Games that feature both fun and educational content are definitely too far and few in between these days; sure, you might make the argument that games featuring in-app purchases teach good spending practices, but there are very few games that educate us about niche topics that most people don’t know about, but are worth knowing. Enter Type:Rider, a game that aims to teach all of us about typography and its inherent beauty. And my, does it do it in a unique way.
In Type:Rider, you play as two dots which you use to traverse levels which are themed with typography throughout the ages, from the very beginnings of human written communication, like cave paintings and hieroglyphs, to the fonts that we use in the present day. The game is played out mostly as a side-scrolling platformer as you try to navigate on landscapes that are dominated by the font that is featured on your level, be it Garamond or Times New Roman. This makes for very intriguing and beautiful game design, and supplemented with period appropriate writing and art in the background, you can tell that a lot of effort into making this game look amazing and also historically correct.
There are three control schemes in Type:Rider: motion-based tilt controls, intuitive controls and standard button controls. Since the gameplay is essentially made up of only side-scrolling platforming, there isn’t too much difference between the control schemes besides preference, but if I have one recommendation it’s to try the intuitive control scheme because it is just that. Tapping the side of the screen you want to go in the direction to, it’s surprisingly easy to grasp and master and it made the game a breeze for me.
Throughout the levels, you’ll come across two types of collectables. The first are tidbits of information that you can read in your game journal, which fleshes out the context of the featured font. It’s here that the greatest wealth of information in Type:Rider resides, and I found it to be extremely well presented. Some games are text heavy for one reason or another, however, I didn’t feel this in Type:Rider, perhaps because it’s compelling to read about the font that you are platforming all over. That said, if you dislike reading, Type:Rider may not be the game for you as the information here really adds to the game in a big way.
The second collectables are the letters of the English alphabet in the typographical style of that level. This adds a level of replayability if you decide to blow through the game and finish it before getting down to the nitty gritty. The letters you’ve collected will be displayed in the game journal as well as a level selection menu.
The neat thing about how Type:Rider is structured is that each chapter has its own game journal, which means each has its own record of collectables, its own level selection, and of course, it means that each chapter will have its own information in one place so that you can access it easily if you want to refer back to it.
The music in Type:Rider is perfect. It’s definitely not the first thing you notice in the game, but that’s probably the point. The music is brooding and relaxing, and complements the minimalistic, simple nature of the game as you you traverse the landscapes. Normally when a game suggests the use of headphones to get the full game experience, I generally don’t follow that advice because there’s often no difference. But in Type:Rider, I felt compelled to play with headphones to block out incidental noises and really immerse myself in the game, and I fully recommend you do so too.
As it’s been said before, Type:Rider is a beautiful game; the blacked out foreground and the wonderfully detailed backgrounds that incorporates the clever use of light makes for a very pretty game. So pretty, in fact, that the developer, Ex Nihilo, thought to include graphics settings, meaning that you could vary the level of detail depending on your device; on my Nexus 7, I did find that I needed to turn it down to the medium setting as the levels with a high number of particles did start to make it chug a little. I do like the inclusion of varied graphics settings as it means more people on more deivces can experience the game (not necessarily with the best graphical experience though). And because each chapter is based on a different font type, you never see any repeated level designs and the puzzles and platforming is always varied.
There are also some puzzles in Type:Rider, but they are mostly rudimentary, which you will solve with your two dots; they often involve the moving of a third dot into a required location, which can take some trial and error, but generally isn’t too much of a mental stretch.
Type:Rider is a wonderful game: simple, beautiful and best of all, informative. It’s a diamond in the rough, but if you’re willing to immerse yourself in the game and you love to learn, Type:Rider will teach you a good many things. Type:Rider is available now on the Google Play Store for $2.99, so if you want to give it a try, pick it up from the Play Store links below.
Gallery of screenshots