Epistory – Typing Chronicles
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Basing an entire game around typing is not new, but Epistory does it exceptionally well and never feels like an “edutainment” title. It has a vibrant game world to explore, plenty of enemies to kill, and puzzles to solve. Seeing as the entire game is keyboard-driven and requires lots of typing, it is a bit of a niche title, but definitely worth the effort. Unless you absolutely hate typing or still get by using only one finger, Epistory should not be missed.

Gameplay: Expect plenty of typing as you explore, fight enemies, and solve puzzles.

Graphics: The origami-style visuals are unique and look great.

Sound: The game features a great soundtrack, and the narrator does a stellar job as well

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Epistory – Typing Chronicles

Developer: Fishing Cactus | Publisher: Fishing Cactus, Plug In Digital | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Ride into battle with your giant three-tailed fox and vanquish the insectile enemies corrupting your world. This would have been the description of Epistory if it was a pure action game, but there is more to it than that. Firstly, it’s not really an action game, as you use typing skills to overcome challenges. Secondly, it is actually the tale of a writer suffering from a lack of inspiration.

Epistory is based entirely around typing, but don’t worry; it is definitely not one of those edutainment titles that often desperately try to disguise themselves as games. Instead, it is a full-fledged game of exploring, puzzle solving, dungeon crawling, and enemy crushing, all with the power of your trusty keyboard. Your tiny fictional character is the muse of her writer and starts out in an origami-themed world where the story is mostly untold. By exploring the landscape and gathering inspiration for the writer, the story slowly starts to unfold, along with more of the world.

We’ve been playing games since the days when a mouse was an optional accessory for the PC and not a necessity, so the keyboard-driven gameplay felt quite natural. However, thanks to its dynamic difficulty setting, you don’t need to be a typing virtuoso to have fun. Epistory features a large overworld map, but some portions require a minimum experience point threshold to unlock. These experience points are earned by solving puzzles and defeating the enemies roaming about. Occasionally, you’ll also stumble across nests where hordes of enemies come swarming at you from all directions, prompting you to kill them before they can reach your character.

It only takes one hit to kill your character, but she has an advantage over her foes. Each of them has a word displayed above them, and as long as this word is visible, you only need to type it to kill that enemy. This means you can safely take down foes from a distance, but obviously, things become tenser during the sections where multiple foes come at you. The words you must type also become longer and more complicated as the game progresses. As soon as you start typing, a combo bar starts ticking down, and you can keep the combo going by correctly typing the next word before this meter runs down.

In addition to unlocking new areas, experience points give you access to some nice new upgrades. Everything from improving the speed of your fox companion to fast travel and more powerful abilities can be yours, providing you have enough experience points. Speaking of abilities, you will encounter eight different themed dungeons to complete during your travels, and a few of them bestow your character with new skills. These skills are essential for reaching new areas but also come in handy during combat. For example, the “Ice” skill allows you to freeze and cross rivers but also stops enemies in their tracks. On the other hand, the “Spark” skill powers up specific machinery while also zapping multiple flying enemies in combat. The other two skills, “Fire” and “Wind,” are just as handy and can be switched between by simply typing their names. Some enemies are only vulnerable to specific skills, so constantly switching between them adds another layer of strategy to the arena battles.

The Unity engine powers Epistory, but the artists did a stellar job making it look great. Thanks to the origami-themed visuals, you often see the world unfold in front of your eyes, which is a pretty neat effect. The world is divided into different areas, such as forests, deserts, lava, and ice-filled caverns. Thanks to the lush color palette, these all look great despite not being particularly original. Enemies are all of the insect variety, so you’ll face off against plenty of creeping, crawling, scuttling, and flying foes.

We weren’t let down by the audio either, as the soundtrack is great and knows when to kick in and when to quiet down. However, the highlight is the narrator, who does a great job injecting some emotion into the script. She sounds completely natural, which is very nice compared to some other titles where the narration sounds forced or, even worse like it is simply being read off a page. Everything in Epistory is keyboard-controlled, so you can forget about reaching for your mouse. The developers even recommend using the “EFIJ” keys for movement, but thankfully, “WASD” is still available for purists. Typing mode is activated by pressing the space bar, and there is no need to worry about pressing backspace to correct typos. To kill most enemies, you need to type two words correctly, and later on, we found some very unusual ones thrown into the mix. This commitment to the keyboard extends all the way to the menus, where you have to type words to navigate the options instead of simply scrolling through them. While Epistory is not a typing tutor, it will undoubtedly sharpen your skills as you complete it.

The story mode can be completed relatively quickly, but you can also take your time and collect all the hidden fragments found everywhere. These are entirely optional but reveal some rather nice pictures about the game. Outside the story, there is also an Arena mode where you take on a never-ending succession of foes until inevitably succumbing to their onslaught. There are only a couple of arenas, but each has its own leaderboard, so you can take on other players worldwide for bragging rights.

Epistory is a great game, but it will have limited appeal if you are not a fan of typing. Anyone looking for a challenge a little out of the ordinary should have a blast. When the game was first released, it had a couple of bugs and rough edges, but the developers have since released a few patches that smooth things out. These days, it is getting hard to find indie titles that stand out from the pack visually and have the gameplay to match, so Epistory is highly recommended.

System Requirements

  • OS: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 -OR- AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD4850 -OR- GeForce GTX 295 (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics Cards)
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • OS: OS X 10.9
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Tested on a 2010 MacMini
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 -OR- AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD4850 -OR- GeForce GTX 295 (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics Cards)
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Tested on Ubuntu 14.04.

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