Sawbuck Gamer

Onomastica

Word Up

Onomastica sends you on a literal-minded journey.

By Derrick Sanskrit • July 19, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” never considered what would happen if those words were carved from stone—if they were massive monoliths reading “CLIFF” and piles of “ROCK” layered atop each other. That is the world players find themselves in when they play Onomastica.

As the name might suggest, the game explores onomastics—the study of proper names and the origins of names. Players control an origami man as he makes his way through a vast empty space littered with life-sized words, each one representative of the object they spell. You’ll leap onto the word “PLATFORM” and try to jump to the next “PLATFORM” without falling onto the “FIRE” below. Words can completely change with an appropriate prefix or suffix, so you’ll sometimes need to push one or two letters at a time, building “STAIRS” or a “ROCKET” to aid in your journey.

Onomastica is a quick adventure through the literal translation of words, and it would make for a clever introduction to a fuller experience. Imagine climbing through the ascender of the letter “T” in “TUBES” before falling out the “S” as the letters of “WATERFALL” drop around you, shattering on the pointed serifs of some “STALAGMITES” below. That’ll break some bones, for sure.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    I like it. It’s a pretty short game that doesn’t overstay its welcome. The ending is pretty clever too.

  • SamPlays

    Whoever said that also never considered racism and bullies. But I like the concept of this game (i.e., a clever spin on text adventure). I’m glad it’s short because I almost stopped playing once some of the gimmicks started repeating. (“Old bridge” was my favorite because of it’s cute trick.)

    • uselessyss

      Speaking of racism and bullies…..

      I watched Obama’s comments on the Trayvon Martin case and thought he was refreshingly honest and genuine. It’s rare to see such a frank discussion of race coming from the president, and I was glad that Obama brought it to the forefront.

      Then I read some of the Washington Post’s comments section. 

      And a little piece of my soul shriveled and died.

      • Chum Joely

        If you’re on Twitter, you may find it useful to follow  @AvoidComments:twitter 

        • PhilWal0

          “No! I must avoid the comments” he shouted.
          The radio said “No, @ChumJoely:disqus. You are the comments.”
          And then Chum Joely was a troll.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        It really was an amazing speech.  I remain astonished at having a president who can speak to the nation as though we’re actually adults, as undeserved as that honor may be.
           And The Washington Post itself is one long trolling comments section, columns included.

        • Chum Joely

          I do appreciate that aspect of Obama’s presidency quite a bit. I remain profoundly disappointed by many of his policies with respect to our various wars, and most of his policies with respect to “homeland security”. Lots of cognitive dissonance for me with Obama… he seems like an extremely intelligent guy and a good human being, but he seems to be using his powers for evil almost as often as for good.

      • CW

        The first rule of the internet is: never read the comments.

  • JuliusKassendorf

    It was a really good game.  This was a clever twist on a platformer.  Kudos to the dev!