Back when I was a kid I took early computer classes in middle school. I’m sure this applies to most of you out there, really. Naturally this included lessons on typing, which eventually blossomed into a (largely useless) 120WPM typing rate. “You type so fast!” is only cute so many times, rest of the world, you can stop now. Anyway, Epistory: Typing Chronicles allows me to put that speed to work! Yes, finally I can feel like I’m good at something…even if that something is video games…and I was already pretty good at those. Welp. Let’s talk about the game.
If you’ve ever played Sega’s classic Typing of the Dead series, you’ve got a bit of an idea of how this is going to work. You control a girl riding around on a giant fox via the E, F, J and I keys; you can use WASD instead if you’d like, but you’ll be better off with the former option. That’s because every so often you’re going to have to start typing like a maniac to fight off monsters and other hazards and you’ll want your hands ready to go
That’s right – as the name might suggest you’re going to solve your problems in Epistory by typing at them. You’re less concerned about your DPS here and instead focused on your WPM. There are various difficulty levels that affect how difficult the typing challenges are, but by default defeating enemies tends to involve rapid-fire sequences of short words while clearing out hazards has you typing out longer words. Battles can become pretty crazy as you not only have to type quickly and accurately but prioritize which foes to target first; a single hit means starting over from the most recent checkpoint. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is essentially a typing tutor, it can be tough!
You’ll also type quite a bit while exploring Epistory’s environments. By stopping near points of interest you can type in related words to change the word slightly and earn points toward character upgrades. Early on, for instance, you’ll type flower names to grow blossoms and various types of rock to clear away rubble. It’s an interesting touch that encourages you to stop and smell the hibiscuses and dahlias, just to name a couple. You can’t address everything in the game immediately, though; you’ll gradually obtain upgrades like new types of magic that allow you to unlock previously inaccessible areas.
Epistory’s pop-up book presentation is fairly unique and certainly memorable, as is the soothing narration that accompanies most of the game. The world builds itself around you in response to your movement and actions. It’s almost reminiscent of Supergiant’s classic Bastion. This one’s easy enough to control and play as well for obvious reasons, though using the EFJI control scheme might take a little practice.
All in all, Epistory: Typing Chronicles is a surprisingly decent experience built around a simple mechanic. If you’re a skilled typist then that aspect of the game won’t give you much trouble, so you can sit back and enjoy the story unfolding before you. If you’re not…well, now’s the time to learn! It’s 2016, after all. There’s not much excuse these days.