Digital Upgrade: Decoded

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Rating: 4.2/5 (66 votes)

DoraDigital Upgrade: DecodedNormally creepy childlike disembodied voices accompanied by distorted and vaguely unsettling images don't install a lot of confidence, but this one seems to know you. And hey, if you can't trust a mysterious shadowy being, who can you trust? In Iluvas Games' match-3/Tetris-y puzzle game Digital Upgrade: Decoded, matching and subsequently obliterating the cute little critters onscreen is the key to unlocking the memories of the strange entity that beseeches you. Use the [arrow] keys to rotate and drop the bundles of creatures onscreen into stacks, aiming for lines or grids of three or higher. As you play and your score climbs, you'll not only unlock memories and story segments, but points you can spend on upgrades or single-use power-ups that can help you clear the screen.

Play all the Digital Upgrade games:
Digital UpgradeDigital Upgrade: Decoded

Digital Upgrade: Decoded is weird. Mostly in a good way. The original, Digital Upgrade, was a fairly straight-forward match-3 title with a cheery, goofy design and concept, and Decoded expands on the original gameplay by tacking on not only a story, but more power-ups as well. While the design change is striking and lovely, and definitely impressive overall considering how cartoonish and simple the first one, how much the rest of the changes really add to the experience is debatable, and depends on how much you prefer your match-3 puzzling to be simple and streamlined. Taken on its own, the gameplay is sort of hypnotically addictive but feels detached from the interesting, though awkwardly implemented, story you're supposed to be unlocking. Allowing you to purchase and control the use of your powers will definitely help you get out of tricky situations, but at the same time sort of detracts from the fast-paced instant gratification you usually get from seeing matches burst and your score climb. In the end, Digital Upgrade: Decoded is a beautiful and addictive little game despite some underdeveloped additions to its core concept. Would the third time be the charm? Maybe, but until then, this is still a lovely little procrastination device that's just the right size and style to fill a break or three.

Play Digital Upgrade: Decoded


Very nice game -- great visuals and lovely chill-out music. I got to about 4.5 million points and reached

the first quantum

on my first play through.

It seemed to me that the trick to doing well might be skilled use of the 1 cost powers.

Reply August 3, 2012 4:36 PM

Interesting, but then I ran out of points and gave up.

Reply August 3, 2012 6:34 PM

It's still not loading. When I click the button, I get the loading screen with the alien. Then, one by one, the alien's features disappear until it's a one armed blob. Then it all goes black.
And the link on that page redirects back to the game, not here.

[Please empty your browser cache and reload the game page. There's no problem with it as far as I can tell and I've tested it in multiple browsers. The link has been fixed for quite a while now. -Jay]

Reply August 3, 2012 9:24 PM

I did and it's still not working.
And the link was not working for me for awhile after I'd posted that, too. It works now, but didn't then.

Reply August 3, 2012 9:32 PM

Now it does work, but I'm not sure what the review means by "spend points on upgrades". I thought I'd missed something the first time around, but still don't see it.


This game REALLY REALLY likes to freeze right after cutscenes.


Okay, this is eerie. I think about the Being One series for the first time in eons and a few days later it gets a new entry. I think about Digital Upgrade for the first time in a while and a few days later IT gets a new entry.

Incidentally, this entry is one of the greatest games I've ever played. The story integration with the gameplay seems a little forced, but the story itself is magnificent and the gameplay is awesomely addictive.


Wait... is it me, or do my save games keep disappearing?


It's a bit too hard for me to keep track of all the levels. I also didn't develop a good strategy, so the game was a bit too difficult for me.


I finally managed to reach...

Fourth Quantum. That was the last in-game achievement ("Shall I stay forever?"), then I managed to power-up my way to Fifth Quantum, and... nothing.

Is that it? Chona's dialogue at Fourth Quantum made it sound like there was an ending approaching. Do I get an actual ending at, like, Seventh Quantum or something?


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