+Great narration and story telling
+Mixture of challenges
-Random death slide bug ruined the visuals
-Upon death bug where I would have to force quit the game via task manager.
-Bad "bread crumbs" telling you where to go
It’s not often that I open up my e-mail and see something different. Lately it’s been nothing but shooters and MOBA’s. At one point all of that becomes stale, been there done that. After looking through a few of those e-mails, you take notice that the only difference between them is the artwork. Sure there are mechanics and other minor subtleties but at the end of the day, let’s not play dumb, it’s more of the same.
But this one e-mail was different, I didn’t see a weapon, it wasn’t in first person, and lastly it brought light to its artwork. Maybe it was its color palette or perhaps just the way I felt that day, but I thought to myself, “Damn…I want to play this game.”
Going into it not knowing what to expect, judging only by what the release trailer showed me was interesting. A user in the comments even said “This really tells me nothing about what kind of game it is.” Call me naive but for whatever reason, that comment made me want to play the game even more.
Epistory – Typing Chronicles by Fishing Cactus is an adventure typing game which tells the story of a writer who is lacking inspiration so seeks the help of a muse (you) to write her latest book. As you’re exploring the origami-like world, the story narrated through the writer’s mind, shown on by the writing on the pages, or in this case the world you’re walking around. Stories are also told through the magic you uncover and the puzzles you solve.
Epistory plays like no other game I’ve played before. There is no need for a mouse! Through out the menu there are very few needs to use a mouse because everything is accessible through your keyboard. There are two ways to move around the map, one is your usual favorite; WASD, the other was an odd one but it works in certain situations, EFJI. At first you wonder why the hell does it make sense to navigate with these keys but it works, remember your only weapon in this game is your keyboard. The F and J keys have those bumps meant to position your hands without even looking at the keyboard, and it makes for a quick reset when you get loads of enemies crawling your way.
Speaking of enemies, they are scattered all over the map, to attack you go into typing mode by pressing either Space or Enter and you’ll see that they each have words above them. To kill them, you type the words and that’s it! As you explore the map also you’ll end up noticing random logs and spider webs that you want to clear because this is a clean environment you want to have. As the muse, think of this as the clutter in the mind of the writer, clean it.
An interesting way of progression in Epistory is by the experience you gain. As you’re walking around the empty pages you start to clean up that clutter mentioned above. This gets you experience, eventually you’ll end up finding a portal which requires a certain amount of experience in order to unlock. Once you step in there, more of the pages of your map get uncovered. Meaning there are additional enemies, more clutter and even caves.
In these caves you go through many different experiences. There are puzzles and waves of enemies that you go through. Best of all however, new magical powers! In order to get around, in the main map or in the caves, you run into strange hieroglyphic characters. These characters are hidden until you reach a high enough level and the treasure chest which allows you to get the skill. There are four in total; Spark, Fire, Ice, Wind. Fire lets you burn words off enemies, Let’s say an enemy has 2 words above them, typing the first will be enough to kill them as they’ll be on fire and the second word will eventually fade and kill the enemy. Ice lets you freeze an enemy. Wind causes a gust of wind to go through the enemy you typed the word to and knock them back, as well as any enemies that are near them. Lastly Spark allows you to type a word, and it causes shock damage to other enemies on the field. If there are five enemies, and you spark one, the other four enemies get hurt and lose a word as well. Spark is the most powerful of the skill, but the shock doesn’t happen every time. There is a chance that it wont happen, so you better type fast. The best thing about these skills is that at any time you can hot swap between each just by typing the word prior to typing the word above the enemy. If you’re in a long combat and there is an enemy near you, use wind. Want to cause massive damage to many enemies all around you, spark them. You get the point.
There were a few bugs I encountered that ruined some of the experience of the game. One in particular was one where my wolf would be sliding around as if I died, and came back to life only when in writing/combat mode, but once I left it was back to sliding. The other bug I found was one where I wouldn’t be able to do anything after death. I’d just lay there dead, no matter what I tried I couldn’t do anything but force quit the game and reload it. Despite these issues, I absolutely love this game. Its simple and gets you wondering what is next. The puzzles are fun to figure out and the skills vary enough to make each one feel unique. The story telling reminds me of Bastion. Going by that I guess we can narrow out that I like the story being told to me through discovery and narration, which is odd because that doesn’t work movies at all. Upon the full release of the game a mode I really enjoyed was removed however that doesn’t mean it won’t come back, it just means that it is being polished up. Arena mode which is seen in the video below had a few bugs and I could definitely tell that it needed some work done. Arena mode is a never ending wave of enemies and all you had to do was switch your skills and type as fast as you can to kill enemies and get ranked on the leaderboards. Hopefully they include this within the next few updates for everyone to enjoy.
Epistory was so far from my radar but it was a much needed break from my normal gaming routine.
Now that I’m done writing this review, excuse me while I continue to write the story that is Epistory – Typing Chronicles!