Usually rhythm action games have 2, 4, 6 or 8 buttons for you to press away at to your hearts content. Typing Tempo… has 41…! It uses the full alphabet of your keyboard, numbers and a few punctuation keys too and this unique approach to rhythm action sets Typing Tempo apart from everyone else whilst also making it an extremely hardcore, My brain was in overload.
The 30+ songs as part of the game are a fantastic mix of hyper-pop, chiptune, house and future-pop – its uplifting, kawaii and hyperactive in the best way possible. Each song has 4 difficulty options and are rated 1 to 16. Easy is extremely simple as a letter, number or space bar travels down one of three note lanes for you to hit in the hit box. It allows you to get used to the idea that you’ll be moving all around your keyboard and not in a way that spells words. However, the jump to normal sees you chaining random letters, numbers and punctuation in a nonsensical way. Yes, the charts have a rhythmic pattern to them but what they don’t do is spell anything – and this was my biggest difficulty curve. My brain is so hardwired to type words and not lines of random characters, I kept tripping over myself. Typing Tempo then asks for rows of 8-10 characters like you are sliding a finger down a piano octave when you get to hard or extreme mode and that was well out of reach, many hours into the game. I am aware this is a “me” problem, but I found myself being too good for easy mode, just about clinging on for medium mode and then nowhere near hard or extreme. I have the same issues with DJ Max Respect sometimes – I know my star rating limit and play within it. It’s just with Typing Tempo, it is quite a low range.
With over 100 charts for the price, Typing Tempo offers plenty of replayability. There are also effect modes such as bouncy, upside down, mirrored, flashing or vanishing letters if you are very sadistic and want the extra challenge. These all funnel onto local leaderboards but not as separate leaderboards from the main game. I also enjoyed the auto-play mode to bask in how harder difficulties could be played and enjoy the soundtrack too. The game also comes with a chart editor which is fantastic and it was quite easy to get a custom track up and running, although you’ll need to finesse it as with all custom rhythm game charts. You can also customise the colours of the letters to be left/right hand or keyboard rows – and there are a few fonts to choose from too. I appreciated all the options available.
I have only one real criticism that isn’t down to me needing to have 8 arms and 4 brains and that’s hold notes. For some reason, the hold notes need to be held slightly beyond what is visually shown. I was lifting off the hold button as the underline came to an end and it would score me as a miss. I wasn’t having this desync on the normal notes so it feels a bit odd that it only happens on releasing hold notes. You can change the audio/visual sync in the game but there is no direct test mode to set something up perfectly.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed playing Typing Tempo but half the game I’ll never get to complete. This is hard as nails. There is nothing wrong with that but you’ll need to know that going in. It is going to be an uphill struggle if you aren’t a keyboard ninja. It is a unique entry into the rhythm game genre though and I think the hardcore crowd will lap it up with glee.
Review copy provided by developer. Out now on Steam.
Whilst it defeated me and my lack of skill, there is a solid rhythm action game here that hardcore rhythm fans will truly appreciate most.
Feels unique and different to play.
Lots of customisation and effects modes to pay with.
Level editor is easy to pick up.
Hold notes don't seem to work as visually shown.
Extremely difficult which means casual gamers may struggle to see much of the game.
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