Jayke Cipher

by StaffMage

Original HIATUS Action Adventure Fantasy LitRPG Magic

Jayke Cipher was, to his limited knowledge, one of the last people alive.

The apocalypse was not one that came slowly. When it struck Earth, it came swiftly. The monstrosities that roamed the outside world became an unavoidable hobby of Jayke's. Working from within a heavily defended compound, surveillance cameras and a plethora of subject material only cultivated an interest in strange creatures.

Survival became lonely. Sanity was kept by indulging offhand desires, fulfilling flights of fancy when reasonable. 

When the compound is breached and all other options exhausted his only option becomes the pod. A mysterious capsule intended for virtual reality. Its producer, in light of the apocalypse, had released early. Months back he had ignored the last news broadcast regarding the pod and its promises.

He knew it only as suicide. But better that than being eaten alive.

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 This story is allright, it's quite flawed but it's ok. I think it would be easiest to sort this into pros and cons really.


  • Decent grammar
  • Decent characters (much better written than your avg rr story)
  • Reasonably intriguing plot and backstory
  • OK worldbuilding
  • OK pacing


  • Badly written and contradictory protagonist
  • Too many fantasy races, with way too little of explanations for how they look like
  • Too many original monsters with way too few explanations for how they look
  • Author can't decide if the magic is supposed to by systemized & rational or unsystematic and mysterious/freeform. He also fails to have the protagonist actually explore magic, which is quite weird since he's supposed to be a freakin mage and his strongest weapon is magic; which he knows nothing about and puts minimal efforts into learning anything about. (Loops back to the first con really)
  • Undefined power scaling (the power of the protagonist is whatever suits the author at the time)
  • The apocalypse never got properly explained and the protagonist doesn't seem particularly invested in figuring it out even if it's kinda the most interesting plot point so far.

My biggest issue of course is the protagonist, I'm gonna list out some examples of how he's either contradictory or stupid (when he is written as if he's some sort of logically thinking intellectual...) since that will inevitably involve minor spoilers:

Spoiler: Spoiler

And that's all I really have to say about it. I mean I'm sorta interested in seeing where this story goes, but the protagonist is kinda annoying, and the author doesn't seem very clear on which direction he's taking the story in at all (to the point where I wonder if he has a main plot planned out at all; I doubt he does).


He doesn't explore his abilities.

Reviewed at: Chapter 14 - Priorities

I was planning on making a larger review but I pretty much agree 100% with the review by Cestarian.

He gets these amazing abilities and doesn't do much with them, incredibly frustrating to read for me anyway.

I hope I am the only one because I really do like the premis and I hope others will enjoy it, but its not for me.

Good luck Staffmage, your story is definitely liked by many so you are doing something right. Good luck on your journey of improvement!


Im not one for a long winded breakdown so ill just vent on my single greatest gripe with the story so far; and that is the actions and thoughts of the irrational rational portag. 

The amount of frustration i felt when reading about a protagonist that just refused to truly explore his magical abilities was honestly infuriating. 

I had so many ideas through the course of the story about how he could use his coding magic to devestating effect but the best ideas he has is just to make meanial mental programs and giving simple instructions to inanimate objects. I at first thought that the coding magic would be extremely over powered but be limited by his mana well, which would have been reasonable.

To then find out that the mc really needs to code in an increase to his cognitive abilities because what hes done so far with it is honestly pathetic and an insult to anyone with any true coding expertise. The amount of variables you can mess around with in code even in his early stages should give any godly being some pause but at best hes made himself an amature puppetmaster with a barebones hud.

Im not even going to speak on his lack of drive to explore his abilities beyond the simplest concepts as that has already been elaborated on in other reviews.


Creative world building, but MC done poorly

Reviewed at: Chapter 26 - Insectile Buzzing

First off, let me reiterate that this stories greatest strength is its world. It is filled with interesting landscapes, a lot of different magic abilities as well as unique creatues.

The prologue tells the events ultimately leading to the MC being transported to another world. It does a great job at introducing the main character as well as establishing potential story developments.

