It’s easy to take fonts for granted. After all, hundreds of them come preloaded in even the simplest word processors, allowing for uninhibited freedom for formatting whatever we might need. But what most probably forget, is that it didn’t use to be like this; those fonts came from somewhere, each a painstaking creation designed with a specific use in mind, which have nonetheless endured for generations and are now being put to use for far different purposes.
In many ways Type:Rider acts as a sort of mini history lesson to the legacy of fonts, a subject far more interesting in execution than on paper. From the earliest known texts to modern computer code, it’s surprisingly fascinating to see the evolution of printed text and how various fonts came into being. There’s a special place in my heart for games that can be both entertaining and educational, and this is certainly among the best I’ve played to date.
If you’re shaking your head thinking there’s nothing you’d rather not do than read over history descriptions while playing a game, it’s worth noting that it’s entirely optional to do so. It’s never in your faced or forced upon you, but if you are planning to dismiss this side of the experience you’ll be left with an otherwise rather bland and clumsy platformer. I was able to look past many of the weaker aspects of the game because I found the artistic and academic elements to be interesting in themselves, but those looking for even an average platformer are likely to come away disappointed.
This falls solely on the controls, a terribly clunky lesson in frustration as you attempt to maneuver a character that seems to like nothing more than to flip wildly out of control at the worst moments. Most levels make up for this by being relatively simple to traverse, but on a handful of occasion more precision is required which proves truly aggravating. The secret level being the most difficult and featuring no checkpoints only adds insult to injury, making me wonder why the developers chose to add such a challenging segment to a game that seems designed to be a relaxing an accessible experience.
Type:Rider is far from a perfect game, maybe not even a good one, but it is a unique and interesting endeavor to give a little background on a subject I’d never have bothered to look into otherwise. For those who can appreciate it more as an art piece than a traditional platformer, it’s an intriguing slice of edutainment the strength of which lies in its excellent aesthetic and nontraditional source material, and not its gameplay. Anyone already bored reading this review should go ahead and pass on it, as there are dozens of other games that will be a far better fit for what you’re after.
If nothing else, I doubt you’ll ever look at comic sans quite the same way again.
Type:Rider was developed by Ex Nihilo and is available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.