Have you ever wanted to hack into a bank and steal all their money? Well, would you settle for a PC game that lets you do that? Solis Studios HEX Hacking Simulator is exactly what it sounds like. You play as a computer hacker who uses different hacking nodes to break through the security systems of the bank and get that hard earned cash.
HEX can be played alone or online with another player. In multiplayer mode one person is the Hacker and one is the Control who communicates to the Hacker and helps them break the security measures that are in place. The main screen shows you which hacking nodes you will need to break in. The Hacker can see into the mainframe of the computer and the Controller can help the hacker on their end. For example, if you are trying to crack a password, the Hacker will punch in random words to try to break it. The Controller will see a list of possible passwords come up on their screen and give suggestions to the Hacker. The more you try the more the list will go down till you get the password. There are many other nodes to use as well that are all played out in puzzles such as that. If you play solo then you take on both roles, hitting the tab key to switch between the two. I highly recommend playing with two people because it’s much more fun and slightly less time consuming…because time is not on your side in this!
The game itself is pretty straightforward, figure out which nodes you need, unlock them, use them, get the monies. The rest of the gameplay though, not so much. First of all you are thrown right into the system with only a few minutes to figure out everything. You can type “list” to see your list of options and what to do, and there is a computer that will give you guidance. Otherwise you are on your own! There is a tutorial on how to use the main screen and the computer will give you tips such as “try to do this…” but otherwise there is NO help on using the actual nodes! I took me several attempts before I could figure out what I was supposed to accomplish with the nodes. For example there is one node where you have to put pipes together in order to flow the information from one pipe to the end. I was pretty sure I connected all the pipes correctly but I guess I didn’t because when I hit submit it said I failed. And you only get ONE CHANCE, no redo’s at all unless you start the whole scenario over again –meaning you have to do all the nodes again. Some scenarios let you make a mistake and still keep going but either way it’s a waste of the small amount of time you have to begin with, not to mention frustrating.
The scenarios are different every time you play HEX and seem to be randomly generated. This could work to your advantage if you find you are having trouble with one of the node puzzles, or maybe you just don’t like that puzzle, you could start over and hope for a different node. As I mentioned it’s more fun to play as two people because then you don’t have to worry too much about both things, you can put the worry on your partner instead! After you complete all the nodes, you then have to drain the money from the vault which is another trial. You have a set amount you are supposed to get and will lose points if you take too much and flat out lose if you take too little. Also you have to be careful because the pipes connecting the hacker to the safe will start to get too hot and you will get caught so the Control has to alert the Hacker when to shut off a hot pipe or you in big trouble!
So my biggest beef with Solis Studios HEX Hacking Simulator is that there is no help in figuring out the nodes. The “guidance” given by the computer is lackluster and really only reminds you what you are supposed to accomplish, not HOW to accomplish that. I am usually pretty good at figuring stuff out but some of these nodes where just too difficult for me. I did love the concept and though. I liked the idea that all the nodes were different puzzles and such, but it was just too hard to figure out what to do. I of course wasn’t a big fan of the small amount of time you have to complete the hack (seriously only a couple mins) however it does give you a sense of urgency that a real hacker might have so you can look at it that way. The multiplayer aspect also made the game a lot more fun. So for all that I give it 3 out of 5 baby dragons.
If you are up for the challenge and have a buddy who is ready to help then check out HEX Hacking Simulator here on Steam for only $9.99. Happy hacking!!