Among of several new releases from independent studio Arte comes Type:Rider, a deep dive into the wonderful world of words on the Nintendo Switch. This one isn’t your normal game and won’t appeal to everyone. However, if you have a thing for typography and like to learn about fonts and things like that, there is something to appreciate here.
Type:Rider is certainly an interesting and surprisingly educational game. It doesn’t take long to master the controls or understand the goal of the game. A short introductory tutorial introduces simple controls (move, jump, solve puzzles) along with the central theme of the game—learning the history of written language and typography. Play control in the Switch version is smooth and intuitive. However, I found a few points where moving the two black dots that you control becomes frustrating and difficult to maneuver. It’s not a game-breaker, but it does add to the challenge in a somewhat negative way.
The graphics are large, detailed, and sharp against subdued backgrounds. The graphics impact the appearance of the fonts and text themselves. For example, in the “Garamond” level the player rolls and jumps through gigantic letters placed in puzzling ways. Around the letters are bits and pieces of a cave-like environment mixed with relics of history such as the printing press. As the player navigates through these hazards, it is possible to be crushed by the printing press or sliced up by coral, resulting in a restart of the stage. It’s nothing too complex, and the game is a bit on the easy side thanks to unlimited lives, which makes sense given its educational nature.
The goal is to collect the characters (i.e. letters and symbols) of each type. When the player finds an asterisk symbol, it fills in one of the history pages in the book menu with fascinating facts about typography. This is a cool feature that I enjoyed and it kept me engaged during my playthrough. By the end of the game I ended up learning quite a few new things about the history of writing.
The puzzles are simple, but unique and never got old. In one instance, the player travels the underground caverns, facing a number of traps, ultimately solving a ball puzzle to pass the level. Stages can be revisited and there are plenty of achievements available to unlock. There’s a great deal of rich history to unlock throughout the adventure. With each new asterisk, a new page in your history book is unlocked. You can go into the menu at any time and read the history you’ve uncovered.
Type:Rider is entertaining in short burst, but failed to truly suck me in for any length of time. The game is rather short and some will find it satisfying. Given its rather niche premise, I don’t think it will resonate with most gamers, but some will surely find plenty to like here. More complex puzzles and a deeper world to explore would have gone a long way to improving the overall experience.
- Graphics - 6/106/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 5/105/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
Type:Rider is a fun, but unremarkable game that might be worth playing at least once for the history lessons. Those into typography and art should get a kick out of the simplistic premise. Everyone else can probably pass.