Words are basically my bread and butter, so you’d think that I’d be right at home with a game that is literally all about words, their meanings, and their effects. Turns out I’m not as smart as I thought I was, though I can safely say I’ve learned a thing or two from Typoman Revised on PS4.
Typoman is, to put it simply, a platformer. However, it’s got a massive twist that no other platformer to date has brought to the table: The power of words. You take on the role of HERO, a little man made up of the letters that spell his name. His legs are made up of the ‘H’ and the rest of his body follows ‘E’, ‘R’, and ‘O’. It’s a nice little touch, I thought, but it’s not just a one-trick novelty. The way you interact with the world as you escape the monsters, also made with letters (DOOM), is all about how you jumble your words. You’ll find yourself needing to pass over a bridge but before you can do so, you need to open the gate. There’s a few letters dotted around in front of you and it’s your job to get them to form a coherent word that relates to your situation. It’s a super neat mechanic that works really, really well, though it’s not without its shortcomings.
There were a few puzzles that had me questioning my right to type words on a daily basis, though at the same time there were puzzles that were laughably easy. Swings and roundabouts, I guess. It all comes together nicely with the very tight platforming gameplay, too. You’ll be running away from some nasty word monster, you’ll come to a bridge that’s made of the word ‘TRUST’ only to have the ‘T’ crumble away, leaving ‘RUST’. The game can be devilishly cunning at times like this, though I never thought I’d died a cheap death; instead I applauded the ingenuity of the developer and made a mental note to take care with the next such obstacle (though I almost always fell for every little trap…).
There’s a story somewhere within Typoman but I’m not entirely sure what it is as it’s presented in such a surreal fashion. The general gist is that you’re the creation of a writer who’s having a hard time getting his words on the page: The old writer’s block. Thankfully, I’ve never had it so bad that I’ve imagined putting a little letter man through hell. Hmm. Maybe I should? My point is that the story is secondary to the gameplay. Normally that’d put me off a game but in the case of Typoman, I found I didn’t really care much for it anyway and was purely down for the gameplay.
The general gameplay is your standard platforming affair: You’ll run from left to right, up and down. You’ll move bits and bobs around to get to where you need to be, and you’ll jump between perilous platforms while praying you don’t fall down onto the sharply drawn scattering of deadly ‘A’ letters below. I died. Lots. The platforming works as well as you could want it to in such a game. That being said, I actually had more fun when I was mucking around with the letters, creating words – some of them a little too blue for publishing, if you know what I mean…
On the technical side of things, I never experienced a single glitch in my seven hours of play. I think that’s possibly a new record? The game works and it works well, but it doesn’t really come as a surprise as the game isn’t pumping out the hyper-realistic graphics of other games. That being said, it still looks really nice in its own way. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of these 2D platformers aping the old days of pixel graphics. Typoman’s clean presentation, smooth gameplay, and chilling soundtrack is just right. On that note, the soundtrack is another highlight. For the most part the game’s sound effects sit in the background but its music always manages to push itself to the foreground to boost the atmosphere. Chilling indeed.
If you’re into puzzle games and platformers, Typoman is a great little brain teaser. Don’t be fooled by its simplistic appearance; this game will mock you if you let it, and at the same time it’ll have you giggling (or groaning) with its clever use of wordplay, puns, and daftly dark humour.
Typoman Revised PS4 Review
Typoman Revised is a breath of fresh, wordy air in a gaming landscape littered with open-worlds and 2D sidescrollers with old-school pixel graphics. The gameplay is tight, the puzzles are intelligent and the design is spot-on. It's a little on the short side for my liking, though trophy hunters and wordsmiths alike will find a reason to go back into HERO's gloomy word of jumbled letters.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed using a PS4 Slim.