If we told you that Type: Rider (iOS and Android, £1.99) was a game about typography, where you learned all about the history of fonts and print techniques, you’d probably roll your eyes and boot up Shadowgun instead for some bloodthirsty run-n-gun action. Thankfully Type: Rider is actually a reaction-fuelled platformer with a unique, artistic presentation, a la Limbo and Badland. And you can ignore the educational bits if you want to.
Rather than cast you as a mighty warrior or some weird alien beastie, Type: Rider has you take control of two black dots, which you have to guide to the end of each level. The main control method is simple and perfect. Press on the left or right side of the screen to move in that direction, and tap the opposite side to jump. It’s a neat system that’s quick to pick up and master, but you’re offered tilt controls too if you fancy a change.
Each ‘world’ in Type: Rider is based on a period of history, and the game’s presentation changes to suit. For instance, the Clarendon stage is a Wild West-style romp through dusty valleys that has you dodging an invisible sniper and barrelling through treacherous tunnels in a mine cart. Every world consists of four short, easily digestable levels, perfect for the commute, although we were so addicted that we breezed through the game in four or five large chunks.
Part of Type: Rider's appeal is the surprising variety, with fresh challenges thrown up in every stage. Many of these challenges involve rather precise leaping, and we found ourselves dying dozens of times, be it plunging onto spikes or being frazzled on a giant neon Broadway sign. But almost every grisly demise was a result of our cack-handedness rather than the game being unfair. There are also occasional puzzle-style challenges to complete, which again rely more on skill than actual brain power.
Between the moody, colourful graphics, the atmospheric soundtrack and the addictive gameplay, there’s lots to recommend in Type: Rider. The collectibles in each stage offer replayability value as you strive to snatch them all up, and you can – if you wish – read up on the important moments in typography history as you complete each stage. How often can we say that an educational game is also damn good fun to play? Well, this is the first in a while...