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>!/ ^&( $#!# )#?

Lexico is a strange puzzle game that lets you explore a facility by deciphering an alien language.

The Graphics:

Totally custom, I do believe. The game has a very simplistic style reminiscent of the days of old computer games like Captain Comic. They may seem a bit crude at times, but they don’t clash with each other in the least, and you rarely have to wonder what it is you’re looking at.

The Audio:

According to the credits in the game’s Readme, the music was made custom for the game and the sounds come from “the public domain.” The BGMs played are very ambient and somewhat bizarre at times. They establish the facility setting quite well, and help keep things calm and peaceful (which is perfect for the kind of gameplay involved). Aside from the occasional musical quirks and the tendency of the tracks to run into one another, things are generally easy on the ears.

The Story:

The game’s story is revealed as you solve puzzles and progress through the facility. Only the smallest hint of background is given at the beginning of the game, and the rest must be construed from the game itself. I can’t say what it’s all about exactly, as I didn’t get far enough to discover anything significant. The story is as much a mystery as the rest of the game world.

The Characters:

Not an entirely important area for this game. The only important character is you, the nameless silent hero. There are a number of NPCs around the facility to talk to, and each of them has a unique name. Unfortunately, they don’t stand out from each other much, and remembering who’s who is almost impossible. You might recall one’s dialect or another’s location, but putting names to faces when they refer to each other is difficult. Furthermore, it never benefits you to know who’s where because finding someone to talk to is not a required objective (at least, not that I could tell). All of them are ultimately unimportant to the plot, as they seem to be just extra clues to help you solve your way through the games puzzles.

The Gameplay:

This game is designed entirely around exploration and puzzle solving. It’s most peculiar, since a great deal of the game’s challenge comes from the unknown alien language present in all areas. Figuring out the meaning of each glyph you encounter isn’t necessary for you to progress, but chances are you won’t understand the consequences of your actions without knowing what the symbols mean. You can discover the meanings of the characters by trial and error or observation, but you’ll never know if you deciphered correctly for sure. Whether your guess is right or wrong, the game won’t tell you. You can change the definition you gave a symbol anytime you encounter it, which leaves everything open to subjectivity. Although this sounds tedious, it’s actually works surprisingly well. Keeping all the true definitions secret lets you identify the symbols in a way you personally understand them, and further lets you modify those personal definitions as you see fit. It’s not important to find out the exact meaning of the glyphs, but only to understand what they mean for you in your current situation.

The Design:

Sadly, the construction of the facility is not too user-friendly. Many areas resemble one another closely (an NPC even makes note of this), and it can be confusing to navigate at times. The game has a built-in map system that lets you find where you are easily, but it’s still difficult to tell where you’re trying to get to without memorizing the pathways yourself. The mapping is also very plain in some areas, making the long strolls between locations a bit boring. Exploration issues aside, though, I only found one graphical error in all of what I played through, and it was merely cosmetic. You won’t be walking on walls or any other such mistakes, but you may end up banging your head on one out of frustration from having to hike between puzzle areas.

In short, Lexico is a puzzle game that keeps you guessing with its mysterious alien glyphs and your understanding of their effects in the game world. The game proudly announces in its Readme that it is quite hard, and that’s no understatement. Solving problems requires lots of intuition, observation, and patience. Give it a go if you’re up to thinking critically.

I didn’t play it all the way through (I got stuck on the temperature puzzle), but based on what I saw, I give this a:

5/10

The game works the way it’s supposed to for the most part, and I only found one serious error. But the time spent between important locations may become tedious if you just can‘t figure out what to do next, and the puzzles are decent (but not spectacular).

Posts

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halibabica, what would you say was the biggest detriment to the game's score? From your review, I assume it is the amount of traipsing about you have to do.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
10743
You pretty much said it: the traipsing. Also the mostly bland environments, to be honest. Don't forget, though, I have a set of standards for the scores I give games. This game fell into the 5 to 6 range, so you could say it ended up on the lower section of "good." Anything 4 and below would be below average or have technical issues, while anything 7 and up would be above average or shine in some way. I didn't really feel this shined too much, so that's where the score came from. It's not a bad game; it works properly and does what it was meant to do. It's just not that outstanding to me.
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