When Hacknet‘s tutorial told me I needed to kill its process in order to progress, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not out of sympathy for a sentient piece of software – this isn’t Hackmud. I’m reasonably confident the tutorial was just a lifeless bit of code, I just couldn’t do it because I’m a terrible hacker who can’t tell a firewall from a floppy.
Maybe you’re fare better. If you download Hacknet before 6pm BST on Saturday, you’ll get to keep one of the ten best hacking games for free. No nethacking required. This isn’t the first time Hacknet has done a giveaway, but this tweet suggests it might be the last.
It’s a shame that I’m so woefully inept at remembering basic commands that I doubt I’ll persevere with it. For those first few minutes where I wasn’t being asked to do anything but type out whatever the tutorial wanted me to type out, I was sold. It’s oddly satisfying to slam the enter key and be told you’ve earned access to a system, especially if you do that thing where you press enter while taking your other hand off the keyboard and swivelling around in your chair a little. Definitely try that.
I’m gonna pass you over to a more accomplished hacker. Here’s how Brendy, the scourge of security himself, summed up Hacknet in his roundup of the best hacking games:
” An unknown benefactor known as ‘Bit’ has granted you this strange new OS, basically a hacker’s toolkit. But don’t worry about him because he’s dead. The real joy of the game comes not from figuring out his death or the origins of the OS (although that’s a decent hook), but from using the command-line to run programs, explore the directories of your targets and generally cause a big ruckus. Bonus immersion if you listen to the WipeOut soundtrack while you do it.”
If the base game sinks its teeth in and you wind up with the hacking bug, note that the hefty Labyrinth expansion is only a fiver.
You can currently pick up Hacknet for free on Steam, though if you don’t grab it before 6pm (10am Pacific) you’ll have to pay £7/$10/€10.