'. Our hero is made up of ink and as such his letters dissolve in water so you need to find a way to clear the puddle. By completing a platform section you could swing the letter d in front of rain and he puddle would drain. In a way Typoman is Limbo meets Scrabble as it combines the foundation of a physics based puzzle platformer with a clever use of word puzzles. The silly nature of the puns and that fact that you can think of solutions for each puzzle from two directions - both by thinking of the words and how you can change them, and by thinking of the physical action that needs to happen - means that the risk of getting stuck decreases and on some occasions you will feel twice rewarded for clearing an obstacle.
The Limbo comparison is not just down to the fact that it's a physics based puzzle platformer, but the black and white artstyle also reminds us of the Danish indie hit. However, the unique and concept of Typoman certainly lends it more than enough personality to avoid being confused with anything else.
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There is something immediately appealing about Typoman, something playful that clashes with serious tone of the visuals and the harsh nature of the fonts. This contrast is at the heart of the experience.
In Cologne we were given a brief (under 10 minutes) glimpse of the start of Typoman. Clearly it's got lots of potential, and we're certainly curious to see what kind of variation you can build with this brand of puzzles. One of the great things about Limbo was that it seldom repeated puzzles and kept up the variation throughout - remains to be seen if Typoman can maintain the same level of clever and inventive puzzles for the entirety of the experience.
Typoman is being developed by Brainseed Factory and published by German Headup Games a fairly new player on the international scene that is looking to publish interesting indie projects in much the same way as say Devolver Digital or Ripstone. Typoman is heading to a multitude of platforms including new-gen consoles. Time to get serious about word puns...