Take a trip through the history of typography

Hey! If you like typography and you like videogames then you’re probably going to love Type:Rider, right? Well, yes, but that won't necessarily be by design.

We love the idea behind Type:Rider. It's a stylish platform game that also teaches you about typography, from European cultural TV channel Arte. How cool is that?

Naturally it's very cool, and to an extent it works really well. It's a game very much in the style of titles like Limbo and Badland, with all the foreground action in silhouette form, brightened up with illustrated backdrops. In true typographic form you control a colon, acting as a linked pair of dots, and the action is simple left, right and jump with a selection of intuitive control schemes to work from.

The levels themselves are typographically themed, with the landscape made up in part of letterforms from various typefaces. As you progress through the history of typography you meet newer typefaces and get to know their letterforms, often as you tumble off the edge of them and plummet to your death.

It's a decent piece of platform action, pitched at just the right difficulty level; you'll die quite a few times but you're unlikely to get stuck in the same place for too long, even if you're not a seasoned gamer.

So far so good; what we're less keen on is the educational side. Every now and then you pick up a white asterisk that unlocks a new section of Type:Rider's history of typography section. It's a decent enough potted encyclopaedia of printed communication from cave paintings onwards, but it feels crow-barred in and can really break the flow of the game if you stop to look at each new bit as you unlock it. You feel you ought to look at it, but you end up just skimming it and getting back to the action; it's not especially well written.

We really like Type:Rider's aesthetic, even if it's more decorative than functional. Even if the educational bit feels like something of an afterthought, it's not too much of a distraction from what's otherwise a great little game.

Key info

  • Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Price: $2.99 / £1.99
  • Developer: Bulkypix
  • Version: 1.1
  • App size: 225 MB
  • Age rating: 4+

Words: Jim McCauley

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