Stranger Than Fiction
Moon Logic Enterprises has discovered an imposing tower on a planet once thought barren and lifeless. They have recovered several stone tablets, apparently the scriptures of a lost civilization. While the excavation is still ongoing, it is up to you, a professor of xenolinguistics, to translate the text. Doing so just may unlock the mysteries of those who once inhabited it. Stuart Madafiglio presents Stranger Than Fiction, a cryptogram puzzle-based rumination on life, the universe and everything. In each puzzle, you will be presented with an untranslated passage from the alien mythology. Reconstruct the alphabet by pressing two letters in sequence on the keyboard, to switch their places, or click them on the alphabet listing at the bottom of the screen. Once each section is translated, a new one will be unlocked, 28 puzzles in all.
Stranger Than Fiction's challenges are rather on the easy side, admittedly, but the process of decoding and decrypting has a thematic unity with the parable at the heart of the story. The pacing is near-perfect, with each solution providing just enough intrigue to keep players pushing forward, while the puzzle-pondering provides the bit of reflection time that the prose deserves. The little touches, like how the final, correct alphabet for each passage will spell out words relating to it, show the amount of thought that went into the game's production, and largely, it pays off. While gameplay may have limited appeal outside of cryptogram fans, and any work with theological themes can't help but be a little provocative (even if it is alien theology), as a whole, Stranger Than Fiction presents a meditative, original, and quietly satisfying peek into another world.