After trying to put up with insomnia for most of the night, you decide to go on a late night walk to hopefully help you sleep better. Instead, you are sucked into a different alien world and have to find the parts of the machine that brought you there so you can get back... and hopefully get some more shut-eye before having to work the next day. AlPixel's free indie puzzle adventure game Missing Translation is a unique game, as not only are you figuring out the logic puzzles that will help reunite you with your bed, but also see if you can't figure out the native dialect. There are plenty of friendly people to attempt to talk to, and even a school that keeps its front door unlocked, but there are no stepping stones here to help you get a leg up. No cheat sheet, no easy cryptogram, just bizarre symbols you have to figure out the meaning of. If learning new languages isn't your thing, then the game can be completed without bothering with it, but if you want a challenge and a unique play, then you should also be aware that this game is also for Android devices as well (though not free), so you won't have to miss out, even on the go.
The keyboard controls most actions, with the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to move, [E] to interact with objects when a light bulb pops up over your character's head, and the [Q] button in one of the puzzles. Figuring out how to speak takes a bit of investigating... or you can read my next sentence. In the top left corner is a speech bubble, and clicking on that brings up nine dots which you can draw lines between by clicking with your mouse from one button to the next. You can connect them up, down, and side to side. It makes a beautiful chiming noise when you do so and your character says the symbol you made to what/who ever is closest to you. They reply back, and you have to figure out if they are answering, and thus what you might have said, or if just asking if you've lost your mind. It's complex and will make your brain hurt, but you know you're going to love every minute of guessing, struggling, and succeeding.
Or not. You could despise things like that. Thankfully, this game is made so that it is your choice if you want to explore or not. There are enough puzzles to give it solid gameplay even without wandering from person to person, trying to put two and two together. There are three major parts of the machine you need to get back home, but to earn those parts you have to solve 25 levels of three different types of logic puzzles. None of these come with instructions, though even if they did you couldn't read them. So part of the fun is figuring out what they want too, though none of them are overly complicated and it shouldn't take you more than a minute to see what they are asking you to do. On one or two of the puzzles, 25 stages feels a bit on the longer side, but Missing Translation has a lively and charming soundtrack, keeping your spirits up as well as you entertained. Though black and white, this world feels colorful with its random characters and surplus of cats. It makes sure it has something for all puzzle lovers. I'll be honest with you, I never did figure out the language, and I know some of you won't want to. But I suggest trying to do so, if just for a little bit. It's part of the exploration of the game, and who knows, you may surprise yourself with linguistics skills you never knew you had.
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