Sadly, as of Chapter 26, it seems that the prologue has almost no impact on the main story. While the main character was initially described as rather careful and logical, he runs headfirst into danger as soon as he gets the opportunity after his transportation.

Spoiler: Spoiler

That the MC has not died yet is a testament to the strength of his plot armor. I feel that the power level of the MC is highly dependent on what the situation requires.

Spoiler: Spoiler

To sum it up, I believe this story has what it takes for a good story. However, it seems that everything seems to fall into place just right for the MC to take advantage of despite his extremely impulsive and foolish decisions.



Potential but lots of downsides

Reviewed at: Chapter 28 - The Shattering

Prime example of a character is only as smart as the author. While experienced authors can mask their own shortcomings by planning less experienced authors get hung up on moving the plot forward, getting to the next exciting, in their mind, story elements.

That is the main problem with our poor protagonist in this webnovel. Poor planning and a lack of showing the intellectual aspects the author tells us the protagonist has. He's intelligent and rational supposedly, but we never see this. He, as far as what we actually see, seems impulsive, rash, and short sighted. An example of an MC that is calculating and intelligent though far from a genius would be Rain from Delve. He doesn't rush into situations and actually seems to want to keep his life, unlike our MC here who rushes headfirst into danger without even understanding or trying to understand the extent of his powers. Our MC has basically godlike power to craft magic, but doesn't seem to care to spend a few months figuring it out through trial and error or a carefully crafted testing regiment.

I don't mind headstrong MCs, but if that's the type you're gonna write at least go all in on it and don't go half in. It just leaves the character looking lackluster and honestly stupid. This story has potential but just doesn't do anything better than other bottom tier middling fics on here.


MC is Xianxia Arrogant young master level Idiot

Reviewed at: Chapter 8 - A Pile of Sand

I would have given a 0.5 star. This story is that bad! But no author deserves that. Specially one who wrote an original novel; no matter how crap.

The MC supposedly was the only survivor of apocalypse. So he should particularly want to survive, no? Apparently the author doesn't think so.

MC is attacked by a lion. He survives. Fine.

But then that lion is being hunted by wild dogs so the MC stops retreating and goes to watch it. Why? Because he just had to. Author's words. Not mine.

Then when the dogs hunts the lion, the MC kills all the dogs for the lion. Why? I don't know. Even the author dosn't know.

The MC is poisoned. And the random berries he had picked up earlier were actually ultra miraculous! Heavenly! Legendary! Stupidly powerful! Mega Lucky! Anti-poison berries! Hurray!! Who would have seen this coming? Certainly not me. -_-

Then the MC saves the poisoned lion, the very same one that wanted to kill the MC, with life saving berries. Why? becuase they both are dying. Lol. 

Then when a settlement is attacked, instead of retreating into the magic that will definetely save him, he goes on to fight this super dangerous monster that had knife for a body. This monster is so powerful that all the gaurds can do nothing.

But worry not, MC is here. And he is Level 2!!! 1 more level than level 1! By the power of Level 2 the MC will defeat 2 settlement destroying monsters! Not one but 2! By the power of 2!!! He is very powerful!! 

I just can't with this novel. I do not understand why is this number 2 on trending? Are the people so bored due to quarentine?


Style: There's nothing particularly special about the author's writing style. Overall the flow is decent, but there are often abrupt conclusions to ideas, often due to grammar issues. Periods inside of dialogue, run-on sentences, and unrelated clauses linked by commas tend make it somewhat difficult to maintain immersion. I do appreciate the effort that is putting into showing instead of telling, but sometimes it's still insufficient. I still struggle to picture some of the races depicted. 

Grammar: Overall pretty average. Every chapter has at several glaring flaws in vocab use and/or grammar. Heck, even the synopsis has a pretty bad vocab mix-up: "Its producer, in lieu of the apocalypse, had released early". I'm sorry. The producer replaced the apocalypse by releasing a product early? Typical errors include improper punctuation for dialogue, ending sentences with prepositions, incorrect word usage, run-on sentences, single ideas split into multiple clauses improperly, and so much more. 

