Subtext is an Intriguing AR Mystery Game Told Through Text Messages

I’m not going to lie; when I got the opportunity to play Subtext I was a little apprehensive.

Okay, I was a lot apprehensive. I mean, a game that sends you texts messages and calls you? Talk about suspicious. At the same time, it was a really interesting concept and I just had to give it a try. Something that can contact you any time of day feels a bit scary, but it actually adds an intense feeling of realism.

Subtext is a single player alternate reality game that plays out mostly through text messages that get sent directly to the player’s phone. The game is also able to call you and send you emails as well as access your social media. The goal of Subtext is to create the feeling that the events of the game are happening in real time.


Towards the beginning, you’ll be contacted via text message from a man named Jonathan who has seemingly been kidnapped. He picks up a cell phone and finds a quiet place to text you after seeing your number on a piece of stationery in the office building where he has woken up.

With Jonathan feeding you information, you have to work together to get him out while uncovering what might be going on with the company that has him held captive.

I won’t reveal any more of the game’s story because it’s definitely something that you need to experience on your own.

One minor problem I experienced while playing through the game is that the AI can be particularly frustrating to deal with. Oftentimes, if I got stuck the text messages would just repeat the same thing over and over. There is one puzzle where you have to figure out a code for a door and I had absolutely no idea what it could possibly be and Jonathan was not any help. As you can see from our text messages, I was not above being an ass to him. This happened more than once during the play through, but if you’re as dense as I am, Jonathan will help you out eventually by giving you some pretty hefty hints.

With only that very minor setback, I did really enjoy Subtext. I loved how it freaked out my family and friends and how they encouraged me to stop playing it before it stole my identity or I was actually kidnapped. The mystery of it all is a welcome change to the regular and expected gaming format. It is definitely something that you aren’t likely to have experienced before and by the end of the game you’ll find yourself questioning what’s real and what’s part of the game.

Give Subtext a try if you dare by going to subtextgame.com where the demo and full game are available.