If you haven’t heard of Mr. Robot, you probably want to check it out. Currently in its second season and already renewed for a third, the show follows a hacker group calling themselves fsociety as they attempt to hack and disrupt E Corp, the biggest conglomerate on the planet. If you’re into computers, it’s definitely a good watch and is probably one of the most authentic hacker shows or movies to date. Night School Studios has released a companion game in cooperation with Telltale Games and the USA Network, our Mr. Robot game review takes a look to see if it’s worth picking up.
The Mr. Robot game starts off where the first season of the TV series ended, and for the sake of not spoiling anything for those who haven’t seen the show I won’t go into too much detail here. While watching the show definitely helps with some background, it really isn’t needed and to be honest I think it would add an extra level of wonder and questioning if you haven’t seen the show yet.
The games starts off with a brief introductory video from fsociety and finishes off with a moving picture/video of a cell phone laying on the ground with people walking by in the background. You of course are instructed to pick up the phone and once you do you’re greeted with a “Welcome To E Corp Messaging” app screen. In other words, your phone is now the game once you choose to sign up with E Corp Messaging. Agree to the usual Terms & Conditions that come with most apps that no one ever reads, and enter your first name, then place your finger on the screen to get started.
Throughout the course of the next week, you’ll get message notifications from the app at which time you can continue on — and eventually finish — your journey… Again, without spoiling anything, the story is pretty engaging, and you’re tasked with getting various things done by two of the show’s main characters, Darlene and Elliot. At the end of the week, with your final task completed, well let’s just say you’re definitely left wanting more and hopefully there will be a sequel to the game or an update with more content. Not to say it doesn’t complete your part of the story, but there’s definitely much more to build on from there.
While you’re left with a general idea of what’s going on, there are times when you’re left wondering and guessing, and while more explanation would be nice, it definitely plays into the hacker world where individuals have their specific tasks and aren’t given much more information out of that.
The entire Mr. Robot game is played out through a series of messages with various contacts. As the game progresses, you gain more contacts, and must message and use those contacts to your advantage in order to get what you need for Darlene and Elliot. Whenever you get a notification that you have a new message, launching the app will take you to the E Corp Messaging app home screen where you’ll see an exclamation mark indicating a new contact, message, or attachment. When checking messages, you’ll eventually be given a choice of 2 or 3 responses to send back to whomever is messaging you, although I’m not entirely sure how much choosing each one will change the outcome of the game. I’d hazard a bet that any message choice you choose will result in the same final outcome.
From time to time you’ll receive or have to send an attachment, and the game is pretty strict in letting you only send the appropriate attachment to the appropriate contact. Overall the game runs smooth, and you really feel like you’re using a messaging app to communicate with key players — not to mention weeding through the annoying spam and side conversations — to get your hacker tasks completed.
You can’t force the game to run faster either, and there are times when you are left waiting half a day or more for that familiar new message notification sound, and I found myself checking that notification as soon as it came in to see what was going to happen next. The entire game plays out over the course of about a week.
As the game is based on a messaging app, there isn’t much in the way of graphics here. It’s simple, well designed, and when there is an image attachment the graphics are what you would expect from a modern day smartphone messaging app.
As with the graphics, there isn’t much in the way of sound. The opening sequence definitely grabs your attention with its imagery and dialogue mixed with the background music. Throughout the rest of the game, the sounds are pretty much relegated to your usual messaging dings and beeps.
I wasn’t sure what to expect given Telltale Games attachment to the game. About the only thing in common with other Telltale Games is the choices you have to make in response to a specific situation, in this case an incoming message. While most of the work was most likely done by Night School Studio, it definitely was a different type and style of game that fit well with the Mr. Robot TV show.
Priced at $2.99USD ($3.89CAD), it’s not a bad price for a week’s worth of hacking and intrigue. Although given the concept of the show, it’s interesting that USA Network wouldn’t just give this gem out for free. At any rate, the Mr. Robot game is a fun — albeit short — tie in hacker game to the show which should keep your interest quite well over the space of a week as you text your way to helping out fsociety in their next hack.
*We reviewed a retail copy of the Mr. Robot game which was purchased by the reviewer.
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