Ugly Oafs

"Ugly Oafs" is a pure language puzzler, in which the object is to defeat the Macguffin by rooting out and transforming various objects into others through the use of cyphers.

There are two levels to the game world: one above ground, and one below. The above-ground level is home to a fairly straightforward alphabet-displacement cypher, and figuring things out isn't too difficult. Most people are familiar with ROT-13. The below-ground level is harder, however, and involves a reversed alphabet on top of the displacement. In both cases, you will be spending a fair amount of time working out all the possibilities for the various objects you find, to figure out what you can or cannot do.

It's not that the game itself is really difficult. I had a devil of a time figuring out the logic behind the below-ground cypher, I admit, which is probably why I don't work for Room 50. (That, and being born about a century too late.) But once you've figured out the logic and principles behind the two cypher patters, it's all a matter of application.

What I did find, though, is that the game is pretty unforgiving. Possibly this has been fixed since then, but my version of it would freeze every time I typed in something that it did not understand. Or if I attempted to de-cypher an object in the wrong place. Given the nature of the game, this could be very frequent indeed.

I did not manage to finish the game. I was playing this on the train to Toronto, and I did not have the luxury of spreading copious notes around me or firing up a spreadsheet to help with the decoding. This is a game that calls for some heavy mental focus and resource dedication, and I was simply not in a good situation for it. Which is a shame, because I do like a good puzzle.

This is like baked beans on toast, with a sunny-side-up egg on top, and black coffee on the side. Careful you don't break the yolk as you eat it.