Back in 2001, Introversion Software released a hacking game for PC titled “Uplink”.  Widely known for it’s simple design and immersion factor, Uplink was a true to life experience of how hackers do their dirty deeds.  Fast forward to 2012 and another classic game has been ported over to IOS devices for a new generation to enjoy.  Let’s jump into the server nodes and see how the game holds up.

What We Thought Was Cool

You Are The Hacker

The one thing that made Uplink different than most other games is how it really makes you feel like you are in the game.  This is a hackers LARPing dream come true as the game puts you front and center to what a real hacker might see. Providing nothing more than a blue map screen, Uplink gives off a set of text menus and bulletin boards offering hacking jobs.  After taking the initial tutorial, the player is off on their own to find jobs that match their skill level via an underworld BBS type system.  Some jobs may not be available right away until you “Chat” with a client proving your ability.  connecting to the underworld also offers an online store filled with IP tracers, root kits, and crackers.  All these tools are essential for a would be criminal hacker and you can upgrade them to build on their strength.  As you select a job, you are presented with a server maps where you can skip trace around to avoid detection.  Connecting straight to the network you wish to hack may not be the best way to go about things.

During my initial play through, I thought it would be fun to try and see what happens when you just go straight for the goods.  I found that without the proper tools you are going to get caught right away.  I ended up getting caught so much that the client fired me from the job.  I received an in-game mail that advised me that I need to pay a cyber jail crime or face further problems.  I decided against paying the “man” and went back to the job board where I quickly learned that every available client thought I was too high risk due to my criminal record.  My hacking career was over in a flash and I was forced to start over from the bottom.

There is an actual story to Uplink and as you progress through the missions things will be revealed to you.  Feeling like an old school adventure game, the conspiracy unravels via the in-game email system.  This really adds to the immersion factor as it combines nicely with the way the game is built.  Staring at a password cracker and a tracer kit hoping that you don’t get caught can add some palm sweating moments.

Presentation

How are graphics one of the cool features of a mostly text adventure?  Well young hacker, it’s the simple graphic style of the game that ties everything together with a pretty little bow.  Anyone who plays Uplink is presented with everything that a seedy hacker might see on their computer screen.  From logins to hacking tools, Uplink makes the player believe that they are actually doing some dirty work here.  The design of the whole thing ups the immersion by a few notches and is a big bucket of win for those looking at being immersed into a game.  Uplink works really well with a touchscreen device as it makes it easier to swipe in and out of menus.  I did find that some of the typing portions responded a bit slow but it was nothing to really complain about.  The presentation of Uplink really makes you believe like you are in some sort of Hollywood movie where you are racing against time to get a job done.

What We Thought Sucked

Learning Curve

Uplink is not really made for the casual gamer who does not want to be frustrated with an IOS game.  While the tutorial is pretty deep, anything after that is up to the player to learn as they go a long.  One false move can totally destroy the gaming experience and make you start over from the beginning.  This was the first time in a game that I found the immersion factor to be a little too much.  If I am paying for an IOS game I want it to be an experience that I can truly enjoy without feeling like I want to throw my Ipad against a wall.  Most people purchase an Ipad game to play in short intervals as they ride the metro home or while hanging out in their home.  Uplink may be a bit too hard for those looking to simply escape for a few hours as it requires some critical thinking with what your objections are in the game.

Final Thoughts

Being a port of a classic game, Uplink does offer a true experience for those looking to revisit the fun times they had on their old systems.  Uplink works well with new technology and the iommersion factor is top notch for those looking to have fun with an adventure game.  I wouldn’t run out and immediately buy the game, Shogunites, but I would give it a shot if you have some free gaming time.

Uplink is available on the Apple App Store for $4.99 and GamingShogun was provided a copy for review

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