Type:Rider, an engaging typographic platformer from Bulkypix, is now available from the app store. As educational as it is fun, Type:Rider uses environments composed of letters to teach the history of fonts.
- Clever use of font types as environmental platforms
- Pleasant and relaxing soundtrack
- Interesting puzzles and educational material combine to create engrossing experience
- Multiple control options are available
- GameCenter integration for a dozen achievements to earn
- Controls can be a little awkward to use
You are in control of a pair of black dots, connected by an unseen force and moving in tandem. Each world is based upon a certain font type and broken into a small number of levels. The goal of each level is to collect smaller versions of each letter in the alphabet, as well as a handful of asterisks. You must negotiate chasms, water spouts, inclines, and the like to find the end point of each level. Obstacles often correspond to the time period that the typeface was introduced, such as a letterpress that threatens to crush you early on in the game. There is no timer and no life limit. Frequent checkpoints ensure that a miscue won’t set your progress back too far. Collected items enable access to educational materials that explain how the various fonts came to be. You can skip this aspect of the experience if you like, but we found the info interesting and worth the time to educate yourself.
Graphically, the game has a bit of a LIMBO vibe, as most of the foreground items (as well as the controllable dots) are silhouetted, with backdrops offering interesting, colorful patterns. The animations are fairly smooth and the puzzles are clever without being overly difficult. One such puzzle requires that the dots roll atop a series of three large balls to spin the balls into a position where a cutout can be filled in by a small chunk that is preventing water from draining in another section. Once the water drains, you can use your dots to push a white dot into the third divot position to unlock the next section of the level, a puzzle element that is frequently used through the course of the game. The soundtrack is pleasant and relaxing. Controls come in three varieties: tilt, buttons, or a third option where you hold on the right or left side of the screen to move in said direction, while tapping on the screen with your other thumb to jump. The controls are serviceable, but they can be a little touchy at times.
Replay value is decent, as you’ll probably need to replay some sections to collect missed letters. The use of letters as the platforming objects is well-implemented and worth a second playthrough to enjoy the visuals when you aren’t busy focusing on finding the collectible letters. A universal app for $2.99, Type:Rider is a neat 4-Dimple offering.