XorCurses – game based on Xor by Astral Software

XorCurses is a puzzle game set inside a series of mazes. It is a remake of XOR by Astral Software, a game published in 1987 and released on the popular home computers of the day including the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, and Amiga. XOR is a pure puzzle game with no random or arcade elements.

In some respects, XorCurses is a regression from the graphics of the old 8 bit computers as it uses even more simplistic graphics, with coloured ASCII characters instead of pixel based graphics.

XorCurses attempts to faithfully recreate that game for Linux, with particular attention placed on the behaviour of the objects within the original game.

The basic premise of Xor is to roam around a series of mazes collecting all of the blue masks and then finding the exit. You have two player-shields to aid you and you can use either one at any time and switch between them. The first few levels are easy to progress, but the rest are progressively harder to solve. A particularly challenging and difficult puzzle game that will keep you engaged for hours.

Features include:

  • Levels 1 – 15 from original Xor game.
  • Colour ASCII for console and terminals.
  • Gracefully handles window resizing of host terminal.
  • Very little system footprint.
  • Varying wall colours and wall patterns.
  • Fish, Chickens, Bombs, Dolls, Teleports, and Sad Masks.
  • Map entry animation.
  • Reward animation for completion of a map.
  • Score tracking.
  • Replays.
  • Nine replay speeds changeable by keypress during replay.
  • Hyper replay speed to get to breakpoints fast.
  • Single stepping replay mode for intensive scrutiny.
  • Save replays.
  • Load replays.
  • Continue playing from any point in replay.
  • Saved replays of completed levels disallow arbitrary game play.
  • Set breakpoints in replay.
  • Help on controls, replays, tips, objects.
  • Easily navigable menus and options via keyboard.
  • Three different scrolling settings, including traditional and keep-player-central – changeable during play by simple key presses.
  • Confoundedly difficult levels.
  • “Oldschool” difficulty setting for emulating original game frustration, disallows game play commencing from replay.

Developer: James W. Morris
License: GNU General Public License


XorCurses is written in C. Learn C with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Return to ASCII Games

Popular series
Free and Open Source SoftwareThe largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Each article is supplied with a legendary ratings chart helping you to make informed decisions.
ReviewsHundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software. We offer helpful and impartial information.
Alternatives to Proprietary SoftwareReplace proprietary software with open source alternatives: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Autodesk, Oracle, Atlassian, Corel, Cisco, Intuit, and SAS.
GamesAwesome Free Linux Games Tools showcases a series of tools that making gaming on Linux a more pleasurable experience. This is a new series.
Artificial intelligence iconMachine Learning explores practical applications of machine learning and deep learning from a Linux perspective. We've written reviews of more than 40 self-hosted apps. All are free and open source.
Guide to LinuxNew to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series. We start right at the basics and teach you everything you need to know to get started with Linux.
Alternatives to popular CLI tools showcases essential tools that are modern replacements for core Linux utilities.
System ToolsEssential Linux system tools focuses on small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.
ProductivityLinux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
AudioSurveys popular streaming services from a Linux perspective: Amazon Music Unlimited, Myuzi, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal.
Saving Money with LinuxSaving Money with Linux looks at how you can reduce your energy bills running Linux.
Home ComputersHome computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.
Now and ThenNow and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years. It can be a bumpy ride.
Linux at HomeLinux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.
Linux CandyLinux Candy reveals the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun and escape from the daily drudgery.
DockerGetting Started with Docker helps you master Docker, a set of platform as a service products that delivers software in packages called containers.
Android AppsBest Free Android Apps. We showcase free Android apps that are definitely worth downloading. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series.
Programming BooksThese best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language. Learn a new language today!
Programming TutorialsThese free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to our free programming books series.
Linux Around The WorldLinux Around The World showcases usergroups that are relevant to Linux enthusiasts. Great ways to meet up with fellow enthusiasts.
Stars and StripesStars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments