Rollin Round the Matrix, Crackin Black ICE, Hackin My Gibson, Dude
First off, I'm a sucker for any game dedicated to a scientist, and this one is dedicated to one of my favorites, Alan Turing, the man who invented the machine that could do 20 million years’ worth of decryption in 20 minutes. A fitting dedication for a game that, “features a complete visual programming kit for designing your own viruses.”
It certainly does scratch my logic and programming itch. It reminds me of my old Big Trak. I wish I could make it bring me an apple. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6V-tuOf3dE)
Like a musical instrument, the better at playing Cyber Sentinel you get, the more clever little things you can do, and if you find learning to be as appealing as I do, you'll be hooked before you can say, “chemical castration.”
This game challenges you to think in different paths of logic than you might be used to. It's great brain exercise. It will probably frustrate you; feel the burn.
I do have a few criticisms. There are some spelling and grammatical errors that detract a bit from the story, but alas, my spell checker tells me I've been misspelling “sentinel”, so I'll turn a non-hypocritical blind eye. Especially since the writers at MindHelix are likely to speak English far better than I speak Polish. Hell, they might even be better at English.. (“sentinal”.. /sigh)
To be fair, I haven't finished reading it yet, since you must complete several challenging puzzles to unlock it all, but the cyberpunk story, unfortunately, feels like it was hastily thrown on top of a game that in my opinion, deserved better. As a fan of the genre, it did draw me in initially and made for a decent game trailer, but I feel like a bit of bait and switch took place, although I'm sure none was intended. That being said, I quite enjoy programming the little cube to roll around.
It's certainly a pleasing shape to watch as it locks into each square in its path, but since this is a hacker game, I am left wishing it was something more... “hacker-ish.” The setting is something like a matrix or ICE node as envisioned by William Gibson, in its simplest form. So I'd have loved to see my cyber-self represented with a more interesting avatar, if not a list of optional avatars to choose from. To be honest, I'm not sure what exactly the cube is supposed to be. I thought maybe it could represent ICE since it's a cube shape, but considering that stands for Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics according to the canon, it doesn't make much sense as my little cube appears to be the one doing the intruding. Maybe it's a bit. I like bits. Let's say it's a bit.
I found the tutorial mostly adequate, but a bit lacking in my opinion when it comes to the blank programmable tiles, “When program goes into this empty state, it will pause until it exits that state in the next step(s).”
Seems ambiguous to me. Is there a way to control the duration of the pause? Perhaps I'm being obtuse, but I ended up having to go to the community solutions to learn how the blank tiles work. It turns out I was over-thinking it. They pause for one step. To pause longer, add more blank tiles or make it loop back on itself. Obtuse it is, then. Touché, MindHelix.
Speaking of the community solutions option, what a great addition. If you find yourself being especially bright, you can brag about it here, by posting your unique solution. The level editor is also a nice touch, and I appreciate how easy it is to publish your creations. Once I've completed the game and mastered the logic behind these damned tiles, I look forward to creating my own ICE nodes, and eventually ruling the world!
The music is a good choice, aesthetically. I think techno suits the genre correctly, but it's not my cup of tea, so I turned it down. I like my cyberpunk music to be old and grungy, so I put on the soundtrack from Johnny Mnemonic.
Dig this grungy sh*t right here, kids:
That's better. Now I feel like hackin the Gibson by rollin' some cubes around.
Overall, as a logic puzzler, it aces, but they raised my expectations by adding the hacker story. So I must give a seven even though I'd like to give an eight. I do hope MindHelix keeps up the great work. Check them out; they have some pretty interesting ideas coming down the pipe. For instance, Ritu-Blah-Blau (no idea) where from what I can tell, you are a lady with a cell phone, walking down the sidewalk of a busy city, trying to manage a very rich electronic social life, while avoiding old creeper men and urinating dogs. I hope I get to review it.