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The Grimoire

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Rating: 3.3/5 (85 votes)
Comments (42) | Views (7,926)

The GrimoireAlone in a library, you find a mysterious book that quite literally draws you in. You'll have to learn every lesson it contains if you ever want to be seen again.

Theme interpretation: "Within the context of the game, the player has come across a book of magic that traps any reader inside it. They must master the spells and lessons of the book before it will let them escape.

I tried to run with the idea of the player being someone who is literally trapped in a game-like environment, so they're not only playing someone trying to escape something, but playing someone who is forced to play a "game" of sorts to escape something." -Jonathan Birch, of Star and Tree.

Play The Grimoire


Am I the only one having trouble

Decoding the cuneiform writing?
I know the text is in reverse, but either way just gives me garbage. Not anagrams, not cryptograms.
-So lost-


wlangford: Remember,

the text is in another language - that is, it is not English.


The magic words you've seen already have all been in the diamond shape, so the new magic words will be, as well. You can try them out "blind" and see what they do.


Interesting. I enjoyed it, but being sent all the way back to the beginning was a little annoying when I was near the end. It reminds me a little of Tork, even though I know that's a different kind of game.


This game says "Use Chrome, Safari or IE9". I believe it: the game doesn't work in my Firefox, but it does work in my Chrome.

Speed typing puzzles are still obnoxious though.


No, I got that part. I just wanted to translate the rest of it.


Bad bug: You can get to the second stage (critters), without having learned everything in the first stage.

If you know how to go fast, you can beat critters, but then get stuck in the next stage...and no way to go back to the very first one to find out what you missed.


wlangford: I'm just glad that I didn't think of the possibility that it could be cryptograms. I would probably have stayed there for hours.


I tried to like it, I really did. Not my style of game I'm afraid. You lost me as soon as I had to decode two full pages of crypt.

Shame, the idea seemed nice.

nerdypants September 5, 2012 6:56 PM

I'm not really a fan of this one. Maybe if I didn't have to learn new words, but instead could just type "fire" or whatever, I'd have liked it better.


The idea is interesting, but seems more like a platformer than an escape game. I'm still trying to figure out the letters for the shrinking spell, but there's a bunch of possibilities since a few of the cuneiform letters look similar. My best guess is:


but that apparently isn't correct.


But of course "A" and "I" seem to be about the same symbol (perhaps one is higher up than the other?) which makes other letter combinations possible.


A tip for reading the

Iram cuneiform: If you're having trouble separating the characters, each horizontal triangle represents a single character. Each of these horizontal triangles are either at the top, middle or bottom of the character. Each one also has 0-3 vertical triangles intersecting it.

Also, don't try decrypting the text besides the magic word. The rest of the text is gibberish(or some well hidden cryptogram, I don't think I could figure it out if it was) and includes some characters not included in the translation key.

I hope that makes it easier to get through those segments. They do look pretty overwhelming, and I know I was tempted to stop when I got to them.


I actually liked this one for the very reason it was criticized above--it's not just another plain jane ole' escape game. Seems to be the only that is actually a creative use of the theme. Thank you, Jonathan Birch, for that!

My only critique is that there aren't any save points. Early on, not that big a deal, but as the game progressed (and I'm very tired so that has a lot to do with it), I just wasn't as interested in going through all the stages to get back to a near-ending death point.

MmeTurbulence September 6, 2012 11:42 AM

Ugh. The game doesn't capture backspace, but instead a backspace keypress activites the "go back" button in the browser, effectively resetting the game. Even worse, the magic string of letters for each command changes each time you reload the game. Since I have a strong instinct that I can't break to hit backspace the second I realize I've mistyped a letter (something that happens OFTEN in speed typing games), this is a game-breaking oversight for me.


To respond to a few of the comments here:

MmeTurbulence - I hadn't thought of people trying to use backspace, but I can see why what you describe is a problem. I'll see if I can patch that issue this evening.

Alkalannar -

I agree that you can get through the Magical Creatures chapter without getting the third spell from the first chapter, but you never need it. The third spell makes a couple pages easier, but it's possible to get through the entire book without ever using it. It shouldn't be possible to get through the second chapter without the second spell though. Also, you can just go backwards to pages you've already visited to return to the first chapter.

