Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt them. Unless, of course, you spell the word "gas" which will cause a toxic poison to release, choking me to death. The world of Typoman: Revised sees words causing the effects of whatever they're used to spell. Do these mechanics make for a clever puzzle platformer, or should you stick to... sticks.
The storytelling in Typoman is rather light. You play as the Hero, named so because his model is created out of the letters H, E, R, and O. His goal is to become Hope by grabbing a P along the way, as doing so will allow him to save the desolate world. Assisting him is Muse, an angelic figure who saves Hero at various points. Opposing him is basically all negative words twisted into horrible monsters, words like Hate, Doom, Fear, Gorge, and of course Evil. It's a simple enough story, one that's told without any spoken dialogue. There's a more serious hidden tale that you can uncover by finding collectible quotation marks for your journal, but I felt like it didn't fit the rest of the game very well.
At the start of the game, Hero has some basic abilities. He can jump, swing from ropes, and push, pull, and lift objects to give him a boost. These simple elements work well, and I had fun swinging around on ropes and making leaps to far platforms. Of course, you'll quickly be introduced to the game's main element, which comes in the form of various letters strewn about the environment.
On their own, there's nothing special about the letters. Push them together and you can spell a word. In the world of Typoman words have power, and spelling words can change the environment, your character, and more. See a door in front of you? Find the letters O, P, E, and N and you can get that door to open. See something attached to a rope above your head? Then you want "cut" or "severed" or some other similar word to get that object down and into your hands.
I really can not understate how brilliant these puzzles can get at times. Seeing a field of gas in front of me left me confused until I finally figured out to drag a P in to turn it to "gasp" so I could breathe. Jumping over a pit with "gorge" inside of it was a problem until I realized I could force it to eat the letter D to turn it into "gorged". Now the beast was full, causing it to pass out and letting me pass without issue. Each time I solved one of these puzzles I really felt good about myself and thought outside of the box in creative ways. As great as this all is, there were a few puzzles that I felt were just a little too out there, ones that I solved by chance rather than because I felt I was doing it correctly.
As you may have guessed, the world of Typoman isn't exactly a safe one. There are a few enemies that are intent on killing Hero, all by different methods. Some are rather direct about this: enemies like Doom and Hate just want to rip Hero apart. Others are rather indirect: Fear injects Hero with poison that can only be cured with words like "brave" and "faith". You don't have a way to fight back against enemies, so instead, you must use words to avoid them or flee from them.
Of all the monsters, however, the most interesting of the bunch is Lie. Lie doesn't attack you directly, nor try to kill Hero in any way. Instead, Lie turns words into the opposite of what they currently spell. If one of them reaches the word "hover" then it'll turn it into "plummet", easily ruining your day. More interesting than that is that you can create Lies of your own with the right letters and often need to do so to advance. Trying to work out how to get the opposite of what you want and then corral a Lie to it was often a fun task.
Visually, Typoman is a nice looking game. The real draw comes from how the words form together to create some of the in-game objects. Watching words twist and disfigure to create monsters was neat, and seeing how something like Doom can be used to create a creature was always a delight. The way words are incorporated into the environment was also neat, albeit the game did have a bit of overuse when it came to the "war-torn desolate landscape" environments. The soundtrack was also a hit, a fitting accompaniment to the events in the game.
I enjoyed my time with Typoman: Revised, even though it was over after only a paltry three hours. I'd love to see this formula improved on, I'd love to see more creative puzzles based on spelling words, and I'd love to revisit the world of Typoman. Hopefully, soon another spellcheck will be needed.
Typoman: Revised was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the developer. The game is also available on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Wii U.
Typoman: Revised is a smart puzzle platformer that takes one fantastic central mechanic and delivers some amazing puzzles with it. I just wish it brought a few more.
- Central Idea is Creative, Well Made
- Many Fantastic Puzzles
- Cool Designs
- Short Length
- Some Iffy Puzzles