A text-adventure puzzler, but you don't know the language. Made for the GMTK jam 2018 "genre without mechanic".

  • Click doors, notes on the floor, and other glowing objects to interact with them
  • Type commands in the black bar at the bottom to manipulate non-interactable objects (and make them interactable)
  • Commands are all lowercase. Also, check for typos before writing off your attempt as wrong!
  • Take notes! If you're unsure about something, looking at your commands side-by side and comparing meanings is the best way to figure it out.
  • If you're stuck, there are hints both in the itch.io comments and the reddit thread from me and other players.

I'm working on a sequel / expanded version of this game (with a new language), so if you're interested in more Themengi Content follow me on twitter!

Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(2 total ratings)
GenrePuzzle, Adventure
TagsGame Maker's Toolkit Jam, language, Short, Singleplayer, Text based


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Wow! This is a really awesome idea!

I aplaud! If you do make a full version, i will kiss you (Maybe you could also send me the whole lexicon).

this was fun!


Thanks! Glad you liked it :) I'm working on an expanded version, if you're interested you can read about it at https://vgel.me/themengi

!!!! exciting!


Yay linguistics!


Fun game even though it's short. I really liked that you actually used a different grammar with verb-final word order and affixes, instead of just doing English with different words.

Is this an actual conlang you made or just a few words made specifically for the game? Also what's the phonology of the language, if there is one? I was just using 'ng' /ŋ/ or /ŋg/, 'th' /θ/, 'tz' /ts/, 'q' /tʃ/ and direct IPA values for everything else when pronouncing words in my head.


I didn't think too much about the phonology. I'd say your interpretation was reasonably close to what I had in mind, except I imagined <q> as /kw/ (can't do the superscript here but labialized k) because english. i'd like to incorporate more phonology if I redid this concept, i was just worried in a 48hr jam it'd be hard to tune the difficulty of it so i just went the easy route and didn't implement e.g. sound changes.

if you're interested i actually put together a short inventory of themengi's lexicon and (very minimal) grammar, which i could send you if you want. it's like 20 words just about, most of them used in some way or another in the game. it's very far from a full conlang -- i've never made a conlang before and dont really know much about them beyond poking at sindarin a bit. i am a ling student, which helped, but i definitely want to learn more about conlanging if i was to redo this.


No need to send the whole language if it's covered in the game already, I just have a question about one word. Is "jigu" an adjective, an adverb, or both? It seemed to be used as both, meaning something akin to "up", but I wasn't sure.

It's a nice attempt at a conlang, especially with the time constraint you had. Conlanging for games like what you did is something I'm very interested in, and I'm hoping to one day develop a simple text input system like Themengi's but able to accept arbitrary grammars and lexicons, in order to have procedurally generated languages used by NPCs that you have to learn in an adventure game.


yeah my goal also is to be able to procedurally generate new grammars and form equivalent sentences between them and get to play with that aspect in a game :)

jigu was meant to be an adjective meaning 'up' in the same paradigm as bang/dang. you could probably analyze it as an adverb if you wanted though :)

I mean, I'd like that!

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This would be amazing as a full game, though i think the odd grammar rules needs to be taught more clearly so people don't get stuck so easily. A few examples to help you understand problems 

**(Spoilers for people reading comments)**:

1. When I was first asked "Which one" in reference to the doors, I typed "Bang", not understanding that the word needs to be part of the full command (Though this might actually be a problem with text-adventures themselves and not your language)

2. When looking at the 2 creatures, big and small, they look morphologically different. This might confuse players into thinking that the second creature is completely different to the first, and is not simply a "bigger version". This, along with the foreign language making it hard to see "ki" as a separate modifier upon the word (since it is the first word seen on the poster from left to right, making the player think it is the original, and therefore correct) makes the area hard to comprehend.

3. A more obvious indicator of what can be clicked and used with the mouse and what needs to be typed would be helpful. The fact that the doors need to be opened with typing, but moved through by mouse (unlike other text games, which would you move with typing as well) can create confusion, since both actions are on the same door, but with different inputs. Another example is in the 3rd room, where i didn't understand that I could pick up the key with my mouse, and thought that "jigu" meant key, since the arrow was pointing in the box. (Though I understand this is a constraint of creating enough models in time, so you couldn't create another box)

Lastly, a more obvious sense of moving from room to room (maybe different coloured walls?) would be helpful, because otherwise it is hard at the start to understand if you are making any progress, or are just getting flung back and the door closing everytime you make progress.

This is an amazing game, and would be even better if expanded upon, I just thought I would give you some constructive criticism on signalling and game design, in case you wanted it.


thanks! i agree with your points -- idk if it was too subtle but there's a slight glowing animation around things that are clickable, but i didn't put it on the open doors for some reason. the creature poster definitely might have been too difficult. i think this game definitely would have benefitted from some playtesting lol but I didn't really have time in the game jam constraints ofc.


Really damn nice, probably my favorite entry!

I think you should turn this into a full game

thank you! glad you liked it :)


I got up to the room with the dont feed small animals poster, but i tried every word on the poster followed by the words for open door, but none of them opened the small door, i really wanted to finish the game because its a cool concept but i cant figure this part out.


small = ki


yeah the poster is trying to teach you the prefix for small, but definitely a lot of people have gotten stuck there :/ glad you liked it up to there though!

(2 edits)

I really liked the game but I had the same problem - I understood that the adjective was a prefix but was expecting a prefix on the second animal being the equivalent of large, like small-animal -> big-animal instead of small-animal -> animal. I thought qy- (in qyquu) meant 'big' and ki- was more of a negator (kiqy- = 'not big'). I did get around it though and the game was very fun! Very clever idea. If you were to expand the game, maybe you could have error messages in the language as well :D

Just noticed that someone else (ThePseudonym) had a similar thing about the 'ki-' modifier; I agree with their other points too. Again, I really like this game, great job!


I enjoyed what I could complete, when I got to the 2 doors and the random body part list. I typed old codes and then I kept trying the different names on the poster and that didn't work. SO I don't know what to do next. I am assuming it's just me.

I typed "Rupuu kythengi"

Then it said "which one?"

and I have tried both doors now. Still nothing happens. 

Ps. Thanks for having me feel invested in a game, and I hope you can go try out my entry as well. Good luck.

glad you enjoyed the first bit :)  I'll definitely check out your game when I'm back on my computer :>


the poster is trying to show the words for left and right so you can refer to the different doors. so try bang rupuu kythengi and dang rupuu kythengi :)


I really like it but was stuck at the 2  Jigu boxes , quite sad because i would have really liked to see the whole game , smart concept and smart making but im just dumb 

PS: if you want to give me a hint for that part would be great

thanks!! you're not dumb :) for that part you need to

** spoiler **

use the words for right and left from the previous puzzle with the two doors


To be honest, I was not expecting much, but this is a pretty clever puzzle game, I like it!


thank you! yeah the art isn't very good i could see how it would give that impression :P I'm glad you liked it!


Dude, this is so clever and I enjoyed the fuck out of it. 10/10.

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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i like it. The fact that its in another language makes it interesting....

thank you!