A Miserable Little Pile Of Letters: ASCIIvania

By Nathan Grayson on July 24th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Bs! Bs everywhere!

What ASCIIvania lacks in vampires, whips, and lovably horrendous dialogue, it more than makes up for with letters. You collect letters. You solve puzzles involving letters. You are letters. All of them, even. It’s a pretty simple premise, actually: Half-formed words act as barriers, and you have to complete them to make them disappear back into the great alphabetically organized beyond. The rest – despite looking like a command prompt combined with the frenzied scrawlings of a mad man – is pretty traditional Metroidvania. You run, you jump, you collect powers (double jump!), and, er, backtrack. There is definitely a lot of backtracking. I molded letters into thoughts after the break. They will provide you with the greatest incremental puzzle-solving power of all: knowledge.

By and large, I enjoyed playing through ASCIIvania. Its simplicity, though, struck me as a double-edged sword, primarily due to the fact that – once I moved beyond chuckling at the initial gimmick – there wasn’t much to the puzzle-solving. But I don’t think that’s necessarily reflective of pithy puddle-like depth on the part of the central mechanic. Rather, the puzzles are just really straightforward and telegraphed. I mean, there are a few neat ideas in there – like the need to switch letters at the last second while dissolving a word so as to keep the last bit as a platform or switching letters as you leap ever higher, carefully avoiding spelling a full word lest you plummet back down to asterisk-laden loam.

Also, the word formations in each room – while amusing – don’t seem particularly coherent. That’s a shame, because I feel like sparse text (and a healthy helping of player interpretation) could both tell an interesting story and provide a motivation to keep collecting letters and progressing. So ASCIIvania’s a fun concept, and it won’t strain your brain too terribly much, but there’s quite a bit of room to grow. Anyone feel like making ASCIIvania: ASCIIymphony of the Night?

, , .

15 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. lonesock says:

    2069.409 seconds.

    Halfway through it the janitor showed up, but I just acted natural and pretended i was typing in the command line.

    I think there should be an energy requirement to change letters, towards the end I just sweeped my fingers across the keyboard until something worked.

  2. The Random One says:

    Doesn’t look that great to be honest, but I’ll take your word for it.

  3. Alexander Norris says:

    I was surprised at how much of a game this actually is, considering the premise. The metroidania-ness in something that simple also made me smile.

    It’s a bit too reliant on you picking the right first letter of your name, though.

  4. Vagrant says:

    It looks like they used the wrong side of the metroidvania ‘word.’ I suppose MetroASCII doesn’t have the same ING to it.
    [W R B M ^]

  5. Blob-World-Eye-Weary says:

    NO NOT THE BEEEEES!

  6. noom says:

    More enjoyable than expected, that. Skipped over this post earlier but quite glad I came back to it. 1554.475 seconds of my life well spent.

  7. Vegard Pompey says:

    Something about the music made me find this game really unsettling.

  8. Premium User Badge

    liquidsoap89 says:

    I don’t remember SoTN having voice acting…

    • MadTinkerer says:

      You probably blocked out the horrible dialogue and acting. It does have one of the most Engrish-tastic ending songs, though.