I eye-spied on Hacknet [official site] yesterday when a note came through that it had released. So here’s the news: Hacknet is out, and it’s an Uplink-ish hacking game. There’s a release trailer and some (very brief) impressions on the first half hour or so below.
At least in the early stage I’ve played, Hacknet does a couple of things right. First, it has an actually usable GUI that complements the typing out of commands. While I’m all about that black-hat 160 WPM power-fantasy, I also really like being able to do things quickly and easily in a format I’m familiar with. It doesn’t go full Windows – it has lots of menus and sub-menus rather than icons and folders – but it’s just enough to be able to keep all the info in your head while trying to remember lists of commands.
It also sits nicely between funny and dramatic, realistic and interesting. One early computer I hacked into had a collection of saved quotes from the IRC archive Bash.org, buried in folders I didn’t need to look through but wasn’t stopped from investigating. Other terminals have background information on the characters you’re investigating, or hidden files that explain exactly why you’ve been given the instructions you have.
The plot, that a dead hacker has set up a failsafe that’s now contacting you to look into his untimely demise, is clichéd but doesn’t get in the way of setting you loose to do bad hacker things to people’s systems. It’s also immediately intriguing and drives you forward through opening tutorials naturally.
It looks like a good update on the Uplink formula and for a little over a fiver (or just under $10) on Steam and Humble, though I’d need to play more to know whether its appeal lasts. And I am going to keep playing it to find out.