Characterror: 90 second time challenge demo from Adam Parrish on Vimeo.

A shmup about spelling

You are CAPTAIN S. PELLER, starfighter pilot extraordinaire. Your mission: defeat the CHARAC-TERRORS, evil space aliens bent on galactic dominance. Their only weakness: a CHARACTERROR will subsume any letter fired into it. CHARACTERRORS forming English words can be detonated and thus destroyed.

Created by Adam Parrish for the February 2011 Experimental Gameplay Project competition.


Here are standalone executables for OSX and Windows. Requires a recent version of Java. You can also get the source code on Github.


Your goal is to complete words by "firing" letters from your magazine on the right side of the screen onto the end of one of the strings of letters on the left side of the screen. Longer words will garner exponentially more points.

Your score is also affected by your multiplier, which increases as you fire letters and form words. Your multiplier will be reset if you land a letter that makes a string that can't be the beginning of a valid English word.

When a string turns green, that means it's a valid English word and can now be "detonated." Detonating a word immediately scores it, and starts a new string in that slot. Note that green words can also potentially be the beginning of an even longer valid word!

Strings that form valid words that can't be made longer, or strings that can't ever form valid English words, will be detonated automatically.

The game keeps track of what words can be formed from the strings currently on the left side of the screen, and will only ever allow letters in the magazine that can be the next letter in forming a valid English word. It's technically impossible to get stuck, though you may find yourself stretching your vocabulary to its limits.

The game has three modes: 90 second time trial, 4 minute time trial, and 50 character puzzle mode.



Made with The font used in the game comes from codeman38's excellent collection. See README in the distribution for more detailed attribution and license information.