Desk jockeys and bullet hell aficionados might seem like they make up two wildly different demographics, but both are catered to with Morbidware and Headup’s new title The Texorcist. Tasking players with typing with traversing traps, does this unorthodox style of play work?
Hit It or Quit It – The Textorcist Beta
A private exorcist for hire, the wise man of the church Ray Bibbia has a unique way of dealing with any threats. Rather than use holy water or pray, he utilizes the power of Holy Bullets (or Hollets) through reading specific pieces of scripture. Type out what it says at the bottom, and damage is dealt.
There’s a catch though – players must type out what is written at the bottom while dealing with threats. Bullets, vomit, and bombs turn what is normally a straightforward affair into a defensive shoot-em-up. It can be tricky navigating the waves of fire with the arrow keys while typing when there’s an opening, but it provides a thrilling feeling that carefully balances both defense and offense. Those hoping to camp out in the corner of each arena are SOL too – Bibbia must be in range before he can attack. Note that getting hit is not the end of the world either – players can pick up their lost book with enough finesse, and pick things up where they last stopped if timed correctly.
When you have a keyboard and a character to control, it sounds like an awkward combination, and it can admittedly prove to be cumbersome. Bullet patterns are thick, and passages are long. However, there are strategies like typing with one hand or memorizing passages that ensure success at the expense of practice. It is through this way that the game manages to channel the arcade spirit, and the high score leaderboards encourage replayability.
The three fights included in the beta are tied together with a story featuring crazy beggars, girls that must be exorcised, a demonic outbreak, and sleazy nightclubs. The amount of variety, when paired with the solid sprite work, give this title a personality all its own. Each fight has its own gimmicks too, from defusing bombs to avoiding vomit that obscures the scriptures. Though each fight ends far too fast, the amount of variety provided changes things up enough.
Between bouts, players will explore the confines of Bibby’s place. Don’t expect to be off the hook either – players must use their typing skills to open up his computer, read his journal, and do other tasks. Plot skews on the side of silly, which might not appeal to some, but it is appreciated nonetheless.
The Textorcist’s concept of typing while battling is wildly unique, and comes together like peanut butter and chocolate. Though it has a learning curve players have likely never seen before, it still manages to stand out in the dense Steam landscape.