Typoman is a moody indie side-scrolling platformer from Brainseed Factory and Wales Interactive Ltd. Originally released for Wii U in 2015, the Nintendo Switch welcomed this title to its indie lineup in February 2018, and Typoman couldn’t feel more at home than it does on Switch. While the game has a unique spelling puzzle mechanic and achieves a consistently moody atmosphere, Typoman never feels much more compelling than a child’s spelling game, and it fails to deliver a powerful gaming experience.
In Typoman, you play as Hero, a stick figure whose body is adorably composed of the letters in his name. Hero is introduced to the bleakly nightmarish world that seems devoid of all hope—that is, until the spelling mechanics come into play. The game’s puzzles are spelling-focused and involve connecting words and letters. Often, the goal is to make a depressing word into a more positive one, like turning “rust” into “trust.” Other times, you’ll create a word that can perform an action. For instance, spelling “platform” lifts a platform, while spelling “open” unlocks a door. Often, a needed word is 90% complete, and the last few letters are sitting somewhere nearby.
The spelling mechanic is entertaining enough, and it evolves as you progress through the game, but it never feels fully fleshed out. Typoman’s central theme is supposed to be about the power of words, but the game fails to deliver this message in a meaningful way. As I explored the world, I couldn’t help but think the spelling mechanic was half-baked, and I think a major reason is because I was stuck repeatedly performing the spelling equivalent of placing a square peg in a square hole, which feels like a missed opportunity to say something important about language.
While Typoman has a few great elements—like a layered, moody atmosphere paired with reasonable controls—the thematic story and shallow puzzle mechanics fall short of what makes a game truly special. Typoman lasted about three and a half hours for me, and while I didn’t have a bad time with it, I was certainly happy it wasn’t any longer. It’s not a terrible game, and I can easily recommend it for children or newcomers to the genre. But as someone who’s played my fair share of games in this vein, I know Typoman doesn’t have what it takes to stand out, especially in the Switch’s crowded indie market.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Wales Interactive Ltd.
Developer – Brainseed Factory
Price – $12.99
Genre – Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer
Size – 1 GB