Story: The initial premise is virtually identical to Goes Unpunished by Aj Golde. Lone survivor in a post-apocalyptic setting, forced to go into a game to avoid death, reincarnated in a new world, etc. The concept of Code Magic seems interesting but hideously OP, so god only knows what will happen with that. There’s the obligatory insight-esque skill, the usual thirst for knowledge, and the generically super-rare, high-tier skills.

Character: It's fairly clear that the author didn't really flesh out the MC before writing. It's not a terrible thing but be aware that there is some lack of consistency as the author decides what traits the character will have. In the prologue the MC is mentioned as not particularly religious, and that he rarely ever refers to the monsters as demons, but then never refers to them as anything else. He swears by using Christ's name in later chapters as well. Traits are also added over time, such as the obligatory zest for life and the "habits" of speaking out loud or humming while alone. 

Overall: The story is fine. The worldbuilding and system are well-thought out while the grammar and writing style are somewhat weak. The character isn’t particularly interesting, and kind of feels like a self-indulgent placeholder for the reader. I certainly will continue this story if only because I have little better to do during this quarantine.


i have some expectations

Reviewed at: Chapter 34 - Trial

Frankly, nothing that has happened in the story so far has surprised me, which isn't inherently a bad thing; part of the reason for this is that everything in the world seems to abide by the natural law of common sense, and leaves little room in the plot for gimmicks that'll only be relevant for a few chapters.

The setting was crafted thoughtfully, but I don't think that's apparent just because any of the geographical landmarks or flora or fauna are singularly interesting. What separates this particular fantasy world from others is that all of its most prominent, attention-grabbing features are drawn out and described in satisfyingly complete detail, while those bits that are more technical or difficult to explain are gently obscured beyond their initial description. Essentially, it's unique because it doesn't feel like someone's trying to illustrate Skyrim for you using their extremely limited vocabulary in a foreign language. Now that's epic.

Jayke, despite having lived in total isolation for a year under constant siege from alien hellspawn, has managed to maintain a relatively clearheaded, rational state of mind. Unfortunately for him, the experience hasn't shaped his character in any apparent manner, and he remains a blandly nice, nondescript human male. Same as most isekai protagonists. There's nothing wrong with being supremely average in all the ways that don't matter and competent in all the ways that do... Except that those types of characters get labeled a "mary sue," and people sometimes get pissed enough to drop stories because of it.I 

Spoiler: (((Hot Take)))

I'm satisfied with the grammar. Issues like misusing a comma where there ought to be a semicolon, not using a comma where there should be one, or mistakenly using the past tense of a verb where a preposition belongs are scattered throughout but mostly unobtrusive. They shouldn't greatly affect anyone's reading experience.

However, if you notice mistakes, it's good manners to point them out in the comments so that they can be corrected. I've not done this because I usually read on the Safari app with Javascript turned off, and couldn't write any comments. Do as I say, not as I do...

My only other complaint is that the updates don't come often enough. Thanks for the chapters!


Annoyances but quality experimenting story.

Reviewed at: Chapter 26 - Insectile Buzzing

Finally starts experimenting with magic more ~chap 25.

Minor annoyances (mc immediately getting valuable berries(seriously, hope this gets explained) minor hype narrator, little effect of a relative decade of isolation, understandable early lack of experimentation with abilities, typical general plot)

Middling mc characterization 

Good major characters (Oz), and descriptions of ability experimentation

Great world-building (love the dungeon)


I've read all of it (up to ch. 25) in one sitting and I am really enjoying this story. I encourage the writer to continue doing what he's doing because it's great. I think this story (with a bit of polishing) could be self-published on amazon and do quite well. The character are good, the world building is great and more than anything really inventive and amazing. Love that the MC is not super over powered from the beginning even though his powers have got great potential in the long run. Continue doing what you're doing, and remember it's always good to take criticism but it's also important to disregard haters, I see so many budding authors with potential on here that get demoralised by haters, there's always some of them but it's better to focus on the positives and constructive criticism to improve what you're doing. Keep at it! And if you publish I'll be buying.