Wlangford -

The text is translatable, but it is a matter of translating it. The unlisted character represents a space, and the rest of the text is phonetically spelled Japanese. I put that in as sort of an easter egg though. My expectation is for people to just get the spell words and try them to see what they do. The rest of the text is intentionally less than helpful even if translated.



Ooh, that sounds interesting to translate.

Anyways, to actually talk about the game, I agree that a save point would have been nice. Like I said before, the coded pages were somewhat confusing and overwhelming when I first saw them. Also, I kind of question whether I was supposed to

burn down the first labyrinth page to get through.

It seems like the only solution, but it feels like cheating after trying to get through the page normally.

Hm. I'm thinking, but I can't seem to find anything really substantial to criticize. It's a solidly designed game with a fascinating premise. I guess the only thing I didn't like was that it ended!


Not sure if we're supposed to comment on the design, but as soon as I started reading I felt that it would be much friendlier if the non-title/spell text were in simpler fonts/sans-serif.

That aside, I love the idea of the game - it's refreshing for an escape game. Though, I think checkpoints or save points would be very helpful :)


@MmeTurbulence - backspace issue should be fixed now :)

@jony7 -

That's certainly the easiest way, and largely the intended one. I suspect it's possible to do without doing that, but likely very hard.

Alkalannar September 7, 2012 3:25 PM

@Jonathan Birch

Once you get to Spells of Iram, while you can get back to the Table of Contents, you cannot go back up to Lesser Magic, since there's a line in the way.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlDu_4CvtDUjLajy5f-Hmi7pAJdGJHBpl0 September 7, 2012 8:15 PM

Hello, I agree, starting at the beginning is a very bad design choice. IMHO, casual gaming isn't about doing it all over again and again. If I die, please let me start on the screen before I died so that I can spend time moving forward in the game rather than rehashing the same screens over and over. Thanks, Tom


I found this frustrating but ultimately satisfying. Having to take notes and refer to them constantly was almost a dealbreaker for me - I finally broke down and "cheated" with a screen capture for one section - but I liked the sense of accomplishment from completing it, and from figuring out some of the puzzles.

One simple thing that would have helped for me is some sort of feedback to indicate that my typing was received in some way. It felt odd to just type and wonder if I'd mistyped or mistranslated or what if it didn't work.


I really wanted to enjoy this game, but it was just too frustrating. All that time having to translate, and then having to start from the beginning if you die. It just wasn't fun.


I almost quit the game outright when I saw the page full of Iramic writing. From the comments here I gather that I only actually need to translate the spell name

(the right-to-left text is a very nice touch)

but you might lose a lot of players at this point if they think you're going to make them decipher the entire page. I know I could have just deciphered the spell name and tried it out, but I didn't want to waste time on the game if it was later going to give me a puzzle that required information elsewhere on the page.

btw, that's not really Cuneiform, is it? It looks to me like a modified

binary code. Again, clever touch.



Do I actually have to go through Lesser Magical Creatures again every time I get killed in the Labyrinth? I'm going to give up on this game. It's interesting, but I'm kind of clumsy and I'm not willing to pay that price that many times.


Sorry, I gave up after discovering that the first translated spell of the cuneiform thingy was not an automatic translator for further cuneiform thingies, which I very strongly suggest it should be.

Looking up in translation tables is one of the dumbest tasks existing, that's what we invented computers for, among other things. I play puzzlers to enjoy some casual mind challenges, not to get forced to perform repetitive tasks.


Oh, I also wanted to say that the game's premise of becoming a symbolic being inside the book is an intriguing plot device, and using HTML5 is a plus, in my book (sorry, couldn't resist the pun.) But you definitely "lost me in translation".

havendreamer September 11, 2012 9:18 PM

Does the last cuneiform spell do anything?

I have translated it to "KIDED", is this the correct spelling? And if so, why is there no effect that goes with it?


