It’s dangerous to go it alone, take this advice:
The Cryptex Hunt, known more formally as Prexcyt Quest, is in full swing and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.
I’ve also been fielding a lot of questions from readers about puzzle hunts in general and Prexcyt Quest’s oddities.
Here are my puzzle hunt & Prexcyt Quest tips to help you get started. Once you get going, this game is a lot of fun!
Mild Spoiler Warning
Also, the Prexcyt Quest crew has no idea that I wrote this. While we interviewed them before the hunt began, this guide is not official by any stretch of the imagination. There may also be some mild early-game spoilers, so consider yourself warned.
General Puzzle Hunt Puzzle Structure
Puzzle hunts are fundamentally different from escape rooms in that they are a lot more challenging and typically a lot less tangible. If you’re a seasoned escape room player, you’ll find puzzle hunts a whole lot harder. They are a different beast and there is no guarantee that they will be your cup of caffeine. That being said, I encourage you to try them out.
One thing to remember about puzzle hunts is that the puzzles frequently follow a similar structure:
- Figure out WTF it is – The puzzles don’t always declare what they are.
- Solve something – Solve whatever you’ve been presented with.
- Extract a solution – Take whatever you solved and push it a step further to pull an answer out of it.
You Meta Save Your Work
You’re also going to want to document your solutions because puzzle hunts typically have meta puzzles that conglomerate your past solutions into a new puzzle. These are typically viewed as the puzzle equivalent of a boss battle in a video game.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to save all of your work in a puzzle hunt. You never know when you might need to reference something you solved earlier.
General Puzzle Hunt Tools
There are a few tools that I’d encourage you to keep handy while attempting a puzzle hunt.
The free monthly international puzzle gathering Puzzled Pint has a basic code sheet that they provide at all events. This thing is pretty useful because it lists a number of common puzzle hunt encodings.
The code sheet is far from exhaustive. These free apps offer a lot more detail and decoding functionality:
Android – Puzzlehunt Assistant
Google spreadsheets are a puzzle hunter’s best friend. Use sheets to collaboratively puzzle with friends/ teammates… and use them to keep a record of all of your work and solutions.
The puzzle hunter’s toolkit can get pretty crazy at higher levels, but this is a solid place to start.
Now on to Prexcyt Quest specific advice:
Getting Started with Prexcyt Quest
To get started, simply visit CryptexHunt.com and click the button in the middle of the page to watch the intro video.
There are two pre-game puzzles that help you earn access to new materials and the digital game world.
Getting in the Prexcyt Quest MUD
With the exception of the first two puzzles, Prexcyt Quest exists in a MUD (Multi-User Dungeon). MUDs date back to the 1970s. They are a text-based way for multiple players to interact with a game environment.
While they aesthetically don’t look like anything at all, MUD-based games like Colossal Cave Adventure are some of the most important early forerunners of escape rooms.
The Prexcyt Quest MUD takes a little getting used to, but it’s a really cool interface for a puzzle adventure.
One of the documents that you’ll receive is a 15-page MUD guide. Don’t panic. This really isn’t that hard, especially once you try it out. I’ve been puzzling for hours and basically only used the following commands:
- Movement – all you have to do is type, north, south, east, or west to traverse the world
- Inspecting – to look at an item described in the game all you need to do is type, look name of thing you want to see (eg. look sign)
- Reading – to read a book type, read chapter# bookname (eg. read 1 guidebook)
- Opening a Cryptex – all puzzles lead to a cryptex and to open one, type unlock cryptex solution (eg. unlock cryptex star)
That’s it. The MUD is painless.
If you happen to need another command, just reference the manual.
No Grinding Necessary
When you first enter the MUD, you’ll be hit with a whole bunch of Dungeons & Dragons-y stuff: character stats, classes, MUD training, combat. This stuff is fun, but not important because you’re not in this game world to slay a beholder; you’re here to solve puzzles.
While you’re free to explore the RPG aspects of the MUD, I haven’t done any of it, and I have been assured that my character being level 1 will have no impact on my ability to puzzle through to the end of the game. If I fail, that is on me the human, not me the video game character.
The MUD is Noisy
So… one of the first things you’ll notice when you boot up the MUD is that there’s a lot of text scrolling. It’s not quite “reading the Matrix” but in a busy room, it might be close.
What is this?! Everything that every other player or non-player character does in the same space as you appears as an action in the MUD. This can get a bit annoying.
A mixture of four different approaches can help fix this for you:
- Go to a less busy space – Some areas in the game have a lot going on. If you can exit to a quiet place, do so. Channel your inner introvert.
- Turn on quiet mode – By simply typing quiet into the MUD you’ll turn off all chat channels. The MUD will still display actions, but eliminating one source of noise helps.
- Copy & paste – I copy & paste all important game text into a separate text file. I like doing this so that I can read at my own pace and easily reread things without having to traverse or interact with the game environment.
- Turn on the Freezepane – In the top left corner of the MUD is a series of buttons. The second one from the left opens up a duplicate MUD display that you control entirely by scrolling. It’s a gift from Mil, Nor, & Lum.
You may buy hints from the hint market. I’d encourage you, however, to team up with other players, collaborate and piece the puzzles together. Thus far, everything is absolutely solvable… even if some of the puzzles are tricky.
That being said, hints are an option should you get stuck.
The First Puzzle
Your first puzzle can be found northwest of the starting tavern in the Temple of Mil.
Playing to Win?
There are lots of prizes on the line and simply completing the puzzles will enter you in for a drawing.
The cryptex that goes to the champion at the end of this is legitimately gorgeous, but here’s the thing: if you’re reading this post to learn about puzzle hunt basics, you ain’t winning. It’s cool. I’m not winning either. There are some monstrously talented puzzle hunters in this competition and they’re going to duke it out for that top prize.
Don’t play for the prizes; play for the puzzles. This is a really nifty, innovative, and challenging game. Enjoy it.
Some of these puzzles I’m making quick work of. Some of them are humbling the crap out of me. Honestly, I prefer the ones where I have to struggle to learn a thing or three.
Thanks for the tips. I’m struggling to navigate in the MUD – don’t play video games so it’s a stretch. I am loving the puzzles I’ve seen so far though.
The more you play, the easier the MUD gets. Be fearless with it. You can’t really screw it up.