Supertype! Not Just a Game for Nanas

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The name Supertype might make you think that this is for people who like Scrabble and crosswords. I have nothing against these people (being one myself) but I would be very sad if someone overlooked Supertype as a game only your Nana would play.

Sure, the game’s aesthetics has a bunch of backdrops that look like vintage wallpaper. But floral patterns aside, Supertype is, at its very heart, a physics puzzler, and a very good one at that.

The game is a series of many challenges, each involving one or more dots that you have to try and make contact with. Type the letters you think have the correct shape, and if it rolls, swings, bounces, ricochets, etc. to your dot, you’ve solved the puzzle. Sometimes, you’re prescribed with letters and you have to draw lines instead to achieve the same goal. This variation keeps the puzzles fresh, particularly after a rather difficult challenge.

The game starts nice and slow with puzzles that won’t take you more than a couple seconds to solve. But it ramps up pretty high in difficulty by the end, making sure to let you know that you are actually getting your money’s worth. I’m fairly sure there’s more than one solution most of the time, seeing as some letters are shaped pretty similarly to others. But sometimes, it sure seems that there is no solution at all. That is, until you fine-tune your thinking. Need a letter that hooks? How about an “r”? Or something a bit longer? Maybe an “m” will do the trick. If you want a letter that can roll, an “o” or a “c” is always good. But if you need to go several directions, how about a couple of “i’s” or “j’s”?

One of the nice things though is that if you get stuck, you can skip a puzzle and just go to the next one. You can always come back to the one you’re stuck on when you’re in a better headspace. It gives you the feeling that Supertype isn’t the kind of game that delights in punishing you, but rather wants to see you smiling when you finally work out the kinks.

And I will admit that I smiled a lot in this game. Okay, more than that, I actually giggled…mostly because of the sound design. Percussion sounds accompany each fall and bounce of the letters. When you solve a puzzle, confetti is flung across the screen to a drum roll. For a game that has a lot of floral design, it’s a strange marriage of audio and visuals, but not in a bad way. Instead, because it’s so weirdly mismatched, it makes you want to laugh the way you would for a really good/bad Dad joke.

Finally, if there was a game award for the best-designed tutorial of the year, I’d give it to Supertype, hands down. No introductions, long-winded explanations, “if or then” statements, or wondering what the controls were. Supertype’s first puzzle a.k.a. tutorial was to get me to type “Supertype”. And away I went.

If I were to change anything at all, I kind of wished there was a dinky little soundtrack that you could toggle on and off. But honestly, this is such a minor detail, and my own preference at that, that it’s almost not worth mentioning.

If you love fonts, physics-based puzzles or just love appreciating creative design, Supertype might just be the best $2.99 you could spend.

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