Code Invaders is a single-player, arcade-style digging game. In each level, players must complete three word puzzles in which a different definition of a multiple-meaning word is used in three different sentences. The words used in Code Invaders are the same as the ones used in Cipher Force. While players aren’t expected to memorize the words and their definitions while playing Code Invaders, through repeated exposure with the game they can become familiar enough with the words to decrease the reading challenge in Cipher Force.

The story begins with a strange, unmanned spacecraft crash-landing in a farmer’s field. Scientists determine that it’s a spy craft of some kind, but can’t decipher the information recorded in the ship’s computer. Ordinary citizens have been asked to help try to crack the computer’s encryption, and the player is the first to get the chance to help. As the player digs deeper into the data, it becomes clear that the aliens are planning an invasion.


Code Invaders is an arcade-style game in which players dig through alien computer code in search of vital information.

Each level starts with the player’s avatar entering a maze of computer code. The player must navigate the maze, “drilling” through code and avoiding enemies and obstacles while searching for valuable data. In order to pass through the three firewalls in each level, players must solve a password puzzle using a multiple-meaning word. The player is shown three sentences, one at a time, each using a different definition of a three-definition word. The sentences reveal the aliens’ plans as well as their observations of Earth and human behavior. For example:

To get through firewalls, players complete password puzzles that require them to differentiate among several definitions of a multiple-meaning word.

In this case, the player’s challenge is to match the appropriate definition of “volume” with its corresponding sentence. Context clues can help players make their choices and then, after completing all three sentences, if any are incorrect, in-game feedback helps players find the right answers. After completing eight levels, players have been exposed to every word needed to play Cipher Force. They also will have uncovered crucial data about the spy ship’s mission that suggests an invasion is imminent. An additional eight levels provide more challenging mazes and repeat exposure to the same word set.

Code Invaders In Action

If you are interested in how to integrate Cipher Force into your classroom, check out this Video Walkthrough