AI-KODE: a profound experience full of mystery, in a Demo that shocked us. Let’s go through it together

AI-KODE -The preview demo
“From this moment on, you will undergo the degradation of the mind, the memories, fighting against each other, trying to form a message, trying to remember a reason, to exist…”

As our title anticipates, we talk about the AI-KODE Demo. A game that we have discussed extensively and in depth with you. In our in-depth interview with its developer, ACE, we were very enthusiastic about the premise! She promised to amaze us and give us a gaming experience full of changes. Well, the Demo stunned us and left us totally shocked by its beauty, complex and profound concepts such as being alive and our perception of the world around us. And last but not least the technical aspect which truly leaves us speechless! Certainly, ACE gave us an out of the ordinary Demo. If this is just the tip of the iceberg that we will encounter before the actual release of the game, we advise you to hold on tight. The emotional impact it leaves in its relative brevity is devastating. In fact is prompting ancestral questions in the player such as: Am I really alive? What does it mean to be alive? Is it all real or am I living in some sort of matrix?

The dialogues, or rather the quasi-monologue of the Puppet who will act as our guide, raises big questions about the life we all lead every day. Leading us to reflect on even the smallest decisions we make; will it be the right one? And if I had chosen differently, how would it have gone?

With AI-KODE, the existential and cosmic questions will always be there. They will peep out, moving our firmest convictions. They will make us question the way we have looked at life before. Leaving us, that aftertaste, halfway between disillusionment and emptiness. But perhaps it would be better to say that we are now open to a new vision of what we experience in the constant change that surrounds us. And maybe… we are ready to break the chains that keep us tied to our Reality!

A state of Coexistence

What is reality? As the most obvious answer, we tend to answer “what surrounds us”, but is this really the case? Is it really just what we can perceive? Or could there be a possibility that beyond our faculties, something hidden from us exists and is therefore real?

As mentioned above, AI-KODE is anything but a superficial game. Dig and investigate the depths of each of us, the depths of our creator herself.

Even before offering a video game experience, it offers us a strong personal shock, a sort of psychoanalysis session in “disguise“.

AI-KODE - A state of Coexistence

The concept of Reality and Coexistence permeates the Demo in all its completeness. From the very first moments, where the screen with an incipit on a white background leaves us no escape: “[..]memories fighting against each other, trying to form a message, trying to remember a reason, to exist…”

Maybe we should wake up from this state of stillness and start opening our eyes to the real nature of the world. Just like Aiko will have to do in this Demo…

Welcome to Shibuya

With Aiko we find ourselves crossing the famous Shibuya intersection. Known for its ability to see around 1,000-2,500 people pass every 2 minutes when the traffic lights change. A truly spectacular example of organized chaos.

Official reports indicate that Synthetica was built using Shibuya, a neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan as a model. Shibuya is a lively metropolis, its streets and buildings are invaded by the bright colors of advertising screens. Through remarkable engineering success, the essence of Shibuya was captured and transferred to a new realm, giving birth to Synthetica. From here our journey begins! The Puppet speaks to us while we explore Synthetica. And here’s a note about the creator of the game is told to us! Her obsession with Shibuya led her to want to recreate it in a maniacal way… But the real question is: Why?

Welcome to Shibuya

Why choose Shibuya, what is so important about it? Apart from being one of the most beautiful and visited attractions of our time? Is there perhaps some historical reason behind this choice?

Since its inception, Shibuya has represented the crossroads that connects different districts of Tokyo. Thus representing the heart and the key to communication between homogeneous realities, composed of unique roads and hidden passages.

The choice of the Shibuya model, in the world of AI-KODE, could be a transposition of the concept of coexistence that the creator wanted to integrate into the game. A coexistence that touches different levels of understanding. From coexistence in its highest concept. Expressed in AI-KODE, through the words of Erwin Schrodinger: “Every man’s image of the world is and always remains a construction of his mind and it is not possible to demonstrate that it has any other existence” . By bothering Schrodinger, we not only consider the possibility of the coexistence of countless places and in different worlds. But also the state of our existence; just like Schrodinger’s Cat experiment. A cat that coexists in a state of both life and death simultaneously but in two different worlds, locked in a box.

