Sawbuck Gamer

Sawbuck Gamer: Ink Battle


Ink Battle is more fun than Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, at least.

By Tasha Robinson • April 12, 2012

Ink Battle is strongly reminiscent of educational games played during “computer time” in schools, suitable for increasing typing accuracy, and to make learning at least slightly more fun than sitting at a desk and not playing video games. That said, it doesn’t feature quite enough learning or fun. Inspired by the old downloadable game TypoMagia, Ink Battle brings a similar concept to browsers. In a mash-up of typing-defense and castle-vs.-castle games, players earn mana by successfully typing the words that appear onscreen, then use that mana to summon blobby little foot soldiers by typing their names. Typing “dot” or “shooter” summons weak mêlée or ranged attackers, respectively; “special” conjures up tougher, upgradable critters. Typing “strong” or “armored” adds that characteristic to the next thing summoned. As you whistle them up, they march forward inexorably to take on the enemy’s horde and attack the opposing castle.

It’s a fun little game, though with limited defender options, a scant handful of upgrades, and only 12 short levels, it doesn’t take long to beat. What depth there is comes from the fact that gathering power, creating castle defenses, sending forth fighters, and attacking the enemy directly with missiles all use the same mechanic, requiring real-time decisions about how best to earn and spend mana. For school kids, it might be an acceptable lesson in fast typing and strategic thinking, but adults will probably wind up wishing for more levels, more attacker variety, and more words like “xenophobic” and “sycophant” alongside “owl” and “try.”

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99 Responses to “Typecasting”

  1. ShitMcFWillNotAssimilate says:

    Ugh. This would be funner if I had learned the proper way to type.

    • Binsbein says:

      ‘Home row’ is just another fascist construct of Mavis Beacon’s gang of jack-booted thugs.

  2. HobbesMkii says:

    My elementary in-school edutainment typing game featured a crudely rendered boat going down a river, encountering a gauntlet of crudely rendered alligators (all of this was in 2D, like flash animation). The river was never ending; get past one group of alligators, and you just entered the same section, but this time the boat moved ever so slightly faster, inevitably reaching a speed you couldn’t match and it would sink.

    What I’m trying to say is that I hate these types of games, yet I find them oddly engrossing. Luckily, this one is far from a Sisyphean task. 

    • trilobiter says:

      Not so engrossing for me.  I got over it after one try.

      I can type reasonably quickly, but I have to look at my keyboard while I do it.  That means a lot of looking back and forth from the screen and then having to put my fingers back in order again.  Frankly, I shouldn’t have to be taking my eyes off a video game this much.

      I know the point of this is to teach me to type without looking at the screen.  I don’t care.

    • Raging Bear says:

      I enjoy them as well. There was (is?) one on Yahoo games, I think called Typing Shark, that’s more like a proper progressing game experience.

      Of course, Typing of the Dead is the grand daddy of the murder-by-clerical-skills genre. As an added bonus, the characters in the cutscenes have little keyboards strapped to their chests like they’re selling cigarettes at a baseball game.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        Typing of the Dead is indeed terrific, but then again, I grew up with Word Castle (the original type-before-they-drop-onto-your-bridge MS-DOS game) and moved on to the games in Mavis and Mario Teaches Typing so I’ll always have a soft-spot for Bowser’s Castle.

  3. jarviscockblocker says:

    This was great, too bad the whole thing ends in about 15 minutes. You just cast an armored, strong special with a strong shooter behind him and win every time without any hitch.

    So yeah, exactly what was said above.

  4. Aaron Riccio says:

    Consider checking out the Facebook app “Typing Maniac.” I found that to be much more challenging, even though it’s fairly obvious that the “high scores” were all derived by some hardcore cheats.

  5. caspiancomic says:

    Bookworm Adventures it ain’t, but it passed the time. At least now I can type “special” with maximum efficiency.

  6. LimeadeYouth says:

    Reading the comments on the Kongregate site, the developers are looking at making this a multi-player game. Now THAT, assuming you’re somewhat evenly skilled, would be awesome. I can see getting spawned into a world only to get PWNed by a player named “Mavis Beacon”.

  7. LimeadeYouth says:

    Possible technical note: For some reason any “e” on the subheader in italics looks like a “c”. To wit:  “Mavis Bcacon Tcaches Typing”  

    Is anyone else seeing this?

    • John Teti says:

      Could I trouble you to send your browser/OS details to the tech-troubles address listed on the contact page (which is linked in the footer)? And include a screenshot if it’s possible. I’ll look into it.

    • Alexis Lee says:

       Yeah I’m seeing this. FF11 on Win7.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        I’m pretty sure this is just an issue with the chosen font — it only occurs in italics for the subhead style, only for the letter “e,” and happens on other pages beside this one. If you look closely, you’ll see that the “a” becomes a little disconnected, too, but it’s not a game-breaker, so to speak.

      • LimeadeYouth says:

        I’m using Chrome on Win 7. Like Aaron said, It’s not a game breaker, but there will come a day when you mean to write romanes eunt domus

  8. Nathaniel Forsythe says:

    Sorry if I missed this somewhere, but are there not going to be grades on Sawbuck Gamer entries from now on? If you’re just highlighting good ones, then I guess it’s not a problem.

    I just imagine all the little games jumping up and down and saying,
    “Grade me, grade me, evaluate and rank me! I’m oh so good!”

  9. LimeadeYouth says:

    This game is a solid C for me, but it got me looking to see if the developer had done anything else of note. I found Alxemy, a sweet little game about creating the earth by combining the four basic elements. It’s not that hard if you have some lateral thinking skills, but kids with an interest in  science will gt a huge kick out of it.