LifeisXbox’s Nanotale – Typing Chronicles review | The second installment in the Typing Chronicles games is here! After the success of Epistory, Fishing Cactus is back with their next title: Nanotale. As you can tell by the titles of these games already, typing is crucial in the gameplay. Nanotale tells the story of Rosalind, a young archivist that explores a dying world. In this atmospheric typing adventure RPG, you get to use magic, gather knowledge, and explore a beautiful world. I actually typed my way through a bit of Nanotale – Typing Chronicles when visiting the 1UP Conference last year, and I’m so excited that this game has finally been released! Curious to find out if my excitement lasted throughout this whole experience? Read on!
I’d like to add that I was not familiar with the previous game, Epistory – Typing Chronicles, when I dived into the Nanotale adventure. To get a better idea of the full Typing Chronicles series, I played some Epistory after spending a few hours in Nanotale. I’m hoping to provide the most accurate, yet personal, review this way!
We played Nanotale – Typing Chronicles for 7 hours on PC. This game is only available through Steam.
What we liked!
- Graphics | The stunning papercraft world that we got to experience in Epistory is no longer present in Nanotale. Instead, we get a very vibrant fantasy world that’s also quite beautiful, even if it is in a different way. I loved walking around in this aesthetically pleasing and colorful world and enjoyed meeting new NPCs and discovering all the various plants. Fishing Cactus went with a completely different art style, and I do believe both the one in Epistory and in Nanotale work and are absolutely stunning.
- Combat | The typing genre games really a niche, but I love it so much. I remember following typing courses on an old typing machine when I was a kid, just because I love typing and writing so much. The combat in Nanotale is all about typing, just as it was in Epistory. By typing the word that is displayed above an enemy, you hit them. Usually, it takes a few words to completely kill an enemy. There are minor differences between the two games, like the words that are being used. Also, in Epistory, you see the word you need first, and the next word (for the next hit) was also shown in a smaller font. This is not the case for Nanotale. Of course, this is no major issue, but I did enjoy seeing the next word already. Besides just plainly writing words, you can also unlock special magic to use stronger attacks. These include FIRE, ICE, and LIFE and can be combined with other spells such as RAY and STRONG. Even though the list of ‘special magic’ wasn’t that long, I still had some trouble remembering what to combine, but honestly, it was fun trying out different things so I didn’t mind at all!
- Word variety | In a typing game, you don’t want to keep typing the same words over and over again. Luckily, it never felt like this in Nanotale – Typing Chronicles. There are longer, more ‘complicated’ words like MALFEASANCE, but short and simple vocabulary, like MUD, is also used, ensuring some balance. Also, the whole game is available in 11 languages, and you can make the game your own. Like, you can play the tutorial and the story in English and choose French for the actual gameplay and typing part.
- Sound | There are three components I’d like to cover here: soundtrack, sound effects, and voice acting. Let’s start with the first one: the soundtrack. I honestly barely noticed the soundtrack most of the time. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, though. When I did catch a glimpse of the soundtrack every now and then, it was very compatible with the rest of the game. Still, I paid a lot more attention to the sound effects, like the dripping of the water of the sound of my feet touching the ground when running. The sound effects are good. I mean, they are where they need to be. There are magical sounds, but most importantly, I liked the typical typing sound you get when actually typing a word. Now, for the third and last element: the voice-acting. I was very positive at first about it. The game starts with Rosalind and her teacher Lavender, who are both fully voiced. You hear what Rosalind writes down, and also what Lavender is telling her (I especially loved the vibes Lavender was giving). Unfortunately, this voice acting is not pursued throughout the whole game. Some characters will have voices, others will only have plain text. I found this to be a bit disappointing, especially since this entire art style feels very magical, and the voice actors make everything come to life.
- Story | As I mentioned above, the story starts with Rosalind and her teacher. She gives you some quick ‘how to play’ tips and off you go (even though she told you not to, you rebel). You try to save a fox, and the fox ends up saving you, and that’s that. The big why and everything is rather vague, and I feel like the story just didn’t grab my attention as I wanted it to. I was more focused on the typing experience and enjoying my surroundings, which isn’t a bad thing, but I would’ve loved to have also had an intriguing story to go along with it.
- Map | I wasn’t the biggest fan of the current map, and I really hope improvements will be made in the future. Right now, a few elements are shown on the map: your current position, the quests, and lore. However, the map still feels quite useless. I sometimes used it to get around, but a lot of times, the map showed a path to somewhere, and when I got there, I couldn’t get to where I wanted to go, because I had not yet unlocked the possibility. I would’ve much rather the map had shown me no possibility of traveling a certain path if it wasn’t there yet, you know. I still got lost quite a lot and found myself wandering around, which led to some frustrations.
What we disliked
- Bugs | Unfortunately, Nanotale – Typing Chronicles still has quite some bugs, sometimes making this feel like an unfinished game or one that’s still in Early Access. It happened more than once that my character got stuck, and it was like I could move but my ghost was moving?? Like, the camera moved along with my movement, and enemies attack my ‘ghost character’ but my real character was stuck somewhere under a bridge. I tried to hit the respawn button but this did not fix this issue, I’m afraid. I had to restart my game several times, up to the point I just didn’t want to continue anymore. Another bug I encountered, is seeing a quest show up on the map, but if I open the map again, the quest is gone. However, it still needed to be completed. It’s a bit hard to figure out what to do next if your quests just decide to disappear. These, along with quite some other bugs, really made it a lot more difficult for me to enjoy Nanotale.
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