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Rating: 4.7/5 (211 votes)
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TrickyASCIIvaniaWe love our metroidvanias here at JayIsGames! But would we still love them if, instead of controlling a scifi bounty hunter, or a badass vampire slayer, we played as the alphabet? Answer: Yes! And ASCIIvania, an exploration platformer by Gharding3, is the proof! At the start, you will be prompted to enter your name, the first letter of which will be your starting "character" (presumably, the Trickys of the world will have an easier time than the Jays). Using the [arrow] keys, move around the world, exploring, acquiring new powers, and opening new areas. In this case, though, the strongest power is wordsmithing.

Aligning your character with incomplete words will eliminate them from the screen. Grey words will regenerate, while white words will disappear to create a permanent passage. As time goes on, you will acquire new characters that you can transform into by hitting the respective letter key. Collect all 26 letters and claim victory! ASCIIvania's basic premise is so killer that it's easy to forgive its flaws. Particularly, the dictionary for accepted words is a little wonky, but at least it tends towards accepting odd words rather than rejecting legit ones. As a metroidvania, ASCIIvania is clearer documentation, a map screen and a mute button away from excellence. As is, though, it's still an enjoyable and unique, if not quite transcendent, time-waster. A lot of fun is here for the ASCII-ing!

Play ASCIIvania


I thought that was very fun- an utterly novel combination of puzzle and metroidvania!

The ending was quite disappointing, though. I kept expecting some kind of boss fight/spelling bee...

Reply August 7, 2012 1:50 PM

I can't figure out how to jump. Space, the up key, and any letters on my keyboard don't work.

Technocolor August 7, 2012 2:04 PM

I'm having the same problem as I'm on a Mac using OS X and google chrome if that has anything to do with it... I am so disappointed, I fell in love with this idea the second I saw it. :c

Otherwise, movement is a little bit slow/wonky. But I really like the idea. I didn't exactly get far enough without jumping to determine if the execution was alright...

soraguy599 August 7, 2012 2:06 PM

Before you can jump, you have to find a ^.

Technocolor August 7, 2012 2:07 PM

Update: figured out jumping... Power of the post. I stand by what I said about the controls, though. Slightly slow and wonky, and the game is in dire need of a mute button (unless I'm simply missing this as well!)

Love this, though. Very nice.

bearharry August 7, 2012 2:29 PM

you need to get a ^ to jump, and only arrow keys can be used a moving...


Very pleasant way to spend a lunch hour. :)


Anyone have an idea on how to get to Q? It's my last letter, and "Nown" and "Onest" are not real words.

Username August 7, 2012 3:40 PM

+1 with Reece.

Username August 7, 2012 3:41 PM

Never mind, figured it out. I should have known.

Username August 7, 2012 3:43 PM

Wow, horrible ending.

samdulmage August 7, 2012 3:59 PM

Hints for the Q:

I don't think you can get at it from below.

You need to go down through the "basin".

The way down is not unknown.

You have to come down from the top, then make "KNOWN" to get into the Q chamber.

Username August 7, 2012 4:52 PM

@Samdulmage, My way was a bit more subtle.

Reply August 7, 2012 4:53 PM

Interesting game, but some sort of in-game map would be greatly appreciated.

furyofachilles August 7, 2012 6:18 PM

I really enjoyed this game. A very interesting and fun idea.

The only problem was that at first I got stuck twice by using the letter I started with ("I") to unlock things early on - that left me in places that I couldn't get out of without abilities or letters that were elsewhere. After the second restart, I decided not to use that letter at all until I had more abilities. Neat as it is to start with the first letter or your name, it might be better if there was a set initial letter so you can't get stuck in an unwinnable position.


Will someone tell me exactly what to do to jump please

Reply August 7, 2012 6:59 PM

You can't jump, at least not right away.

Go down and left whenever you can. When you can't go down or left anymore, head right and down down down. You'll see a "^" symbol. Collect it and you can jump. Later you'll get the "&" symbol and can double jump.

Reply August 7, 2012 7:08 PM

My previous spoiler was wrong.

Starting at the beginning, complete your name and drop down. Go right. Go down. Go right. Collect the ^ and B symbols.

BrittaBot August 8, 2012 12:17 AM

Great concept, but an awful ending. I can understand not having a boss at the end (Scrabble-tron? Killer Spelling Bees?) but not even a pixelated fireworks display?


A little too easy to get stuck, I gave up after the 3rd time.

The last one was picking up D as the 18th letter, word matching seemed to glitch out for the exit.

crashlanding August 8, 2012 5:30 AM

that was AWESOME.

though I agree, I would have very much enjoyed a map. Though I'll admit, I only really got lost when trying to find my way back to the very last letter I needed


I really like this game, but I can't find the A, and without it I can't get the Z. Anyone mind helping?


Never mind, power of posting!

berryofnightlock August 9, 2012 10:32 PM

hehe, this game owes me approximately 37 minutes of my birthday back!
Q wasn't my last letter, hehe. It was "Y". Once I got the N and E, though, it went pretty smoothly :)


@Username: I'm very curious; how did *you* get the Q?


Pretty clever idea. The controls could use a little bit of work (jumping through tight spaces is a pain) but surprisingly entertaining.


Remarkably cool. Definitely unique (should probably have the "unique" tag added, in fact). Fun little game.

I love the way once you've got a reasonable suite of letters, you can carefully force your way into and through barriers like "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY". Very interesting little game. I approve.


After my first playthrough, I realized that not only the first letter of your name affects gameplay.

Your full name can be used to take a shortcut through a word of your choice. For example, naming yourself "MNOWN" allows you to get the Q very early on (not that this would be particularly useful, but it's the only one I tried).


Since when is Tenth not a word?



Nevermind, I missed the I in "...enith"

zxcvbn23ful August 29, 2012 9:45 AM

my last letter was y and i found that a word need
j so i go find j then i can't remember where that j needed word was silly me


excellent puzzle game but I agree it needed a better ending... hope there is a sequel...


I like the ending. It's cute. A little disappointing without a boss, but still a good way to end it. Short and to the point.

So Geoff, when do I get my 1516.57 seconds back? :)


Yeah, I'm a little disappointed that some words were not accepted; specifically, it seems really difficult, if not impossible, to clear a word by jumping into it (for example, if the word "UNDERSTAND" was vertical, I could not form "am" by jumping up to meet the "a" with "m"). It seems to work just fine with horizontal words (you can clear the Es in the horizontal "BEEEEEEEEES" just fine by putting a letter on top).



I pretty quickly decided that you were not supposed to be able to form words by jumping up to them on the vertical. Completion does not require it and if I remember correctly some words would be too easy to get that way and bypass the intended challenge of reaching them.

Q springs to mind from memory

Carny Asada August 31, 2012 7:55 PM

I like the replayability of just changing your "name." (Second letter I started with was significantly harder to finish with!)

I think you are blocked from jumping up to make a word at the start of the game because you ARE able to complete words from below later on after an upgrade. I was as frustrated as David until I realized that.


Wish it worked for me. I couldn't jump after it told me I could. I just froze :(

[Make sure your Flash Player is updated. -Jay]


Enjoyable game.

In case people didn't realize, you can only create words when your letter is standing on a surface - you can't create words while in mid-air.
The lexicon of two-letter words is pretty strange...


Very very enjoyable. Well thought out and well crafted, more towards the concept than the gameplay, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Thank you for making it Gharding3


It's possible to get stuck if you name yourself DUSELESS and keep going right.


I think the ending is hilarious.


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