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.


  1. Andrew says:

    Steam page clearly states that “English language not supported”. But I don’t think that speaking Russian (I do) really helps here.

    • GrumpyCatFace says:

      Can you explain? If that’s Russian text, isn’t it part of the puzzle?

      • satsui says:

        Yes, you have to learn Russian to understand that you need to solve the puzzle. If Russian isn’t learnt, then you can’t solve how to solve the puzzle, rather you need to solve the puzzle by Russia. Lock up Hillary, thanks.

      • Andrew says:

        I didn’t played it, so I can only guess from screenshots and video, but text itself is trying to be very incomprehensible. For example, popup on first screenshot ↑ says something like:

        You need: her “yes”, “her” no, ten empty, clicked empty, half of a “охренеть” (word on the left there, means WTF more or less), cancel, reply, check, no check.

        Etc. So, it’s helpful, kinda, but not that much.

        What I mean is, that maybe Alice is onto something there: while I’m sure I can solve it faster, maybe game meant to be played by people who don’t speak Russian. Or at least can be played by people who don’t speak Russian. Donno.

  2. protorp says:

    And, this exemplifies why this site is one of only 3 (BBC and Metafilter being the other 2) that I’ve reliably checked every day I’ve had an internet connection for the past many, many years. Don’t ever change, RPS ♥

  3. Foglet says:

    Thought 1: It isn’t much more comprehensible in Russian.
    Thought 2: Crap, look who occupied the top of my “Games” list forever.

  4. BaronKreight says:

    There is a russian word for this – тарабарщина whcih means gibberish.

  5. kovarling says:

    I can’t understand this text even when I am Russian. This texts definitely make no sense

  6. jripson says:

    По русски тут тоже полная хрень написана, так что не нужно вам его учить.

  7. shevtsov200 says:

    If you are interested, the game has been translated into English.