Prose and Codes – A New Literary-Themed Word Game

Prose and Codes - Key Art

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” – Jane Austen

Overview

Prose and Codes is a new literary-themed word-based puzzle game created in support of Project Gutenberg to which a portion of all sales are donated. Players can decode their way through a series of excerpts from a vast selection of novels spanning multiple genres.

Developer: Hero Game Co.
Released: 11th February 2022
Price: £7.19

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam, itch.io
Engine: Löve

This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.

Prose and Codes Screenshot - Genres

Gameplay

Prose and Codes requires players to decode ciphers consisting of quotes from famous literary works. Upon solving each cipher the author and book are revealed along with a spoiler-free synopsis and a link to the title on Project Gutenberg where it can be read for free. There are seven genres to choose from: adventure, children, sci-fi, drama, notable, mystery and horror, each containing 50 ciphers for a total of 350 puzzles and books to explore.

The controls are simple, the mouse can be used to navigate most things and letters must be typed using the keyboard. It is also possible to move between unsolved letters using either tab or the arrow keys. Prose and Codes is very accessible with multiple difficulty settings, a comprehensive tutorial, options for larger text and a dark mode as well as a number of hints for each cipher (3 in normal difficulty).

Prose and Codes Screenshot - Cipher

Narrative and Styling

Whilst the game itself has very little to offer in terms of narrative, the possibilities are endless in terms of the number of stories being introduced. The excerpts that need to be decoded range from lovely to poignant to familiar and all have the potential to inspire further reading.

Prose and Codes has a simple but stylised aesthetic that fits the theme of the game wonderfully. All the UI elements are made to look as though they are on paper and the backgrounds are made up of traditional book illustrations. The UI itself is clean, clear and easy to navigate making for a stress-free experience. The relaxing nature of the game is added to by the gentle piano music that sits comfortably in the background.

Prose and Codes Screenshot - Author and Book Reveal

Summary

Prose and Codes is a unique and well-intentioned game that explores the joy of books through satisfying puzzles. It is easy to pick up and put down, much like a crossword book but is also captivating enough that it could be played for longer lengths of time and could easily lead players down a rabbit hole of literary delights with the potential for hundreds of hours of entertainment!

If you’d like to read more word game reviews, take a look at:
Inkslinger: A Fantastic New Visual Novel and Typing GameAnagraphs: Newly Released, Free Word-Game with a TwistHaimrik – A Literacy-Based Adventure!

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