So…Should we open the box? What will happen once it opens?

Who are we?

We are Aiko, but are we sure? The Demo always casts doubt on our identity and what our history is.

If just before we were an Aiko at Synthetica, now we are someone else. Appearances and the world around us are no longer the same. Now we are young Nia, an energetic and curious girl, always full of life. Her talent lies in working with the machinery of Sector F. As one of the “chosen ones“, Nia dreams of exploring the sectors outside the walls surrounding Sector F.

AI-KODE - Sector F

Sector F is a unique and fascinating place where, unlike the rest of Synthetica, nature and technology coexist. At its center, stands a large tree known as “Yggdrasil“. Surrounded by a bustling city that runs on gears and steam-powered machinery. Despite the contrast with the other sectors of Synthetica, Sector F exudes a feeling of peace and tranquility. The belief is that only a few people are chosen by a higher force. These people are marked with “the marks of God”, distinctive marks on their skin that indicate their status as “the chosen”. Only they are go to venture outside the walls and dome of Sector F, charged with fulfilling their mission.

Exploring Sector F, we can listen to countless NPCs talking about their lives (they sounds monotonous and flat), playing the guitar, using Nia’s Scanning ability. The scanning ability allows us to obtain environmental and character information, such as: their name, age and which sector they belong to. Furthermore, there is the possibility of sleeping on the benches in case we want to while away the time.

We advise you to use this last option sparingly because it could…lead to an “unpleasant end“. And you don’t want this, do you?

Enemies and Colossal Bosses

AI-KODE is an immersive action RPG with Colossal Bosses and intricate combat mechanics. Our first taste of it is in the Schrodingers City. A mysterious city located in the middle of an empty ocean. Its unusual inhabitants are none other than children with pure white clothes and red flowers instead of faces. Curiously, the streets of this city are full of cats roaming freely.

When the inhabitants walk beneath the shadows, their skin appears to become translucent, revealing the outlines of their bones. During our stay we can decide whether to interact with or kill the cats found in the City.

Enemies and Colossal Bosses

Although it seems like a random option, it is not at all. The cruelty or compassion that we demonstrate will contribute to the formation of our Aiko’s personality. Every action has a consequence…Murderer!

But let’s get back to us, climbing a marble staircase, we will find some enemies waiting for us. We’ll have ground combos and aereal attacks at our disposal to defeat them. After this small horde of low level enemies, we will clash with a colossal Boss.

An immense Puppet stands out in front of us, and now we have control over a Kyao version of Aiko. We will finally be able to alternate physical or weapon attacks. The Colossal Boss life-bar drops very slowly. There’ll be times when it appears to take a break from attacking, only to return with very heavy attacks of energy waves and lines of code in the matrix style. While we fight we feel like we are always trying to understand the game as it continues to change, representing an exciting challenge.

Furthermore, the expertly constructed animations make the battles fluid, epic and give that JRPG touch that is already widely supported by the aesthetics of the video game.

A Child, A Puppet, A Contract

This triad was also discussed with Solo-dev during our interview. For obvious reasons she couldn’t go into more detail to avoid spoilers. She had assured us that for the Demo, we would be able to understand it a little better – easier said than done. The Puppet itself tells us the story of this child, who, one day entering an old theater finds a puppet. Immediately feeling a strong connection with it; he decides to take it home with him.

The story continues, becoming disturbing, as the child warned by the puppet, discovers that he has given him a life but at the same time that he has also granted him his own – “The puppet said to him: Look at me, I am what you really want”.

