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This "incomprehensible" puzzler is twisting my melon


    After twenty minutes of playing ШП, I still can’t tell whether the text is all in Russian to be mysterious and disorienting or simply because the puzzle game’s maker speaks Russian. ШП is a collection of three puzzle games made of disparate Windows UI elements – a mish-mash of buttons, sliders, boxes, sliders, and pop-ups all over. Developer Xitilon proudly describes the interface as “incomprehensible” and yup, that sounds right. So if the UI we’re puzzling through is incomprehensible, something we’re supposed to be baffled by, does it really even matter if the text is Russian? I have spent 20 minutes and £0.79 puzzling over this and enjoyed myself either way.

    ШП wants us to drag sliders, click buttons, and generally muck around trying to find a solution. I have no idea what happens when it is reached. I don’t know how I’d even know. This is the first game’s loading screen:

    Okay then. And this is a random blast of me playing it:

    Okay, maybe those messages would make at least some sense if I spoke Russian. I believe Xitilon is in Ukraine and the game’s Steam page does warn “English language not supported” so yep, I’m pretty sure it’s simply not intended for the likes of me.

    That hasn’t stopped me from poking, prodding, and clicking, trying to divine any sense from it. I have enjoyed being mystified. If it’s meant to be baffling, does the language barrier really cause that much trouble? I love the idea that I might be able to solve it by deduction – or by accident. The dream is doubly exciting considering some wrong moves will close the game outright.

    Supposedly the first puzzle of the collection can be solved in only 69 clicks and the second in around 40. I’m well into the thousands by now. But maybe…

    If you’re curious (or if you can speak Russian), ШП is on Steam for £0.79/€0.99/$0.99.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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