Textorcist: The Basics
You might think that you’re not into typing games – but you might feel differently when you’re typing Latin prayers to exorcise a common criminal of demons.
Ray Bibbia is a renegade priest – the bad cop of Vatican City. He and the church have separated thanks to “artistic differences”, but this Private Exorcist still works around the law – or church – or possibly both. Ray can still channel the power of the lord through spells and incantations, using them against the scum of Vatican City, although the church is far from a benign presence.
This Blade Runner-esque world seems to present religion as a corporation – an interesting take on the influence that the church has in real-life politics, although I hesitate to assign real-word politics. Illuminati-style “God is Watching” posters adorn the walls of Vatican City’s slums, passively watching the torrent of crime and abuse seemingly being ignored, or even sanctioned, by the church. Criminals are selling drugs to kids, robbing orphanages, and being vegan with reckless abandon.
Ray’s the sort of noir antihero who doesn’t care about these minor crimes until he absolutely has to. And now that he’s been stuck with a victim of slavery and possession, it’s time to take action.
Textorcist: What it’s like
The gameplay is fun – I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that all of the game’s commands were done through text, although I would have liked to be able to interact with more of the background or explore a little more. The style is gorgeously 16-bit, brightly coloured and incredibly meta; Ray’s computer – using the Holyvetti computer is “like getting the weather from a microwave”, and he makes the point that he hopes he won’t need to use it during the game.
This self-awareness is a really charming element to the game; it comes through in text, in pop culture references (during an unseen fight, one assailant tries to “fus ro dah” his way out of trouble) and in the way the player is instructed in gameplay.
Textorcist: How gameplay works
The large majority of the game plays like the original Pokemon games – you walk around in adorable 16-bit fashion, interact with journals, computers and people, and follow paths to your destination. The major differences from this kind of game are in the use of Ray’s Holyvetti computer to essentially fast travel – a great aesthetic throwback to the world of monochromatic screens – and in the fights themselves, which take place within the frame of the game but are fought entirely through typing and dodging. This kind of game is always going to be easier with a good setup; an ergonomic keyboard and mouse are a must unless you enjoy RSI. As a professional writer, who spends every day typing, it was hard – and I didn’t even get onto the Latin portion!
I particularly loved the fact that you had to type to interact with everything in the world – from typing “Answer” to pick up the phone and “Talk” to have a conversation with NPCs.
Textorcist: Who it’s for
Games like this are always going to be popular with people who are learning to speed type – at the end of the day, there’s no more fun way to teach typing (sorry, Maeve Beacon). But the very particular aesthetic style and simplistic gameplay will appeal to other groups of people, namely the lover of dry-witted and critical religious humour.
It was hard to get a good grip on the game from the preview, especially as it didn’t go so far as to include the Latin text, which I imagine must be much more difficult to type at speed – although on the other hand, may greatly improve your knowledge and spelling of the dead language!
I also would have appreciated more interaction with the world – I realise that it’s all more time and money, but I really wanted to be able to interact with posters, dumpsters and breeze blocked cars, and was disappointed to find not even a basic text answer.
I desperately wanted to know more about the world it took place in, but I expect this will unravel throughout the course of the game.
And I do hope that they have fixed all spelling errors before the release! Or the spells might not work!!
Jenny Mugridge – types at the speed of light now