Day 12: Type Attacks

Posted: 2010/11/21 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

Type Attacks - Typing of the Dead gone aerial combat

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #12, and today’s game is “Type Attacks”.

I was a big fan of Typing of the Dead (released for the Sega Dreamcast and for Windows PC), an innovative survival horror game where you attacked enemies by typing words that appeared over them. It was never entirely clear whether it was meant more as a typing tutor or more as a quirky game, but it could be argued that it succeeded as both. Type Attacks was clearly inspired by that previous game. In Type Attacks you’re fighting a new kind of “letter bomb”, a bomb made up of actual letters. You have to shoot them out of the sky before they explode and destroy buildings in the city below. While the two games are built on a similar premise, Type Attacks does some things that I like better than Typing of the Dead.

Firstly, Typing of the Dead (TofD) made no distinction between upper case and lower case. That put it more in the game category, and less in the “actually useful to your life” category. Type Attacks benefits from starting much easier than Typing of the Dead, but getting harder over time, and by recognising the difference between upper and lower case (which Typing of the Dead never did) it’s arguably a more fully-featured game. As I recall TotD also ignored the space bar in phrases, whereas Type Attacks wants you to hit that spacebar at the right times and only at the right times. All of this makes Type Attacks a more useful typing tutor, but because it starts at a much easier level of skill that doesn’t mean it needs to be frustrating for typing novices.

Another feature I appreciate about Type Attacks is that it supports the Microsoft Chatpad keypad add-on that plugs into the bottom of the controller, and that’s the way I played it for this review (it also supports a USB keyboard plugged into your 360). Those wanting to get more experience with the Chatpad, or who want to just play it as a game without dragging out a full-size keyboard, will appreciate this feature.

Type Attacks costs a lot less (80 Microsoft Points), and is a lot easier to find, than Typing of the Dead. This could be a great way to get your kids learning where the keys on the keyboard are, all the while being egged on by a fully voiced narrator. For anyone who wants to improve their typing skill, this one is definitely worth a download.

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