2. Modern typing game design
Mixing typing with other genres
If the typing is too shallow on its own, it can simply be mixed with another genre: Outshine’s gameplay is close to the classic formula, but it has the look and feel of a typing shoot them up. God of Word alternates “type fast” gameplay phases with scrambled word puzzles and can be added to the list of puzzle typing games. Type to continue is a typing horror game where you have to type fast to avoid a jump-scary monster.
Touch Type Tale – Strategic Typing (planned for 2022)
This hybridization is often a way to add meat to the game by bringing in established mechanics from a more mature genre. “When you search for “typing” on Steam there aren’t many games, and it’s especially hard to find quality: games that go further than just type-attack” said Ettome. When he started thinking about making a typing game, he combined it with an old idea of doing a dating sim to give it more depth. Today, Typing Hearts can be described as HuniePop with the match-3 replaced by typing. Touch Type Tale has a similar story: Malte already liked strategy games and wondered how typing could be put into a strategy game. The physical challenge of typing is balanced by the mental challenges of puzzle solving or strategic planning.
Backspace Bouken (2019)
Backspace Bouken puts typing in a dungeon crawler because Ben and Jake were playing dungeon crawlers at the time. “It adds a dungeon exploration aspect. The fact that spaces are a resource pushes players to explore the entire dungeon.” (We’ll come back to the space characters mechanic later.) Similarly, in the first draft of Epistory’s concept, the adventure part of it was intended to push players to go further in the game and give a sense of progression, in case typing was repetitive. Today both Epistory and Nanotale are described as typing adventure RPGs. In fact, during events we pitched Epistory as “if Typing of the Dead and Zelda had a baby”. While it’s not really a Zelda-like, it was very helpful for people to understand what was beyond the typing mechanic. We’re all looking for experiences with the right balance of familiarity and novelty. Here, the other genre is the base that is familiar to players and the typing is the twist that brings novelty.
The typing mechanic is original and gets players’ attention,
but it’s also foreign and intimidating.
Incorporating this novel experience into a well-established genre helps inexperienced players understand what the game is about and not feel lost.
Leverage the depth of other genres and their familiarity among players to help in the game’s design and marketing.