I was simply ecstatic when I first heard The Typing Chronicles was getting another entry. Epistory remains one of my favourite indiegames to date: A brilliant combination of typing gameplay, exploring in true Legend of Zelda fashion and a wonderful origami artstyle.
Pay attention, keyboard warriors, you HAVE to check this #Indiegame: It'll put your typing skills to the test! ⌨️📖
— BloodyGoodReviews (@Bloodyspasm) October 23, 2019
In the spiritual sequel, Nanotale, you play as a young archivist who is tasked with cataloguing the mysteries of the world. The story and setting seem captivating enough to carry the entire game and the presence of NPC’s you can talk to also increases the possibilities for character growth.
When meeting characters, you can start talking to them with a simple “HI” or “HELLO”. In certain dialogue situations, you’ll have to type the uppercase word to learn more about it. This is an innovative new way to interact with the world while still staying true to the typing gameplay.
If there is one thing that returning Fox-Riders will immediately notice though, it’s the different art-style. The papercraft world of Epistory has made way for a vivid watercolour aesthetic. I have to admit I was sceptical about this change at first, as the unfolding world was one of the greatest strengths of the original, but I quickly grew fond of this new style as well.
Typing combat makes a return: simply type the word above an enemy to attack it. You’ll usually have to go through two or three words at least to kill them. You can activate combat at any time by pressing the SPACE bar.
This time around you’ll have to stay a bit more mobile than in Epistory though. Exit combat to create some distance between yourself and the enemies or hide in the bushes so they can’t spot you. You’ll often see waterplants or water-based enemies in the world which will grow extra grass to hide in when you activate them. Some of your foes will apply the same tactic, however, but you can also burn down the grass (and the creatures within) to counter this.
In Epistory you could embed magical elements in your attacks by typing words like SPARK, WIND or FIRE. In Nanotale they have made way for actions like PUSH and PULL which you can then modify further by using RAY or LARGE to alter the shape of your spell. You’ll have to apply these to explore the world and to move ahead with the story.
So, what about the giant wolf we were riding in Epistory which became a symbol for the game? Well, the wolf-riding makes a return here as well but I was surprised to see it didn’t get a lot of story attention, if any. It’s quite possible this will be added into the final version of the game though, we should keep in mind this is only an Early Access release.
You unlock the spirit wolf early on. While Rosalind walks around on her own two feet most of the time, a simple press of the SHIFT button enters sprint mode and you’ll be galloping along on your furry friend.
The early access is still a bit rough around the edges though. While the game shows promise to be another indie-hit there were a few bugs still hindering my progress: The camera would sometimes zoom out so far that higher platforms blocked my view and the bridges you activate would become impossible to cross. Rest assured: these issues are being reported to the developers on Steam and in their Discord so they should be fixed in no time.
Presentation-wise I was mostly missing the wonderful narration that helped lift Epistory’s storytelling above the curve. The text would appear on the floor of the world as it unfolded and the female voice actress did a stellar job at kindling our curiosity. The good news is that the very same voice is returning to Nanotale, but it’s not present in the game just yet.
There are a lot of missing sound FXs and musics at this time, we wil add a big batch of them very soon to improve the overall experience of the game” – Laurent, Fishing Cactus
I have no doubt Nanotale will be a must-play title at some point, but it still needs a few hours in the oven and lots of player feedback. So don’t dawdle and check out the Early Access so you can help contribute! It’s only $14.99 and you get up to 20% off if you already own Epistory.
Check out the first half hour of gameplay here: