The Ancients’ Tome

Space space space. Sick of it yet? Of course you’re not. Here’s some more!

I’m fully counting this as space because you defend yourself against UFOs, and UFOs are totally from space. In fact, if we wanted we could count anything as being about space! We’re entirely floating in it right now. Anyway, the point would be, Pondwater’s The Ancients’ Tome is an excellent freebie indie game that you should absolutely be playing. If you’re not running Vista. It no worky there.

Yes it is space, shut up.

The game is controlled through three rows of three keys, either QWE and down, or the numpad, with each key corresponding to an icon in your central floaty, er, thing. Combine the icons in the correct patterns and, er, stuff happens. Like staying afloat, or creating defences, or fixing your vessel’s damage. But because the icons move around, and because you’re quickly being asked to carry out very many tasks at once, your fingers are quickly a blur on the keys as you attempt to keep up with the demands. I found myself inwardly chanting, “Man, star, platform; man, star, platform; FIRE FIRE! FIRE FIRE!; face, bolt-thing,” and so on. As you progress, you reveal peculiar letters telling the story. As well you should. Thanks to roBurky for the top tip.


  1. Down Rodeo says:

    Isn’t there a utility on the forums of GameMaker that allows games made with a certain version of GameMaker to run on Vista?

    Well apparently there is (I don’t know if that is the issue here) but the Wiki is taking aaaages to respond on their site meaning I can’t get a download. Not that it would work under Wine anyway, most likely.

  2. roBurky says:

    I’m having trouble with the eighth level. Too many commands to remember!

    Edit: Done it. Phlergh. It’s very tense for what’s essentially a memory game.

  3. Grant Gould says:

    Sometime I will find the person who had the idea of making games fullscreen-and-resize-your-screen-and-screw-up-all-your-other-windows and-icons by default, and I will set his head on fire.

    I shall have to revisit this game sometime when I don’t have anything else running that I don’t want to have abruptly resized to 320×200

  4. Thesper says:

    Done it. I found the spiky single target anti UFO things were not worth it when you got bullets. 3 different key commands is too hard under fire.

    Also, with the bullets it was nice and easy to see which kind you were running low on.

    It’s a nice game, I like the way you’re always under pressure, even between waves, to shore up your defences, although it does mean you get to spend almost no time looking at anything beyond the 8 symbols in front of you.

  5. Pondwater says:

    Hey, thanks. Glad you’re liking it.

    There’s actually a Vista version at

    Sorry for the resize issues, it’s a GM technical matter.