Type:Rider Lets You Explore Beautiful, Er, Typography

By Nathan Grayson on November 1st, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

Type:Rider is one of those game concepts that doesn’t exactly scream thrill-a-millisecond, but that’s because it’s too busy artfully scrawling, scratching, writing, and typing it out to care. It’s a fairly basic platformer, but the twist is that all levels are themed after various evolutions of the written word. I suppose you could call it edutainment (there are even quick, optional passages about the origins of each script that appears, if you care to read them), but it’s also a very beautiful, well-constructed experience. You take satisfying, just-floaty-enough leaps between letters, dancing on air between centuries of human knowledge. There’s a free demo if you’d like to try it out, or you can find more details below.

Here are the basics:

“Incarnate 2 dots and travel through the ages of typographic styles and techniques. From the rock paintings of prehistoric times to Pixel art of the 2000’s, solve all the riddles by riding the most popular fonts and characters (Garamond, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Pixel, Comic Sans…) in a very captivating musical and visual environment.”

I enjoyed the demo quite a bit, though it’s largely composed of simple tutorial-level challenges. I really liked the way the game’s many areas (each rooted in a certain type of font – for instance Gothic, cave paintings, etc) shifted and morphed, almost dreamlike, to match whatever era of written word I was exploring. Type:Rider strikes a gorgeous balance between simplicity and detail, both visually and aurally – a rare feat when most games swing to one extreme or the other. Each location was also nicely, tangibly physics-based, with platforms and pillars and cauldrons of lava reacting to my presence in the world. That, then, was the backbone of many puzzles in a way that both felt solid and created a fast-paced sense of flow.

I do hope the full game offers more of a challenge, though. It’s currently available on IndieGameStand for $8.99. The purchase is also redeemable on Steam, which seems to suggest that this most brainy of bouncythings will also make the leap to Valve’s service before too much longer. You can give the demo a try right now, though, and I very much recommend that you do.

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19 Comments »

  1. TomxJ says:

    This is my kern of thing.

  2. vivlo says:

    loooks a loooot like Nightsky, except in Nightsky you ahve only one dot, and it’s not a dot but a sentient sphere, and you don’t have big ‘R’ everywhere

    • seamoss says:

      That was my first thought as well, and it does look NightSky, but I think it’s the similarity of the music and the relaxed tone of the game that makes it feel so similar.

  3. Shooop says:

    As someone who works in a sign shop part time, this looks fascinating. Will definitely give it a spin.

    Thanks for the heads-up Nathan.

  4. Eight Rooks says:

    It is actually intended as edutainment – it’s partly sponsored by some French institution of the arts or other, IIRC. Having played a fair bit of it on iOS, from what I’ve seen it doesn’t really get that much more challenging. Pretty, however, and at least it keeps the learnin’ out of the way if that sort of thing bothers you.

  5. Treebard says:

    I bought this on iOS last week and ultimately didn’t like it much.

    The movement in the game feels slow and wonky, the way a lot of physics-based platformers feel. Ultimately, it was frustrating.

    I bought it because the idea of “learn about fonts + get to know them intimately because they are the level!” sounded so cool…but…the learning part is hidden away in a separate menu, and it’s just reading text. I won’t go as far as to be the “I can already do that on Wikipedia” guy, but the separation between the two really kills momentum. The two parts – that is, the learning and the platforming – are walled off from each other in a way that diminished both. I don’t know, it just didn’t end up being as clever as I’d hoped, I guess.

    • La Stranga says:

      Yes the controls totally ruined the platforming gameplay. I even had to plug in another keyboard just to check that
      my spacebar key wasn’t going bad. Jumping in this game is a frustraitingly random event.

      Yes the learning bit is not integrated in the game enough to make it worthwhile. The way it goes now is: play for a minute or two. STOP! Go to menu and read a book for a while. Play again. STOP!

      Too bad because it looked to be a great little physics platformer, but it is not.

  6. Premium User Badge steves says:

    Oh yes, this is brilliant, I am a huge typography geek, and…oh dear:

    http://imgur.com/bcB7wJN

    Aaagh. The justifying…that’s not how you do it!

    Still, a great idea, and I learned some stuff. Am now on the look out for some keming

  7. Dozer says:

    I spent far too much time last night watching House in freeze-frame trying to identify the typeface used in their hospital’s wayfinding signage. (I think it’s Johnston, the not-shit predecessor to Gill Sans.) This is relevant to my interests!