So, I absolutely love the concept, and in general the execution is quite nice. However, I would have ragequit a long time ago if this were any normal game, and the only reason I haven't ragequit yet is because I wanted to play all the contest games all the way through. I still may ragequit anyway. Seriously -- don't make me go through the lesser creatures every time I lose in the labyrinth. It's infuriating and pointless and makes me resent all the time I've spent on this game. I think it would be a fabulous game if only it weren't so annoying. All you'd have to do is open a little space between the lines. Make it so small that you can only get through it

with the Iram spell for shrinking

so you couldn't use it until you'd completed the first section and deciphered the Iram text. The way it is now, though.... ugh.


soo - this game looks like fun but for some reason won't register my typing - so I can't even get past the room where you try out the first spell (on windows using IE)


pop - was typing wrong word, feel stupid now


Ok, I rescind my earlier comment. After playing all the other games, I put the effort in to play, and complete this one.

Firstly @Jony7 & J Birch:

Damn! I did that level without burning the maze, didn't even think of that:
Go small, Go up to top right as far as possible, and leave Teleport shadow, go small, go down to bottom, go big, activate shield, activate pad. Wait for door to go down, then as the eye next to you fires, Teleport, then go small and run through the closing door.

Once I was equipped with a pencil and paper, this game became much better, and I enjoyed finishing it, even learned the spells off by heart by the end, go me.


@havendreamer The spell names are randomized each time you load the game, so no one else can tell you what the name is. Many of the letters look very similar to each other, so that might be what's throwing your translation off.



That's an excellent idea. I'm seeing if I can't make a change of that sort now.


And there, updated to incorporate a shortcut to the labyrinth if you've already made it past chapter 3.


Awesome! I know what I will be doing this evening! I really do think that change elevates this to a fantastic game.


Love it. I am willing to look over the shortcomings others have pointed out because...

I just don't care about that. Deciphering the iramic text was fun, learning how to use the spells was a blast, the puzzles were brilliant...

It was just wholly enjoyable for me. Now, I can see why others wouldn't enjoy it. But... I'm just like that.


A couple of things that killed it for me:

-The wall of text that screamed to be deciphered, for nothing.

-Even with the change, not starting right outside the labyrinth after each death.

-The "memory test". That just seems insulting. Luckily I guessed correctly on the first try, because if I hadn't, I wasn't going to try again. It's not a puzzle, so it feels like filler. Does not belong with the rest of the game.

All in all, not a bad game, but not great. And certainly not a top contender for this competition, at least in my book. Interesting concept, and I grew to like it, but it definitely took some getting used to. Keep making tweaks to it, and it could be alot better.

hikari no sakura September 25, 2012 9:59 PM

Am I the only one who have trouble reading the fancy font used for the spells? I'm stuck at the 2nd spell cos I can't figure out the last letter.


I'm giving up almost immediately. It's no fun at all having to be super-careful to avoid being sent back to the beginning.

For those who actually like games like that, maybe you could provide a running counter of the number of deaths.


No, this game is horrible. No save system so you have to do it in one playthrough, death sends you ALL THE WAY TO THE START OF THE GAME, and the words CHANGE EVERY TIME. Which would be tolerable... IF IT DIDN'T HAVE THAT STUPID TEXT AS WELL TO TRANSLATE!

Great concept, HORRIFIC execution!

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkkNS2JixQjMsWzuU8qedK_sZ6xLEtk-tk June 14, 2013 8:20 PM

Perhaps I'm missing something obvious, but I cannot translate the text of even the First thrice-(redacted) spell! Also, Google hasn't a clue as to what iramic text or lettering is! How am I to play this at all?!


I would like to like this game, but typing with one hand and moving with the other, or stop moving to type a spell is just plain annoying. Besides that, I notice that I just can't remember the spells. I didn't have that problem in Suveh Nux, or Tork, but the words here are just too nonsensical and too similar to each other. They all seem to be consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant and I kept forgetting if it's molev, malex or molex; or bovuz, bovuv or bodoz. Even writing them down and practicing them a few times didn't help, I can't really use the spells if I have to keep looking them up in my notes. Also, the letters are often far away from each other on the keyboard, making typing them all the more annoying - and memorization harder.


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