Epistory Typing Chronicles Early Release Impression

We recently shared with you about a new game in development right now, and is currently available in early release called Epistory Typing Chronicles. We were able to get our hands on the game and hear is what we found.

When ever I heard the term typing game I would always picture a boring game that was created and felt like a tool that a teacher would give you in grade school to teach you how to type. I never imagined a game utilizing typing in such a way that Epistory has accomplished.

About/Storyline

Epistory is a typing adventure game that immerses you in an atmospheric action/adventure game where you play a girl riding a giant fox who clears out an insectile corruption from an origami world. As you progress and explore this world, the story continues and the mysteries of the magic power of the words are revealed. The game is a narratively driven adventure that features an aesthetic inspired by origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, and takes place in a world that literally unfolds as the player progresses.

What I really enjoy is the way that the story is shared. You don’t have a narrator speaking this girls story. No, as you moving along the board and get further on the map, the text appears on the floor of the map saying various storyline information. As you pass certain areas the text reveals certain memories or emotions that she is going through as she reflects on what she sees around her.

Gameplay/Controls

All actions in Epistory, from combat to menu navigation, are controlled by typing with the keyboard. If you aren’t used to using a keyboard for control a characters movements and direction in a video game then you may have a slight learning curve to adjust to. I myself am one of those players, I have always been a console player and it wasn’t until recently that I began to explore and appreciate the world of steam and playing games on a computer. You see in Epistory the recommended movement keys are the E,F, J and I keys, respectively moving you north, west, south and east. So it took me quite a bit of time to feel comfortable using nothing but a keyboard to play a game. The typing part was fine, I actually really enjoy that part, it was the moving part that I have and still do struggle with, but I am getting better.

Here is how you will use typing to advance through the game. Players will cast spells by typing in specific words to mine minerals, open treasure chests and defeat enemies. Once you see an enemy approaching you will click the space bar and above the enemies head will be a word, that is the word you must type in order for the enemy to be attacked. Also there are various objects and environmental objects that required to be mined or removed in order to move to another area.

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As you play, defeating more creatures and mining different areas you also gain experience points. You can track where you are in gaining your experience using the progress bar on the bottom of the screen. As you experiences goes up you earn different upgrades. In the menu screen is where you are able to apply these upgrades. To start out you have three main areas you can upgrade, each has it’s own purpose so you will need to choose wisely. To upgrade, again you do so by typing the name of the upgrade you want to use.

As you progress through the game you will discover areas and enemies that contain letter characters in a language that you may not be able to interpret yet. This means you have to gain a new attribute or enhancement in order to unlock that language. Once you do it converts the text you see to the natural language it should be so you can progress and defeat enemies again. These new enhancements also add strengths and powers to your fox. Fire is the first one you come across and having this power greatly increases your chances in defeating certain larger targets.

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As you continue through the game, you will find dungeons that have spells on them that will not only provide you with new ways to approach combat, but will also enable you to venture through previously barricaded areas of the game. Different challenges will arise also including words needing to be typed in a specific order and at certain speeds, expanding the mechanics of the typing genre.

Graphics/Sounds

I am a sucker for great game sound tracks and sound effects. Honestly the gameplay and story could be pretty nasty but if the game sounds good, I will still enjoy my experience. I know sounds corny … I don’t care. I give this confession because honestly it was the sound effects that really sold me on wanting to play the game, everything else has just fallen into place after that. The sounds of crinkling paper as you move along, the origami sound effects when you open up a new area … it is extremely well done. And the background tracks are just as relaxing when needed but also increase in intensity and energy when fighting a swarm of enemies.

As for graphics, just as the sounds, the artiest has done an amazing job in maintaining an origami feel. The game begins in a world that is completely white — a blank slate of canvas that is the author’s mind. As the writer begins the story, the vivid fantasy world takes shape, and the paper world just unfolds in front of your eyes revealing this amazing landscape. The environment has clear shape and definition so you know what makes up the trees, rocks, shrubbery, and even animals around you, but still have a unique paper feel and sense to them, a true example of Japanese origami.

Replayability

As Epistory Typing Chronicles story mode stands right now I don’t see much for replay value in the game. However there is some incentive to going back through the game and aiming for a higher score. Like any game, as you play through it the first time you are still in discover mode and approach the game with an open canvas not expecting what is going to happen and how you will respond to the various game controls. Once you are more comfortable I can see going back through the game a second time with a new mindset and experience, and being able to out do your previous performance.
On the other hand, the game also offers an alternate mode that allows you to take on swarms of enemies and perfect your typing skills. This sort of endless/survival mode is a great addition and is where you can really see the glory of this games mechanics. I am one that enjoys a relaxing game experience over the intense fighting for your life game, but I am rare and if the main story of the game introduces anything like this level of difficulty and variety, it should make a huge impact for those looking for more a challenge.
The Arena introduces new enemies, and the mix of hulking, long-word brutes and skittering, single-letter critters introduces a little more strategy than you would expect to encounter in this sort of typing game: do you finish hammering out the second half of PSEUDOINSTRUCTION to beat the big guy, or do you give up on that word and just hit Q to deal with the tiny flying thing that’s just launched itself at you from the edge of the screen? – Damon L Wakes

Recommendation

This is a great game, with a great storyline so far. The way it plays out is very inspiring and entertaining. I truly had an enjoyable time playing the little bit of the game that is available so far. If you are comfortable with the Early Release experience then I highly recommend this game title. As with most early release environments the developers are eagerly involved with the discussions and forums regarding the game and seeking your feedback and input regarding the game and your experience so they can find ways to improve the game experience.
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