Epistory is a typing game in a unique setting with some very inspired ideas. It’s made by a Belgian indie developer (Fishing Cactus) and has an overwhelmingly positive reception on Steam. I don’t spend a lot of time gaming on my computer anymore these days, but for an original game like this one (which can only be controlled with keyboard inputs in the first place) I’m happy to jump back in.
What we liked!
- An epic story about a fox-riding muse: Epistory is an adventurous typing game in which you explore a papercraft world with the muse, a girl riding a giant three-tailed fox. The muse acts as the protagonist, gradually unlocking more areas and adventures for the person who is writing the story. By clearing obstacles on her path, it’s as if she’s steadily helping with the writer’s block the author is experiencing. The underlying story, if you look past the obvious, is that of a woman coming to age and the different stages in her life she had to go through
- The world: The environments literally unfold before your feet, with little bits of info dropped along your path in the form of text that appears on the floor while a female voice narrates. What’s immediately apparent when you play Epistory is the Origami-like art style. Everything looks as if it was crafted from folded paper. This cosmetic decision perfectly fits the setting of the game and it really makes you feel as if you’re walking through the pages of a storybook.
- Narration: The narrator’s voice is the only one you’ll hear throughout the game, but the voice-actress has done a stellar job. As the journey progresses you feel more and more empathic for her plights and you’ll steadily grow curious about which conclusion this will all lead to.
- Soundtrack: What definitely bears mentioning is the superb soundtrack. From the intense percussion-based battle theme to the soothing flutes while you’re exploring a mountainous area, every moment seems to have the perfect music track to accompany it. There’s even a fitting song that plays as the credits roll. The sound effects are also ever-present, with an overworld full of life: you’ll hear birds chirping and frogs croaking while rabbits hop around. It’s crossed t’s and dotted i’s throughout the entire experience. If the visual flair doesn’t make you fall in love with the game (but it should) the soundtrack surely will.
- Typing Gameplay: While you can freely move around and run away from enemies on the overworld, you’ll have to clear a few insect nests to progress the game. Yes, all enemies in the game are insects for some reason, I presume because the writer is scared of them. When you’re clearing a nest, your character can no longer move around and the chittering bugs come at you from all directions. You have to type the words above their heads before they reach you, as one hit means you’re dead and have to start over from the very start of the battle.
- Isometric perspective: The game’s isometric perspective works well for showing off the world and the unique style. But controlling the character’s directional input with your keyboard can take some time to get used to.
- Elemental attacks: Some enemies can only be damaged by specific elements. To activate these elemental powers you’ll have to first type the associated words: FIRE, ICE, SPARK, WIND. And in the more hectic combat scenes it can be difficult to swap in time.
What we disliked
- Keyboard needed: it’s a typing game, so it’s kind of obvious you’ll need a decent keyboard to play this. Sadly this limits the player base to only Computer gamers, but I want to keep the dream alive that keyboard support for consoles will one day bring it to other platforms as well.
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