Hacker Evolution Duality
Available for Linux, Mac and PC via Steam £14.99 or the Deluxe edition £18.99 or direct via the developers website $19.95 USD
I admit that I know very little about the development team behind this game and reached out to them to try and see how they came to develop it but got no response. At the time of writing the game does not have the best reputation on steam (37% positive) but I try to approach any review I do without bias. The game itself was released back in 2011. I personally picked up the game cheap in one of the steam sales, curious as to how much it may owe to a classic such as Uplink.
The answer to that sadly is not very much. As you enter your name you are presented with somewhat of a minimum tutorial which is where I would tell you to invest a little time in reading the online manual. The interface is simplistic and easy to pick up, as you are presented with a world view you click on the system you wish to begin compromising and then choose your weapon. As you activate your anti-firewall program a window pops up to show you the progress, and I was a little sad that it was that easy, I just had to watch the red boxes turn black and I was in. No need for me to interact or be nervous about what’s happening just sit back and watch it happen. Once the firewall was down I could then access their terminal by clicking another button and then transferring a file by clicking. Like all any tutorial this is to introduce you to the base concept of how to play the game. You’re taught how to run a DoS (Denial of Service) and EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) attack, both of which can be reused after a fairly long cool down period. The tools are aimed to reduce the security level of your selected target. This then opens them up to a firewall attack and then allowing you access and use them as a bouncing point. Bouncing your attack gains you CPU power as you can begin to attack the firewall from the compromised machines. You’ll need to learn this because the even on the second level there are some challenges to be had with some systems having a higher security rating.
As you take over other systems then eventually they start to hit back at you, trying to break your firewall and compromise your system. Protecting your own system comes in the form of purchasing upgrades which boost your firewall, CPU or integrity. But this is really where your expansion stops, all you do again is click a button to make it more powerful, there is no real strategy as to what tools to buy or programs to install to better hide your activity. Once you have seen a version of all the tools then the novelty for me wore off very quickly. They are basically a series of mini-games which consist of either moving a slider to the right spot or clicking a button at the right time; there is very little skill or planning involved. I’m going to even say that it actually feels like a game that was mostly designed for mobile but released on mainstream systems maybe to get more revenue or exposure.
Given the RRP price of the game, I would have been bitterly disappointed with the game if I had not picked it up really cheaply in a sale. Still the game has a lot of content if you take a look at all the DLC but unless you like repeating what you have already done then what is the point? Steam reviews currently hold this at about 37% and I am going to agree with them. There is no real depth or storyline from what I played through, and little consequence to getting caught. Yes you have to restart the level but there is no real sense of loss, more a sense of annoyance for me. This annoyance grew when I failed a level having to go through the “Load Profile” page and not offered an immediate “Replay” button a simple design flaw but enough to make me not want to retry after a while.
I hate being harsh on a game but I feel like I have no real choice on this one. It never crashed on me which is a huge bonus but I don’t know if it was that stable upon release. I can’t be angry at the development team for putting out a product that works given how many modern games come out with day one patches. I bought it in the sale so I don’t feel cheated either. Looks wise it’s not too bad but could certainly be better given the year it was made in. I think “Disappointing” sums it up for me.
Final verdict: 3/10
Have you played Hacker Evolution Duality? Do you agree with our opinions or do you feel I’m being too harsh? We’d love to hear from you if you have an opinion on it. As per usual you can post comments here or use Reddit, Twitter or Facebook to get in touch. Also remember that in a few weeks time we take on our third hacking game HackNet.
Love and rockets