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A member registered Apr 19, 2018 · View creator page →

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(I also appreciate that "high score" means high difficulty instead of "survive for a really long time -- normally I don't like high-score games because they get more tedious as you get better.)

I decided to play this instead of Extreme Ironing and it's really fun! I like how the fast enemies force you to constantly juke and avoid line-of-sight, while the slower ones effectively alter the shape the playing field by requiring you to keep some distance. Reminds me of playing tag against multiple taggers.

High Score: 50, I think?

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If it's for non-commercial purposes, go for it! Feel free to modify it however you like. Just do not insert ads, and if posted publicly, please link to or

I just "released" the project on github here, if that helps:

Thanks! I have added that to the recommended apps.

Icely has a nice edited playthrough here, though he kinda advises against watching it due to issues with the background music:

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed puzzle 6 and the double zodiac, those were some of my favorites. Puzzle 11 was absolutely meant as a two-way street, I'm actually surprised that many people didn't use it as a key to the remaining puzzles. I guess it's because of the "puzzles should be attempted in the order given" thing.

In puzzle #8, the f9 glyph is an evil milk carton, to help players confirm that "foe carton" is correct.

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Small Hint 3: You are allowed to use the Wikipedia search bar.

Big Hint: Some other words I could have used [(ohg qvq abg) vapyhqr "Guhzocevag", "Pubpbyngr Puvc", naq "Qvtrfgvir"].

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Small Hint 1: An hour ago, I updated puzzle #1 to replace "Eclipse" with "Rosette". (edit: Because "Eclipse" was not helpful/accurate.)

Small Hint 2: Skip puzzle #1 until after [rot13] lbh unir qbar chmmyr ryrira.

- Puzzles A and F can each give you a starting tile.

- The upper-right corner of the uncut version might be helpful to look at. (It is not a red herring.)

Thanks! The idea of having hidden categories was what initially inspired me to make this.

Hope you enjoy finding n15, I actually just added that challenge in the most recent update. If you watch Icely's playthrough, you'll see that puzzle #12 is quite different. (And JoePlaysPuzzleGames played a version with a simpler n15 solve.)

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Thanks for the feedback! A few others were also confused by the ending, so I'm now planning to replace the circle and squiggly line with just a few normal blots [covering just 5-10 letters total]. Less fancy, but hopefully more clear and more satisfying.

I added two more deck slots. Thanks for the idea! I had originally planned to have those very early in development and then completely forgot.

(No balance changes yet, except 53 was increased 20 --> 24 turns long.)

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Ah, maybe I should tone down the difficulty then, if every level seemed tough even with every lab stone. Perhaps most players were winning with a specific strategy that I recently nerfed. I'll make a few tweaks to most levels in the next few days.

Also, great idea about deck slots, I'll plan on adding some shortly. Shouldn't be too tricky to do. I think I'll have it unlock after Level 7 so players aren't overwhelmed too fast.

oops, lol. yeah, I meant #5.

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In v1.18, puzzle #3 had two visible listed words: "TH _ _ E" (in position 8) and " _ _ _ IS _" (in position 6). The blots in the latter are a bit of a red herring.

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Thanks for the stream! Misc thoughts:

  • Sorry 97 has a less elegant layout, but I want to ensure that players who skip 23 in a 20-battle challenge run don't get screwed over at the very end.  And my hope is that, for new players, the usefulness of 23-stone will feel like a clever deduction now, rather than being obviously forced.
  • Those were some nice final battles (vs 100) -- I didn't make that fight harder, it's just somewhat luck-based given the variety in his deck.
  • I've updated the game to remove the -1 stone from Room 2 of the lab, since it did seem a little broken to get it so early (and have two of them). I might nerf a couple mid-game fights to compensate, but I haven't decided which ones yet.
  • Oh neat, I didn't think about how the Winning Deck trackers can be used to plan ahead for a 20-battle run. Great idea!
  • Oh no! I didn't mean to shorten the 19 fight (20 --> 16 turns) in hard mode, only in easy mode where the board is easier! That makes the fight even harder! I'll fix that today. [edit: Wait, you won?! I posted this right before watching the last minute-and-a-half of the stream.]

