Created by E McNeill and first revealed all the way back in 2013, Darknet is an award-winning cyberpunk hacking title in the form of a VR puzzle/strategy game. Darknet – one of the oldest VR games that I know of – first launched for Oculus Rift and Gear VR, and came to the PlayStation VR earlier this year.
But HTC Vive owners were sadly missing out. Or playing the game through ReVive. Luckily though, Darknet launched a couple of weeks ago for HTC Vive on Steam. So it’s time to enter a 90’s inspired cyberspace and become the ultimate hacker. Just don’t forget your black trench coat.
In Darknet you win by using viruses, worms, and exploits to steal data before your signal gets traced. The game starts out simple enough but becomes more complicated as you progress. Check out the short gameplay video (played on HTC Vive) below:
When it comes to hacking, most people generally don’t know how it works. Popular movies generally just has someone sitting in front of a computer typing really fast, and when it comes to games – you’ve probably seen at least one little ‘hacking’ mini-game by now. But none of that reflects the true thing. Darknet, however, gives it a good go, while still making the game a fun and immersive experience.
It’s Hacking Time
In Darknet you have to choose which nodes you want to attack, which then puts you inside these nodes. Once you’re there, you can start deploying viruses and if you’re strategic enough about it then the anti-virus software won’t catch you. The goal is to have a virus reach the core in a sequence on the honeycomb grid before it gets eliminated.
What I really liked was that the game doesn’t really spoon-feed you too much. All of the nodes are open from the beginning, so you can go straight for the hardest node if you want – but you are definitely going to get caught. Which means you have to approach this from a more strategic point but in what sequence you do it is still up to you. All of the nodes are connected, so by tackling the smaller nodes you can win by steadily weakening the defenses that have been built up around the other nodes – especially the bigger ones. Your ultimate goal is to hack the ‘root node’ because that will let you into the system and gives you access to the files you’re looking for.
Besides the viruses, you also have Hydras and Exploits that you buy to help with the ‘hacking process’. What’s great is that these tools can guide your strategy as well. For instance, if you’re using a Hydra (which can only be placed on hacked nodes) then you would want to weaken the defenses in an area a little before placing the Hydra, because it spreads to all the defenseless connected nodes, making your job a little easier. Overall, this makes one of the best VR puzzle games I have had the pleasure of playing.
It’s Not the First VR Game You’ll Show Off to Your Friends
Darknet is definitely a unique game for the VR platform. I definitely haven’t seen a virtual reality game like it before. And it was pretty cool to feel like Johnny Mnemonic from the 1995 film of the same name. Overall, the game’s design is solid and engaging. Plus there were no bugs or problems to be found, during my playthrough of about an hour.
Having said that, this game certainly won’t be for everyone. The gameplay, while fun, is very simple and it might get a little monotonous after a while. Darknet probably also won’t be the first game you show off to your friends. Although the cyberpunk title has built up a fan following and I have seen some Oculus players who say they are basically addicted to Darknet. So if you are into puzzle games then I would say Darknet is definitely worth the 15 bucks. Darknet is available on Steam now.
Developer: E McNeill
Publisher: E McNeill
Release Date: 8 June 2017