Ever felt like becoming a colon and travelling back in time to discover the origins of the written word and the future of typography? Of course you haven’t, because that would be insane. But if you’ve ever wanted to accomplish such a feat while also being in the guise of a platformer, then boy, do I have an oddly specific game for you… You should probably see a therapist.
All the levels are based on fonts that were famous during their respective time period. You roll, jump and rotate around levels constructed out of individual letters, grabbing the letters of the alphabet along the way. Occasionally you’ll find an asterisk which is the main collectable of the game. For each and every one you recover, you obtain a page in a book.
But these pages aren’t just numbers to fill on a checklist, no! If you open the book of the level you’re currently playing, the empty pages get filled in with tantalising, adrenaline-pumping TYPOGRAPHY FACTS, BABY! Yeah, it’s hard to treat a wall of text as a reward. But a little extra to do while going from left to right is appreciated. Usually the asterisks are a little harder to reach than the alphabet breadcrumb trail.
My favourite thing about this game is simply the art from each level to the next. Each time period and font style adds its own distinct flavour and brings with it possibilities for level design via the advancement of technology per chapter. For example, making a mad dash between the blocks of a printing press, or avoiding electricity running along a length of wire as morse code is transmitted through it.
However, as appealing as the visuals are, the control is limp to say the least. Your two dots accelerate, leap and twist with all the responsiveness of a sloth. Actually, a sloth with a pounding headache from a hangover and who was woken up early by an obnoxiously loud alarm clock. Kind of a stick in the mud for a platformer. This can cause fury in what’s supposed to be a relaxing time.
You’re reliant on previous momentum to cover any decent distance, so if you’re still and try to jump forwards you’ll barely move a hair’s breadth. With the later levels becoming more confined, this can cause streaks of deaths where you feel robbed of control. Naturally, this is where the checkpoints become patchy, because of course they do. Why wouldn’t they?
Not to mention the music creates some ear-bleeding loops during the “action” sequences. The music in general is more of a backing track, so for the most part you don’t really notice it. Until it plays the same four seconds of music (which resets on each and every death), over and over for a solid minute during its (usually somewhat buggy) scripted set pieces.
So, it’ll probably confuse you that I’d still recommend this. Considering it’s a platformer that doesn’t know how to platform properly. But there’s something so strangely alluring about its bizarre novelty. It’s not going to blow your mind, but it’ll hold your attention. I picked it up as a “free” game on PS4, but it’s fairly cheap normally at £4. You could probably get it for a handful of coins during a sale if you’re interested.
Yeeeeah, there’s a secret level for collecting all the hidden “&” symbols in the game. It’s a surprisingly difficult level, I’ll give it that. But I’d say your “reward” for being a completionist is essentially a level strictly comprising of all the elements that work against the game. Stick comic sans, memes and irritating sound effects on top and it starts to feel more like a punishment.
It’s a weird one, alright.