AI-KODE -A child, A puppet, A contract

This reminds us of the words of ACE, who continued her response by saying that people are often not willing to take responsibility for their actions. It is not strange, a human behavior, which however immature and sometimes deplorable occurs more than we would like to admit. What if the puppet meant that the child, but more generally the human being, prefers to be like a puppet? Not responsible for your own actions, but simply a passive spectator of your own existence?

If we let reality define our existence, we are tacitly signing a contract. A contract that deprives us (even if self-inflicted) of the possibility of expressing ourselves as sentient and self-determining beings. We fall into a death of the soul, perpetuating an infinite loop of choices that are not really wanted. Dictated by an inability to take full responsibility for what we really want.

Who are you? I killed you…

“You accepted the contract some time ago…” – Contract that gave us the ability to see beyond the fractured world we find ourselves in. Repeating endless loops and leaving behind multiple versions of ourselves. Dying again and again, an endless cycle of death. What did we get? Nothing. We have locked ourselves in this Schrodinger box, dead and alive at the same time, describing a loop that we call Reality.

AI-KODE - Who are you? I killed you…

From the Demo we are certain that we have understood how the figure of the Puppet is complex and also how devious in its actions. She provokes doubts in Aiko / Nia, manipulates the “reality” in which we find ourselves and changes appearance, sometimes appearing in the guise of Saya.

Subtly, it seems to want us to understand that our protagonist shares part of her conscience with one of the main figures of the game. Yes, because the protagonist, Aiko, is actually not even the protagonist of this intricate story; ACE confirmed this to us.

So…Who are we “really”? Are we just the last moments of a life that is dying out? We are the “what would have been if…”?


“From this moment on, you will undergo the degradation of the mind, the memories, fighting against each other, trying to form a message, trying to remember a reason, to exist…”

AI-KODE and hidden messages

From the beginning, we have talked about how the game is cryptic in its nature. Nothing is done by chance or for pure fun, we are not the ones who say it but it is the creator of the game who confirmed it in our interview.

The Demo did nothing but ring bells, like the feeling that something was escaping us, yet it was right there under our noses. This is also the skill: hiding the truth from everyone’s eyes. Try as we might, for now we only have a partial picture of what AI-KODE brings within itself.

The very strong, almost nemesis-like bond between Aiko and Saya and this transitional figure represented by the young Nia, a chosen one, called to carry out her mission.

We did our homework, and by doing research we found some clues scattered across the game’s social channels; from the official website, Logo and X.

How do you pronounce “AI-KODE”?

Maybe you pronounce it “Eyecode”, a bit similar to how you pronounce the name Aiko, or do you pronounce it as you see it?

What implications could it have based on how you pronounce it? If we consider pronouncing it as the name of the Protagonist, Aiko, it could mean that although she is not really that central as a protagonist role, over the course of the narrative arc we will see her become increasingly fundamental to breaking this infinite cycle of death. If, however, we consider “AI Kode”, as literally AI code or coded by an artificial intelligence, it could mean something completely different. In fact, during the Demo the Puppet talks to us about “snippets of code“, as if they were memories of someone who doesn’t want to accept the truth.

Which truth? That reality isn’t exactly what we want to believe? That even if we think we can decide freely, we are actually part of the plan of someone higher than us?

How do you pronounce “AI-KODE”?

Or, we could read the title as “Aiko de”. In Japanese “Aiko de” can mean “with love”, which means that AI-KODE was created as a love letter to other games? ACE has never denied taking inspiration from video games that she loved as a gamer, but she has never wanted, more than anything, to define “AI-KODE” as a love letter to other video games.

One key thing we know about the development of AI-KODE is that it is developed by a single-dev, so we could read the title of the game as “I code”, which would sound very similar to “AI-KODE”. It could be the statement of the fact that it is a solo job.

Another interesting view on how to read “AI-KODE” is by reading it as “EyeCode“. This reading reminds us of a precise frame of the Demo that we see towards the end. Aiko is about to break the chains that bind her to the puppet, as the static image of Nia appears. She almost seems like a puppet, in a flash that passes through her eyes, a sort of code can be seen in the iris.

