The CryptoGame

by Manan Singh profile


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
by E.K.

Cryptographic intern? I want that as my summer job!

This is a good example of a game that succeeds in being both educational and entertaining. A large part of the game involves reading through a potted history of cryptography, featuring various cipher techniques, encryption/decryption methods, and tools to help you crack the codes that you’re given in your role as an intern for the AGIL private investigations company. Basically, the game is one long cryptography lesson.

Fortunately, the mystery that the cryptography lesson is based around is a compelling one. A cryptographer has gone missing, leaving no trace but coded messages to his distraught wife. It’s your job to decode those messages, and in doing so you unfold a story with many twists and turns, that keeps you hooked in until the end.

The game is made up of 14 sections, each of which is presented as a task from your employers, with their correspondence and related chapters in a parallel cryptography manual. For the most part, each section increases the complexity of the encryption method, from simple substitution ciphers to binary/hexadecimal. It would be impossible even for the greatest mathematical mind to decode the later stages without computer help, and therefore the tools provided are essential. They are, additionally, well-programmed and have a simple, functional UI. However, they also reduce the ‘game’ aspect quite significantly. The vast majority of your code-breaking is simply choosing the correct mode and inputting strings in the right field (and this information is given freely in the correspondence).

Essentially, I would have liked to have seen more freedom in the game, or more personal puzzle-solving. For example, if the end mystery required you to go back and discover un-signposted codes within your own correspondence, that would be putting what you had learnt into practice. Or for some bonus content, on solving each section you could get some extra puzzles unrelated to the storyline but using the encryption type you had to solve in that part. Obviously this would be a *lot* more work for the developer, but these suggestions should be taken as an indication that I enjoyed myself greatly during the game, and would have liked even more.

One minor quibble that I had was that there were grammar and spelling issues throughout. These weren’t too problematic, but for a game that involves linguistics (even if it is more on the mathematical side), I felt that more proof-reading and attention to detail would have been beneficial.


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