IndieCade is home to some truly original gaming efforts and premises. And while there was a fire station filled with the great indie finalists of this year, one of the most original concepts I encountered at the show was at the Nintendo booth. Developer Brainseed Factory was on-hand to show off its upcoming Wii U platformer, Typoman, and show off how wordplay can help feed a classic genre.
Typoman begins with a simple minimalistic hero. In fact, his body is composed of the word "Hero" arranged into a stick figure. The idea for the demo is to move across a desolate land, solving word-based puzzles. These are incredibly clever takes on words and their meanings. In fact, one of the first tasks is for the player to push together the letters "O" and "N" to activate a rising platform.
The rest of the demo plays out in similarly clever fashion. There's a crushing hammer-type object that's composed of the word "TRAP," which requires players to carefully approach the object with a letter "S." This isn't as easy as it looks, since the trap is activated by proximity. Carelessly approaching it will cause it to crush the "S" and the player. So the "S" must be pushed forward and quickly pulled back in time for "TRAP" to become "STRAP," which morphs the trap into a harmless object.
All of the demo's other puzzles operated on the same principle, including a clever swinging sequence that involved swinging across a rope with a letter "D" at the end and moving it close to a torrential "RAIN" cloud, which would then spell "DRAIN" and allow for safe passage. There's also a sequence that sees players control a letter printer with the Wii U GamePad. In this instance, about a dozen letters were available and the idea was to come up with a word that would take care of the "CRUSH" trap up ahead. This writer used the word "STOP" to halt the trap entirely, though there are also other possible solutions, like spelling out "SLOW" to slow it down. It'll be interesting to see if other puzzles in Typoman will allow the same kind of freedom and multiple solutions.
It'll be interesting to see where Brainseed Factory takes Typoman, but it's showing potential for immense creativity. Look for more on Typoman prior to its 2016 release on Wii U.