In case you're interested: I finished making my own word search book, 12 Word Searches. (It's free.) The puzzles get tricky later on, so solving takes at least 2-3 hours. (Sadly there are not many drawings in it, just puzzles.)

Oof, I forgot how tough I made that fight. Most of your decks seemed good, it's just a tough fight that requires looking one turn ahead every turn. The AI is slightly exploitable as you saw when winning (he won't destroy two of his own stones to set up a good move), but there's also a specific strategy I use when playing that fight:

[] Qba'g cynl n fgbar vs vg'yy trg qrfgeblrq vzzrqvngryl -- xrrc vg va unaq. Gura, svyy va n ovt ertvba nyy ng bapr, yrnivat ab tncf fb gung ur pna'g rnfvyl qrfgebl vg.?

Given how tough the 5 and 19 fights are, I'm thinking I might add a 3rd difficulty level of "Normal" difficulty, between the current ones.

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Eureka -- I figured out the weird sprite! Even though it's an old version of 59, it's also used in the game as 65-stone. You used 65- and 5-stone in your deck to solve a puzzle, then went back to beat the tutorial. No glitch involved!

[I somehow missed this when looking at the spritesheet, I only noticed when watching the posted video where the player accidentally made 65 while deckbuilding!]

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Regarding the orientation of the final "word" (n15), here's how my logic for how it works:

The trick with Puzzle 12 is that its 12 "words" don't need to actually be words, they just have to be the leftovers.

All leftovers are read top-to-bottom, so the canonical leftovers include nonsense like "foec@rton" (f9). The leftovers are not the reversed versions like "deliver" (hence no "d7" clue). You can confirm this via the bottom-right hints, and also the bottom-left hints of puzzle 12. So for consistency, the bottom of page 12 must say "n15" just like it says "f8". *

The reason I did it this way is so that when the leftovers ( "reviled", "foecart0n",  "nowevahwonuoysa", etc.) get written backwards on the right side, the result is a perfectly-readable left-to-right message that's hard to miss.

Hope that makes sense!

*unless I changed the bottom of 12 to have hints like "n8" for "notraceof".

Oh right, I forgot that players don't care about the order! Thanks for the tip. That actually makes me more inclined to use the separated blanks, to give guidance on which word goes where... otherwise players might think the D clue is for REVILED instead of DRAWER. Plus, that'll help avoid the situation where you went down each column. I will keep the bottom hints uncovered.

I don't want to add blank lines to #11, as I want to officially reveal the 12 Words twist at #12, but I might add one green glyph to #11 to discourage players from placing word randomly at the top.

(By the way, every puzzle does have some sort of ordering, but sometimes its just alphabetical or has an arbitrary starting point.)

3. How about extra hints and individual __s, to nudge players toward filling out the word list? The "D" and "N" on the right would hopefully clarify the proper orientation of words. (I specifically want the message spelled out via a two-column list because the canonical leftovers are, e.g. "reviled" (r7) not "deliver" (d7), as shown by the bottom-right corners.)

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I do like the idea of somehow checking or requiring that the player gets the message, but I'm not sure how to do it.

I could perhaps make the blanks more enticing to fill in, at least for the printable version:

But this might tempt players to try solving it too soon? And it might be too helpful? (e.g. spoiling puzzle 6) And tedious when solving on PC.

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Ooh interesting, nobody else has mentioned starting at #4! I did purposely make all the words orthogonal on the off-chance somebody would. I wonder if anybody will start sooner than that... I suspect #3 is the earliest possible (with its small green hint in the printable version).

Poetic considerations aside, "The word searches are done / _______" would actually be counterproductive since the checkbox is for the players who just found "as you now have won" and thought that was the whole message. I might revise the checkbox message to "Fill out 12th word list" or "Write 12th word list" or something. (I assume you found the full message since you mention the "meanings of the even-numbered leftovers"?)

(By the way, I reduced the listed total from ___/150 to ___/144 in v1.18 so that players like JoePlaysPuzzleGames won't worry that there's 6 secret words if they forget about Puzzle 0. And to give stuck players a hint that there are 12 groups of 12.)

