Zarfhome Software
Based in Boston, Massachusetts

Release date:
June 20, 2016 (Steam); October 30, 2014 (original)

Steam (PC / Mac / Linux)
Humble Store (PC / Mac / Linux)
Itch.IO (PC / Mac / Linux)
iOS (Apple App Store)


Regular Price:



You're marooned in an alien, airless wasteland — your starship fractured — your crewmates missing. Can an apprentice alchemist learn how to survive? You’ll have to discover the rituals you need, and then search for ingredients, and then improvise and substitute. You’ll have to calcine, distill, dissolve, and precipitate. And somehow, somewhere, you’ll have to figure out what happened and why.


Hadean Lands was launched as a Kickstarter project in 2010. Funding was a huge success — huge for a text game and for 2010, anyway. (This was a bit before the really gigantic videogame Kickstarters.) Then I spent four years developing the puzzles and IF technology to make the game possible. Longer than I was expecting, but the game launched in late 2014. Now, the summer of 2016 brings Hadean Lands to Steam!


  • An old-school work of interactive fiction. This is parser-based IF; that means you type commands and read what happens next. No hyperlinks, no dialogue trees, no graphics.
  • A more complex puzzle structure than old-school IF players ever saw back in the 1980s. Every puzzle that you solve becomes a single step or tool in a later puzzle.
  • A sophisticated goal-tracking system permits you to experiment freely. Once you know how to perform a ritual, you can repeat it with a single command.
  • Narrative elements woven through the game, not presented as cut-scenes.
  • Integrated map and alchemical journal. (Okay, the map counts as *one* graphic.)


Gameplay Vimeo

Promotional Teaser Vimeo




Awards & Recognition

  • "Winner of the XYZZY Interactive Fiction Awards for Best Puzzles, Best Setting, Best Implementation, and Best Use of Innovation for 2014." April 26, 2015

Selected Articles

  • "The best video game I played last year is a science-fiction thriller about alchemy, and it has no graphics or sound effects."
    - David Auerbach, Slate
  • "The bottom line is that Hadean Lands makes great strides towards perfecting the classic adventure game — not just the text adventure."
    - Steven Watson, AdventureGamers.com
  • "The overall arc, for me, was that I spent the first bit of the game really excited about the possibility space, and then the next several hours feeling like my head was going to explode... This game ranks off the charts on the ingenuity measure."
    - Emily Short, review

Request Press Copy

You can always request a press copy by sending us a quick email.

Interview: Andrew Plotkin on Hadean Lands
Indie Games, interview via Konstantinos Dimopoulos indiegames.com.

I talk about the design of Hadean Lands
Presentation at WordPlay 2014, Toronto (audio) soundcloud.com.

Original Kickstarter project
The 2010 Kickstarter that launched development kickstarter.com.

About Zarfhome Software

Interactive fiction and other narrative experiments.

More information
More information on Zarfhome Software, our logo & relevant media are available here.

Hadean Lands Credits

Andrew Plotkin

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks