I remember typing classes in school when I was a teenager with great fondness. As in, I spent my time looking on the internet and never really paying attention to what was going on. It’s true what they say, you know; you do learn all your important skills in school, and I was about to find out how crucial a skill typing was with Fishing Cactus’ latest offering Nanotale – Typing Chronicles. Or for want of a better statement, how I should have paid attention.
You journey through Nanotale – Typing Chronicles in the guise of Rosalind, a plucky newly instated archivist with the ability to use true magic. Rosalind fits the profile of your standard curious heroine who endeavours to discover the mystery of the world around her and is tipped to be a pretty big deal in restoring life to the dying lands, which are currently filled with some pretty obnoxious and nasty magical creatures. You start off with the young heroine in a small tutorial area as you pander through the forest with your master Lavendar, though things go awry quickly when you stumble upon a dying fox who just so happens to be the spirited fur friend that will be helping you on your journey going forward.
Literally everything in Nanotale – Typing Chronicles responds to typing. One of the many jobs you’ll be doing as an archivist is filling out your notebook with entries on plants, beasts and various oddities throughout the landscape. With a tap of the spacebar, you’ll bring up the spell menu which displays words above interactable elements in the environment. This could be used on enemies that need to feel the steely touch of your powerful magic, or plant life which requires a bit of cataloguing.
Everything feels like it has a purpose, with more and more lore discovery providing you with much needed experience to advance your stats (both health and magic) as well as giving you the opportunity to unlock some pretty neat skills to make your adventure all the more enjoyable. Each element you catalogue also eventually opens a lore page accompanied with some hand-drawn artwork and a little bit of information (fully voiced I might add). I really enjoyed that it gave a bit of purpose to being an archivist.
Moving around is your standard affair, though initially the game wanted me to use the ESDF keys. I nipped that in the bud quickly, reverting the key binding to everyone’s comfortable norm of WASD. I’m a creature of habit, what can I say? A quick tap of the shift key will load you up onto the back of your fox spirit, which makes getting around at pace much easier. You learn quickly that typing isn’t the only skill you’ll need, with switching between movement and spellcasting a must to survive the various challenging encounters in Nanotale – Typing Chronicles. I found it easy to get overwhelmed in the early game (especially considering my typing wasn’t up to snuff), but it’s a pretty forgiving experience overall, offering a quick respawn to jump right back into the action.
There are various enemy types to battle, each offering a different strategy for taking them on to be successful. I won’t spoil too much, but suffice to say that as I mentioned earlier, choosing your times to move and spell cast will determine your success. Combat relies heavily on positions and I was actually pleasantly surprised at how intricate it was considering it was basically a strenuous typing exercise.
Combat isn’t the only thing Nanotale – Typing Chronicles has to offer, with puzzles aplenty where you’ll face a myriad of head scratching moments as you try to open pathways or solve side quests. There was a particular side quest early on with sheep that I found hilarious, utilising Rosalind’s push/pull magic to fling them to flowerbeds while they changed colour. Naturally, as Rosalind traverses the world, you’ll pick up new spells along the way that will allow you to both make it through puzzles as well give you additional strategic options in battle. I was surprised how quickly I got used to this, but you’ll soon be typing additives to spells without even thinking it. I think my all-time favourite was RAY – LARGE – PUSH, so much so that I find myself thinking it out loud every time someone with a mask comes within a two-metre distance of me. That’s 2021 for you.
You’ll encounter several NPCs in your journey and talking to them is as easy as typing. I can’t tell you how often I’ve typed ‘Hi’, ‘Greetings’ or ‘Salutations’ by this point, but I’m pretty sure I could teach a masterclass in great introductions. The game highlights words to type to progress through each conversation in stages, with players occasionally getting the option to pick more than one. While it didn’t greatly affect the outcome of these interactions, I thought it was a nice touch.
The story is reasonably straightforward but pairs with the lore of the world effortlessly. It’s clear that Cactus Fish really did their work building the setting of Nanotale – Typing Chronicles and the tale is all the better for it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking to be found, but it did a good job underpinning the things that the world has to offer.
You’ll find yourself adventuring with Rosalind through various biomes ranging from ardent lush forests to dank caves and scorching deserts areas. Each area is detailed meticulously and the art style is charming, which really adds to the magical mystique of Nanotale – Typing Chronicles’ overall setting. The soundtrack was nice too, with its airy and oft-times darker tone adding some much-needed ambience to each region.
I’ve never played a game that hurt my pride so much when it came to the level of my basic typing skills, but Nanotale – Typing Chronicles spat on that and showed me the error of my ways. I dare say that I am a veritable typing aficionado now, and I could type someone to death without even thinking about it.
For something that’s premise is as simple as typing your way through the adventure, I actually came away feeling very fond of the experience. It may not appeal to everyone, but Nanotale – Typing Chronicles’ gorgeous environments, perplexing puzzles and quick-fire typing combat are sure to keep players intrigued in the adventure – even IF their fingers might hurt from all of the key-smashing fun…
Developer: Fishing Cactus
Publisher: Fishing Cactus
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)
Click here to visit the official website.