The cipher is one of the worlds oldest puzzles. You’ll find it in most adventure films and fantasy books and its the trusty cipher that is what Poems & Codes delves into. An indirect sequel to Hero Game Co LLC’s Prose & Codes, this game takes poems from across history and mixed up their letters to create codes for the player to crack.
What you are buying here is a premium experience for something you could potentially get for free on a website. There is some beautiful artwork and relaxing music as each cipher is presented to you like a quill written letter. Some letters are revealed for you and you can change the difficulty to ensure that you aren’t given too much of a clue early on how to solve it. There is also an adaptive difficulty setting which how I played Poems & Codes. There are 400 to work through, containing multiple phrases from larger poems. All you need to do is highlight the letter you’d like to solve and type the letter in. The game never tells you if you are correct so there is a lovely moment of realisation as you crack certain words and things fall into place and some good quality of life features such as replacing all the same letters or highlighting all the instances of them in a phrase so you can work through each cipher quickly.
Poems are themed into categories like love, death, life, family, war and so on and once solved, they move into a library where you can view the poet, publication year and the poem in its entirety. The game is tied to Project Gutenberg which is a library of over 60,000 free e-books and so part of the proceeds supports the project. You can then download each authors entire anthology of poetry as the game links out to all the source material for you access. If you struggle with italics, there are accessibility options to give you a different larger font and the backgrounds can be swapped for a day and night theme too. Hints are available without any limit too so if you get stuck, spam away or simply skip the phrase and move on.
Poems & Codes is a simple but excellent cipher game that does exactly what it says on the tin. There is plenty to do and its presented like an old English letter. This brings me to my only tiny nit pick. When I did get stuck, it was usually due to ancient English words long forgotten being used like o’er. Just be aware some of them may throw you off and the rest of the game is a joy to play.
Poems & Codes
A lovely gem that gives the simple cipher the luxury treatment.
Over 400 phrases to decipher.
Really easy to use and the hint system lets you pass or fill things in to your needs.
Ability to download source material from Project Gutenberg.
Range of accessibility options.
Sometimes the old English phrases stump you.
A few random capitalisations of letters in the middle of words.
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