This article was written by Laurent Backman for Big Shiny Robot. You can reach her at email@example.com
Epistory: Typing Chronicles – Fishing Cactus – PC/Mac – 03.30.16 – $14.99
If “Bastion” jumped “Typing of the Dead” in a dark alley and then rifled through its pockets for gameplay elements, the end result would be “Epistory: Typing Chronicles.” There’s a glut of indie games on Steam with distinct visual styles and experimental gameplay, and in the case of “Epistory,” the experiment pays off.
“Epistory’s” narrative is told by an omniscient narrator overseeing her muse, which takes the form of a girl riding a many-tailed red fox. After a meteor strikes near her home, a strange corruption worms its way into the land, and the narrator describes the journey her muse takes to restore balance. Everything in the game is styled in an origami papercraft fashion that contributes to “Epistory’s” wonderful atmosphere. New areas are folded into existence from multitudes of paper squares, gates and barriers curl up on themselves when you break through them, and enemies burst into whirling scraps of confetti.
Gameplay is broken up into puzzle solving, exploration, and combat. Pressing spacebar locks you into place and brings up words over interactable objects that you’ll then have to type to bring about the desired effect. Over the course of the game you’ll unlock different elemental attributes for your typing that expand your combat applications and also let you access new areas of the overworld. There are a number of collectible image fragments hidden within each dungeon that tell the narrator’s story, but apart from extra experience, there’s not much reason to go for 100%.
Combat is tough, but satisfying. Enemies often take several words to bring down, and near the end of combat you’ll usually encounter massive foes that require words like “verisimilitude” and “stenographer” in quick succession to avoid losing. If a single enemy reaches your character, you’ll be brought back to the last checkpoint, which can result in some frustration, but keeps a good sense of tension and forces you to think on your feet and use the best element for a given situation.
Sound design is unobtrusive, and music isn’t particularly memorable, but there are a few moments of brilliance, like when you have to swipe your fingers across a row of keys to slice open a barrier, or hit the same four keys in sequence several times to unfurl a bridge.
A full playthrough of “Epistory” will only take a handful of hours, but it’s a fairly good value for its price While its typing mechanic may be off-putting to some, “Epistory: Typing Chronicles” is worth a look if you’re a fan of unique titles that manage to back up visual charm with solid gameplay.