Secrets in plain sight

Another curious fact or fun secret about the logo is the phrase that is made up of the 4 largest words, when we combine them we get another phrase:

“Similar memories defines history”

Secrets in plain sight

Given the bond between Nia and Aiko, we could see them as reincarnations of the same being completing countless life/death cycles in different worlds. A mind that changes bodies but keeps its memories more or less intact, but which as the cycles pass begins to lose or confuse who it really is.

Reality…a word that comes up often in this game, and no – it’s not a coincidence.

Fan of numbers

Finally, AI-KODE also hides a mathematical and numerological nature. The number 19111545 translates to AI-KODE using the alphabet:

1 = a

9 = i

11 = k

15 = o

4 = d

5= e

The most interesting things about this issue?

If we add 1+9+1+1+1+5+4+5 we get 27, this number is important but there is more…adding 2+7 we get 9. In numerology the number 9 has a meaning of achievement and change, of fulfillment and crowning of a cycle that heralds the beginning of a new plan, of a new reality. In short, it contains both the concept of beginning and end, death and rebirth.

Furthermore, in mathematics any number multiplied by 9 will always result in a number whose digits add up to 9. This is a reference to the multiple versions of Aiko in the game

Doing a second Run, we noticed that the game starts in the month of September, which corresponds to the number 9

What about Schrodinger’s city cats, it is well known that cats have 9 lives (yes, cats again!)

Last but not least interesting fact about this number “191115” is that we can see it as:  19+11+15 = 45

And the last section of the game (Jikei hospital) has 45 collectibles:

19 tapes

11 designs

15 images

45 collectibles

There is already 1 cassette on YouTube, recorded on 11/19 of 2007. 2007 again, you can still see it as 27, we repeat, it’s not a coincidence.

Saya’s sequence

Inspecting the official AI-KODE website, in the character section, we found Saya. In details we can find this binary code





If decoded we get the word “LIES”, lies. From whom? Is Saya trying to warn us about something or someone? Lies…words that fit very well with the image of the Puppet given his manipulative nature.

AI-KODE – Never Gonna Give you up!

You may ask, what does Rick Astley have to do with AI-KODE now? Well, if you go to the game’s official website and click on the logo at the top left, you will be taken to the YT video of the song in question.

But first, a very brief overview of this 80s masterpiece: The song is a hymn to unconditional love and the commitment to never give up. The song expresses a feeling of loyalty and hope, encouraging those who receive it to never give up.

These concepts – Hope, never give up bring to mind the words that ACE said to our microphones: “I don’t care if I realize my dream or not, but at least if I don’t realize it, it will be proof that even if you work hard and sacrifice everything what you have in your life doesn’t mean you will achieve it”.

AIKODE - Never gonna give you up!

This was in reference to the popularity and success of her debut, AI-KODE. But the concept it expresses applies perfectly to the complex character that Aiko represents.

So much so that the solo-dev herself confirms that she gave voice to his thoughts through Aiko at the beginning of the adventure to make his game known. And now, if we think back to the Demo, we can see many of ACE’s character and psychological traits in Aiko (coincidentally Aiko goes by the pseudonym “ACE”). We therefore feel that the concept expressed by ACE and the song she chose (then who knows, maybe she just chose it because he liked her) intensely represents what Aiko herself tries to obtain from her own existence. She tries in every way to realize the dream of being free and breaking the infinite life/death cycle. And if she doesn’t succeed in this attempt, it will be proof that breaking the loop is impossible.

Are there any other secrets?

OBVIOUSLY. In AI-KODE NOTHING is random, everything has been planned in advance to an extent we cannot even imagine. For this reason we advise you not to miss our updates on AI-KODE. Furthermore, if you haven’t already done so, you can already add it to your Steam Wishlist!

Good Game everybody!

Sara|28 years old| Educator and IT and telecommunications expert| literature, poetry and music lover| Singing, playing instruments and Writer| Passionate about the video games world since a young age|