The Texorcist is a self-professed bullet-hell game with a unusual surprise: your one and only weapon in the game is your words, typed out as fast possible while dodging long-range attacks. Play as Ray Bibbia, a former priest who now calls himself a private exorcist, paid for expertise and expelling demons from their hosts, while also having the ability to hurt particularly bad human souls with his holy scripture. The Texorcist starts out strong and surprisingly stays that way; the colorful visuals and the accompanying music make a good first impression that never really stops.
The second thing that stands out about The Texorcist is the dialogue we’re immediately exposed to. It’s silly and irreverent, never taking itself too seriously, and is short and sweet. Expect humorous little lines like referring to ‘holy bullets’ as Hollets, and expect most of the puns in the game to be holy-based. Of course, it does have the grammar problems I’ve come to expect from indie games like this, but isn’t that part of the charm?
All actions in the game are initiated by typing the word prompt on the screen; for example, the action to look is actually typing LOOK when the game asks you to. Every time you mess up typing a letter, it sets you back one, and hurts your combo bar, which, yes, you do have. The combo bar seems to only be for racking up points for that elusive high score at the end of the enemy encounter, but it’s neat nonetheless. The UI is at the same time loud and obnoxious as it is unobtrusive and out of the way. Maybe it’s because I have a large monitor to play the game on, but I did not find it distracting from the action.
Each of the enemy encounters threw a different attack style at Ray, which required some frantic dodging. I feel it’s needless to say that a bullet-hell game can make it a little easy to panic, but I’ll say it anyway. During an exorcism of a girl we later find out to be an illegally obtained slave (of course), the demon inhabiting her spews vomit onto the floor that temporarily covers up the words you must type to combat the foul spirit. The girl being a slave seems to be leading into the main story of the game. In the demo, the last fight is against a man with information on the slave ring I assume you must fight next in the full version of the game.
My main problems with The Texorcist are the grammar bugs, the slightly stilted story writing, the slight screen shake that occurs even when not in battle, and… well, the way the third and last enemy broke mid-fight. After two restarts he still didn’t fight properly, breaking the game the first time and then just letting Ray stomp all over him the second time, but still allowing me to finish the demo. I assume this has been fixed in the final release.
Overall, The Texorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia seems to have serious potential. The idea is unique and executed well, and fans of high-energy frenzies will enjoy trying to balance typing with dodging. Since the game’s release it’s been updated to allow customized input control, a highly requested feature. It’s inspired by The Binding of Isaac, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Ikaruga, and the infamous Typing of the Dead, none of which I have personally played, but I’ll be interested to see if players decide whether or not The Texorcist honors them. Strong visuals, music, and ideas make this one worth investigating for yourself.