Reviews

Uplink review

Want to go rogue?

Few games produce a physical response the same way that Uplink does. My palms get sweaty, my breathing slowed down and I get a tingling in my tummy. It feels real, so damn real. The trace tracker pings showing that the target is aware of my presence. 16%, no worries, 47% still no worries…where is that file I need? Get the file copier ready, allocate CPU power to covering my tracks while simultaneously copying files to my hard drive. 78%, closer now and I still have files to delete, and logs to purge. 93%, and the soft ping of the trace tracker has turned into a high pitched wail in my head. There, disconnected in the last moment. Taking a couple of seconds to calm my head before replying to the mission email. Can’t forget to include the files I just stole, and then I hit send.
Seconds later I get a response, and a granulation with a promise of payment to come within seconds. Another email shows up in my inbox, and that can’t be good. The message states that I have been reckless, and my neuromancer rating says that I am untrustworthy. Not good when negotiating for higher paid jobs.

Connecting to the internal services machine I browse the news, look for affordable upgrades to the uplink gateway, software and hardware. Settling for a quicker CPU, but still looking longingly for a better motherboard with dual CPUs and more RAM. Then I venture into the mission list trying to find something profitable to do. Profitable, and not that destructive. Got to get my act together to get higher scoring jobs with employers with deep pockets. There, a forgery job where I have to clean someone’s rap sheet. Hard as nails, and I have to wait for that new CPU to be installed, and perhaps get a better password breaker. After a bit of negotiating I manage to score the mission, but without getting any advance payment. No funds left for a better password breaker, and the 1.0 version will have to do.

Reading the mission statement sent I realise that this will be quite hard. First I have to hack a federal server, and then I have to browse quite a few records until I find the one to change. Nothing to do about that now, as I can’t decline now. My reputation is on the line, and as it has been dipping the last couple of missions I need this. Fast forwarding until my new CPU gets installed. With renewed confidence I enter the world map. Laying out the connection to slow down traces I start by connecting to the internic. Four lines later I am ready to connect to the target. Starting the trace tracker I find it to show no ping at all. Applying the password breaker to the login of the federal server the trace tracker immediately starts pinging. It rises steadily, and shows more than fifty per cent when I hack into the system. The files are easily browsed, but once I try to open the target I find it to be encrypted. My poor decryption software can’t get it done on time, and with the trace tracker close to 100% I have to disconnect.

Sitting back pondering what to do I get an email. Darn it, they have managed to follow my tracks. Now I am facing a fine, and if I refuse to pay I might get prosecuted. Now I have to decline the current mission, back down on my rating and take a lower risk and reward job. I messed up, and shouldn’t have spent all my funds on that shiny CPU. Now I am stuck stealing, and destroying files again. My neuromancer rating will be even lower until I have the funds to get a better version of the decryption software.

This is how Uplink plays, and every step of the way it feels like entering a parallel universe. A universe where I am a young hacker working for the Uplink performing different hacking missions. Ever since I first played it on my PC some eleven years ago Uplink has had a special place in my heart. It simulates the real thing so well, even though I have just seen the “real thing” in movies it feels real. There are references all over the new, missions and characters to past hacking movies, and literature. This paired with the sparse presentation gives the game a realistic edge.

Uplink is a classic that works really well on the iPad. I still prefer playing it on a PC though, as it connects closer to the subject matter. At times the game feels a bit too real, and too serious and I really just want to disconnect. This is the main problem with this kind of game: it takes commitment, and can’t be played casually. Would you casually commit any kind of crime beyond jaywalking? I wouldn’t. If you want the most intense game ever created, or have the least interest in a simulation of being a hacker Uplink is a must.

Final Rating

un-missable

Uplink $4.99 iPad only
Version: 1.0
Seller: Introversion Software

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