Xye: An introduction to a puzzle game

Xye started off as a clone of the 1990s game called Kye. To learn more about the original game that inspired Xye, you may read the page dedicated to Kye.

From that starting point, it has added many new gameplay elements and concepts. There is a variety of puzzles. Although the tutorial levels are relatively simple. The last elements of the official bundle will probably be quite a challenge.

The main objective is to get all the gems in the level. Some levels have a secundary objective - to get all the stars before getting the last gem.



Xye is a game that begins by asking you to select a level file. Some level files are provided by default. The tutorials are meant to explain the actions of the various objects in the game. The levels.xye file contains the official levels. Usually the default Xye distribution also comes with plenty of other bonus levels.

Level browser

The objective in each level is simple and derived from Kye: To obtain all the gems/diamonds/stones in the level. It is often not as easy as it sounds since there are many different objects in the game with which the game's character (Xye) has to interact with:

  • Blocks that can be pushed and sometimes pulled. Blocks may have different shapes and sizes.
  • Blocks with predefined movement.
  • Magnets that can be used to pull blocks.
  • Doors that open or close once you move certain blocks to certain locations.
  • Monsters that will chase you.
  • And many more.

Some of the many objects in the game can be seen in level 31

There are many different interactions between xye, the objects and the monsters. In order to learn them all, you will need to play and experiment with the game in many situations. The tutorials help introduce the most basic ones but do not cover them all.

The game is a puzzle / arcade hybrid. Although Xye's official levels tend to put more emphasis on puzzles.

Sand box

The game is not meant to be solved linearly. Its main objective is to provide fun for the players that try to solve it. When playing the game, you may always jump to the next level or the second next level, or the last level if you wish to.

Another feature is the undo option. At any point in the game you can undo your last movement and then the movement before it. This helps you backtrack while solving very thought puzzles and also stops you from having to go all over the level for a single key mistake.

The game also saves your progress inside a level automatically. So if you quit the game and then open the game again, your game (and the undo history) will be restored to the last time you played.
The star gem

A recent feature of the game is the star gem. When development of the game just started plenty of levels that were very difficult to solve. To the point that even the first tutorial made a lot of people get stuck. I eventually decide to move towards easier level designs. But solving a very complicated level can be a good challenge and very motivating once you manage to have the sudden realization. We needed a way to introduce tough levels without making them a condition to pass the level.

The star gem works as an extra challenge that is not required to solve a level. If you see a star in a level, I recommend you to first try solving the level ignoring the star. Once you solve the level and if you want a challenge, try getting the star gem AND also getting the other gems (Just getting the star is not the only prerequisite for completing the special challenge). In many levels, the star requires you to solve a much harder puzzle than the basic one that is required for just the gems. In other cases, it requires you to solve the puzzle with an extra condition that makes it harder. In few levels that are closer to the arcade side of things, you may get stars for finishing the level under a tougher time limit or with more monsters.

The star gem in tutorial 5 is harder to get than the other gems.

The editor

A very fun feature from Kye was the level editor. To mantain the spirit, Xye includes with a level editor that allows you to easily make level files. Instructions about how to use the editor may be found in the levels section.

If you make some levels, you are encouraged to share them. You may send them to the lead developer using the contact button. Experimenting with the editor is also a very nice way to find the many iteractions between objects.

Level editor

Some differences between Kye and Xye

Some information for Kye fans: Although one of the objectives of Xye is to support the old, classic Kye levels, it also modifies aspects of Kye both intentionally and unintentionally. Certain aspects of the game cannot be reproduced without severe reverse engineering and some others are the result of adding features:

  • Xye does not allow diagonal movement. The main reason for this is that in a grid-based game it is not very intuitive. Disabling diagonal movement also makes the player easier to constraint in levels and helps forbid unintentional solutions. This has the unwanted effect that some original Kye levels may be unsolvable. The one level from shareware Kye that cannot be solved without diagonal movement is ADOORABLE. Another notable example is probably the third level in Colin Phipps' mystical.kye. Notable because that level is included in the game...
  • In the original Kye, using the mouse to move the character could stop time and was far easier than using the keyboard. Mouse movement in Xye cannot make the character move faster than the keyboard.
  • Pressing keys does not boost the game clock speed, this is just a decorative change that does not affect gameplay too much. Instead, there is a fast forward button that can be used to speed the game up temporarily while you wait for an event.
  • Whenever Kye got into a black hole, the black hole didn't show its busy animation. This has changed in Kye. It may be difficult to find a level in which this change is important.
  • In fact, the behaviour of black holes in Kye was kind of random / unpredictable. In Xye, their behavior is far more predictable (they always enter the busy animation) and thus more suitable for puzzles.
  • In Xye, pushing a round block towards another rounded object / wall may cause the block to slide and take a new position depending on the curve. This is similar to the round arrow blocks. This ability may make some Kye levels far easier to solve.
  • The monsters from Kye 2.0 are a little tougher and can find paths towards Xye in more situations than the Kye monsters. The change is not very strong, but you will notice that in monster-centric Kye levels, you need more time to catch the monsters.
  • On that matter, I am not sure if the monsters in Kye 2.0 had different personalities like the help file claimed. What is certain is that it is really true in Xye. Ie: Spikes and Gnashers may behave differently when put in the same situation).


No, it is not green just because the main character is a green cycle. The game is free, open source software. It is also cross platform.

It has been tested on various Linux distributions and windows. There are packages available for FreeBSD. However, we will only provide tar.gz source package and windows zip files. If there are no packages for your operating system, you may try compiling using the tar.gz package, or looking for a binary package for your OS. I try to list all recent packages for the most important OSes in the download page. If you have made or found a binary package for an OS not listed in that page or if you need help compiling for a new OS, feel free to contact vexorian@gmail.com.

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