Typoman: Revised Review

Unless you’ve been watching Wheel of Fortune non-stop for the last 25 years, you’re bound to run into some frustration when playing Typoman: Revised.

This unique puzzle-platformer has a cool atmosphere and plenty or originality, but suffers from a lack of direction in its gameplay that leads to some very frustrating puzzles.

Typoman: Revised is the story of a little letter man trying to make his way through the dark and scary world in order to get back his stolen arm by using the power of words to move forward. The story of Typoman is actually very compelling despite the lack of dialogue. The dark and brooding atmosphere is very reminiscent of Limbo, so it’s almost impossible not to draw comparisons. However, the central theme is very different than it is in Limbo. Typoman: Revised focuses on the power of words, and how words can affect the objects around you. Letters are scattered all over the levels, and the letters can be moved to form words that affect the environment. For example, making the word “cut” will cut any ropes in the immediate area. I can honestly say that I’ve never played anything quite like it; it’s a totally original mechanic.

Unfortunately, originality isn’t enough to keep Typoman on its feet. While Typoman: Revised is technically a puzzle-platformer, actual areas of platforming are few and far between. The total amount of platforming sections could probably be counted on one hand, and they aren’t very challenging or interesting. Instead, Typoman chooses to focus more on its puzzles, which require the player to re-arrange letters to form words that allow them to move forward. I won’t spoil the solutions to the puzzles, but I will say that a lot of the puzzles are not very intuitive.

In other words, there’s almost no direction or clues on what words would be helpful to solve certain puzzles. This would be okay if most of the puzzles consisted of re-arranging one or two four letter words, like the first couple of puzzles that you encounter, but the real frustration sets in when you’re given more than ten letters and are expected to somehow divine what word best fits the situation. It’s even more aggravating since you don’t even have to use all of the letters you are given, making the total number of possible words more than a couple hundred.

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I’m not suggesting, of course, that the game should have to spoon-feed the puzzle’s answers to its players, but as the amount of letters that become available to the player increase, the difficulty of the puzzle increases exponentially. Creating a two or four letter word to douse a fire or power a platform is not very difficult, but as that letter count goes up to six, eight, or even ten, you’ll probably just want to look up the answer and move on to the next puzzle without getting that satisfying “aha!” moment that puzzle games are known for. After you look up the answer to a puzzle so many times, the experience starts to become a bit hollow.

I, myself, encountered several puzzles where the I believed I would never figure out the word that I needed. Had it not been for guides, I might still be stuck on chapter two. It took me less than four hours to beat the game, but most of it was spent looking at a stagnant screen while I tried to figure out what word to use. A good puzzle game can make you feel accomplished when you’ve solved a problem using your intuition, but with Typoman: Revised I often felt that I was just blindly throwing answers at a wall until one stuck.

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While the gameplay doesn’t really take advantage of the word forming concept well, Typoman‘s narrative actually uses it in some super interesting ways. The story of Typoman: Revised is very ambiguous. It’s clear that you’re trying to hunt down your lost arm, but a lot of the backstory as well as the enemies are shrouded in mystery. My favorite part of the game though, is how the evil entities would use words in clever ways as an attempt to give some context without actually explaining what was going on through the use of actual dialogue. It was pretty cool to see letters get re-arranged into malicious words like “hate” and “fear” which would then sequentially transform into evil creatures that would go on to terrorise the player. Combining this with the foreboding atmosphere worked to give the game the sense of dread. It was this cool twist on standard storytelling that actually compelled me to move forward through all of the mediocre puzzles. Collectible quotation marks are also scattered around each chapter that come together to form a mysterious paragraph that may or may not give the story a bit more context.

The concept behind Typoman: Revised is an interesting one, but the game fumbles a lot on its implementation. Using words to solve platforming puzzles is something totally unique, which is why I was so disappointed by the lack of intuitiveness and direction. While the first few puzzles in Typoman: Revised are simple and satisfying, most of the puzzles that follow are frustrating. Despite having cool atmosphere and unique ideas, Typoman: Revised‘s puzzles and platforming leave a lot to be desired.

Typoman: Revised is available on PC.