Oh, thanks for mentioning Xournal... when installing it I somehow hid the top menu immediately (F10?) and thought there was no preferences menu to enable right-click erase! That's what I meant by slow. After looking into it, I've updated the page to recommend it more highly.

The 3 points you got stuck were definitely intended to be the hardest, but for puzzle 1, looking up lists is absolutely expected/recommended. I think I'll add that info somewhere to the no-zero edition, since I put "using an encyclopedia is permitted" on page 0.

I'll also be pushing the latest updates to no-zero edition since lots of people seem to be downloading it. Though I'm not sure I recommend that version.

JoePlaysPuzzleGames has a full playthrough here:

Ah yes, that is intentionally one of the toughest parts. Everything is correct so far. You may want to solve 2 before 11.

For more of a hint: Chmmyr 6 grnpurf na vzcbegnag ehyr.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Glad you appreciated the misdirect in 2, that was my favorite bit.

1. For what its worth...  all blotted letters are actually there, under the blots!

2. Ah, good to know. It was meant to reference the previous puzzle's theme, astronomy. I'll see about finding a better name. Perhaps just "Signs".

3. Oh, right! I've been meaning to clue that a bit better. Any suggestions? I might add a second single-letter clue to a different blank, like the "A" clue. Or And I could add something to the last page like "Message received?" in green ink or "Message Received: [checkbox]" in an orange box.

Thanks! Regarding #5 and #6: Yes and yes. (There's a few other red-herring blots on #5 as a subtle hint.)

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Nope, you've found everything. 0-stone = "nullstone", but I guess I didn't actually put that in the game's writing anywhere! Oops.

The third difficulty is something I plan to add in the near future, not in the game yet.

As for the winning deck against battle 1, it might be because you lost the initial tutorial fight, and then came back and beat it much later? Or it's a glitch. I have absolutely no idea, I guess a random unused sprite somehow got loaded in-place of X-stone or something??? The Unity Resources folder is weird sometimes I guess.

Wow! Congrats on solving without using any, that must be pretty tricky! The "tutorial" for those hints was the highlighting in puzzle 11. Each hint at the bottom gives you information about one word from the puzzle.

Thanks for the feedback. Balancing late levels was tough because there are so many different strategies players might be using, and also some players will unlock more lab rooms than others.

Were you able to do the lab puzzles? They give access to some powerful cards. I will try to push an update soon that makes those puzzle less cryptic.

At least when playing Challenge difficulty, my intent was for the player to:

  • Use some cards from the Laboratory (unlocked via puzzles). (Though I've confirmed that this isn't strictly necessary.
  • Change their deck to specifically counter weird fights such as 37, 53, 89, and 97.
  • Skip some of the non-boss levels if desired. (You can come back later with more energy.)

Should I make any of these assumptions more clear in the game?

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Mining battles unlock a "card" (a mining pick), but not the last stone. That one is up to you to figure out. The lab will be helpful, though the stone can be obtained almost anywhere.

Thanks for playing! I just realized I forgot to push a major update! Refresh the game and re-check the lab... there should be a new piece of equipment to help you find that last stone!

(Note that n15 "in reverse" is actually n15 forwards. Just like f8, n15 is a message in reverse and nonsense read forward. Just, n15 is a bit more explicitly nonsense.)

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[SPOILERS of course, and unnecessary word-of-god-ing]

Symbolically, I didn't mind breaking the rule because to me the game was never about "real words" (a rather arbitrary category), but rather the sets of 12. NOWEV.....YSA fits the theme of puzzle 12, and so IMO its valid. (After all, f8 f9 of puzzle 8 is effectively gibberish, so why not have actual gibberish?)

...but that's basically a post-hoc excuse. The real reason I changed is that the shorter message was often confusing to players, and seemed a bit anticlimactic, and I couldn't come up with a suitable long semi-palindrome.

You can making LACKINGANY by adjusting one or two words. Your solution to 1 is otherwise valid, except that you didn't match L10. (I think the solution to 1 is unique given the L10 clue but I'm not certain.)

I haven't actually played Lock myself, but I enjoyed Keith Ballard's playthrough and was super impressed by how the 2-layer structure worked well with open-ended and hidden puzzles.


Thanks! (I've followed his channel a while and I'm hyped to see the rest of the play-through.)