At PAX south 2016 I found a booth for a game called Epistory. I was drawn to it by the fox mask and gorgeous art on the vinyl, which is not too surprising since I have been drawn to foxes since I was a kid. I spent a bit of time at the booth investigating and pretty much instantly went to BYOC and found the game on Steam to add it to my wishlist and keep track of what was going on with development and release. Now the game is out, and I have put in about 3 hours worth of play. I normally wouldn’t post much about a specific game but this one has been really intriguing and I felt like it was worth it.
First of all the game is a typing game, which definitely caught my attention at PAX. The entire game, including menu navigation, is done by typing. In fact once you open the game you do not touch a mouse. To navigate the menus you actually just type the section which you want to access. Even when upgrading your character, you type the skill you want to spend your points in. While it seems like a straightforward mechanic, I really think it fits the feel of the game well.
Movement in the game has two options, the default setting which is based on the “correct” typing positions, and one that is the more familiar “WASD” format. I found that I am not a good enough typist to use the first method, but the switch to “WASD” is presented early on and is pretty well implemented and I really haven’t feel like it has hindered my game experience.
Fighting in the game is definitely not something I have experienced before. When an enemy appears and you enter the fighting mode (by hitting enter or space) a word appears over the enemies head. The enemy will continue to move toward you until you have typed enough words to take their XP and kill them.
As the game progresses you gain access to types of magic, so far I have found fire and ice. There are some enemies that only take damage from the correct type of magic. In order to switch you simply type “fire” or “ice” before starting the word, and the magic type switches.
The game is absolutely gorgeous in my opinion. The world is drawn in as you find reveal points, and it looks like pages of a book come in and transform to create the world around you. It has a refined papercraft feel, full of color and texture.
While I won’t give story spoilers, I will comment on how they choose to tell the story. It feels a lot like bastion. The story is narrated real time as you play, and they chose a very good voice actor to narrate. The music is pretty, but not invasive and fits the feel of the game. As you go into each “dungeon” the feel will change and I am finding I really just enjoy exploring the world.
Overall I have found myself really wanting to play, more so than I have in a while when it comes to a indie title on Steam. Plus, since I am not the most proficient typist, I am actually finding that the game is making me faster and more accurate which is definitely an added bonus when in real life I have to type documents at work.