An Epic Story Indeed | Epistory Review
Admittedly, I’ve not played a “typing-game,” nor have I ever felt the urge to do so. Having said that, I quickly learned that Epistory is much more than just a typing game, and labeling it simply as that certainly does the title a huge disservice. Sure, at its core, the mechanics are heavily focused on the typing as a means for exploration, battling and puzzling. But, I was pleasantly surprised with Epistory’s strong narrative hooks, addicting gameplay and interesting puzzles.
Epistory, “tells the story of a writer lacking inspiration who asks her muse to help her write her latest book,” as laid out in the press release. While not immediately catching onto that particular narrative, the story that unfolds dredges up a groundswell of emotions. Each dungeon is complimented with a unique story that is delivered absolutely wonderfully.
Similar to how I began writing this review (yes I’m old school and drafted on paper), Epistory starts off with a blank landscape. But as you travel through the world (The Bridge), the world slowly unfolds in a beautiful origami-like fashion. The awe-inspiring look of the world unfolding never got old in my roughly seven hours of play time. The world is populated in segmented zones that are free to roam, for the most part, with each zone taking on its own unique nature.
At its onset, the way you get over various writer’s blocks (thing such as fallen logs, enemies, and puzzle elements) is by simply typing the words that flash upon the screen after hitting the spacebar. But it’s not just the finger gymnastics you will have to pay attention to as your progress through the game. As your Muse makes it through the various dungeons laid out across The Bridge, she will gain inspiration which will allow her to learn new spells. The spells take the form of lighting (spark), fire, ice and wind.
Each ability also comes with its own set of upgrades. Spark allows you to chain lightning across the various enemies, whereas fire (especially once fully upgraded) will slowly burn away the next word. To activate a spell you simply type its name then progress to typing the word. The addition of various elements makes encounters interesting because the game throws out various types of enemies that can only be killed with a certain skill. While the addition of these various skills could be problematic, the devs introduced each skill perfectly. Epistory lays the groundwork for each spell; once you obtain it from a dungeon, the enemies only throw that spell time at you in your first handful of encounters. These small building blocks completely negate any frustration that could arise later on in the game. The frantic test of your typing ability paired with various spell types and increasingly difficult battles creates a pretty neat battle system…. most of the time.
When getting to the end of a dungeon, there is a glyph with a purple aura that serves as the final waves of the battle before completing a dungeon. With the difficulty increasing for each section, I can see where the game can get a tad frustrating with its lack of checkpoint system within the glyph battles. These sections last only a couple of minutes, but when you are frantically typing out increasingly difficult words, there’s nothing worse than dying right near the end of the battle. Having said that, the game does present three difficulties (easy medium hard) and features a useful adaptive difficulty. Say you are smashing keys like the pro typist that you are, the game will deliver increasingly difficult words as you go. In contrast, if you keep getting stuck at the same part, the title will slightly alter the words thrown your way easing the pain a bit.
Epistory was one of those titles that was nowhere near my radar, but I am certainly glad it crossed my path. The world itself is absolutely beautiful and the narrator has such a perfect voice in telling this story. There was something so soothing about her voice that really nailed home the artsy origami world. Sure some of the battling can get a bit too difficult at times and, while I absolutely love the world and everything it has to offer, the titles “battle” soundtrack kind of stuck out since it became so repetitive against the otherwise great soundtrack.
Note: We received a code from the developers to write this review