Epistory – Typing Chronicles review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: QubicGames
Developer: Fishing Cactus
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Epistory – Typing Chronicles started its life as a PC game, and I have no doubt that its solid reviews on that platform are well-earned. Given that it?s a typing game — and an imaginative one at that — it seems like the sort of thing that would work really well on a platform where you have a keyboard.

On the Switch, though? Given that the Switch quite clearly doesn?t have a keyboard, the game kind of stinks.

To be fair, Epistory tries its hardest to overcome that not-insignificant drawback. Right at the start of the game, it helpfully informs you that Joycons have been detected, and it strongly encourages players to hook up a USB keyboard. If you don?t have a USB keyboard, though, you?re kind of out of luck.

The game tries its best to compensate for that by changing the words you have to type into a series of button combinations using the D-pad and face buttons, but that makes for a pretty poor substitute, since — and this should be pretty obvious to most people — random button combos aren?t at all like words. It?s easy to type progressively more challenging words as enemies bear down on you from all sides since most people have a pretty good idea of keyboard layouts, and typing words is practically second nature. Even if you?re extremely familiar and adept at pressing different button combos, it?s just not the same, nor is it as fast — nor, worst of all, is it anywhere near as enjoyable.

While I?ve never played the PC version, it still feels like this change fundamentally alters Epistory, and not in a good way. For one thing, your point totals — and, in turn, your ability to upgrade — multiply depending on how quickly you can type words; button combos don?t feel the same (though I?ll admit that?s personal preference). For another, one of the appeals of Epistory on PC is that the words you?re typing often have some connection to what you?re seeing on the screen. Button combos, again, don?t have that.

Worst of all, though, it feels like the combat doesn?t translate as well. Your character dies after a single hit, and you need to start over from the last save point. While that seems fair when you?re quickly typing in words, when it?s simply random buttons — with some enemies requiring multiple different combos, and with multiple enemies coming at you at the same time — that seems blatantly unfair, even if Epistory apparently has adaptive difficulty.

It?s really unfortunate, because I feel like Epistory has a lot of potential to be great. Its papercraft world is gorgeous, and the voiceover narration has a lot of charm. But no matter how good those things may be — and how good this game probably is when you play it on PC — the fact of the matter is that Epistory is a lousy fit for the Switch.

QubicGames provided us with a Epistory – Typing Chronicles Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-