Exploit

You're the hero. You see the enemies, fight your way to the end, and eventually defeat them all and save the day. That's 90% of gaming, in a nutshell. Occasionally, you're given a chance to be the bad guy. It's fun, but it's still the same dichotomy of good and evil - black and white. At it's best it's still predictable.

Exploit by Gregory Weir exists in a world of terrorism and hackers - shades of gray. You play as a hacker infiltrating an oppressive island dictatorship that has isolated itself from the world. From there, it only gets more nebulous. The story unfolds in emails between missions, from such unlikely sources as news reports, personal emails or spam. It's many pieces that eventually may fit together to form a picture. Then again, maybe not.

The gameplay is just as uncertain. It's a puzzle game using several basic pieces together to create increasingly complex levels. Your goal is to hack your way in from the ports on the edge of the playing field, which fire onto the network grid that contains components such as buffers, dividers, latches and port knock keys. These combine in devious ways, sometimes as red herrings and sometimes as the key to the solution. Just like the story, there's no clear way to tell what's true and what's a dead end. In the end, you have to work through the details and figure it out yourself.

Why You Should Check This Out: Puzzles filled with paranoia and intricate logic, but never too frustrating. Setting and story truly set this one apart, the game world encompasses the paranoid fear of the story all too well. You'll never know where you stand.

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Comments

Just played this yesterday over on armor games. It is a good little puzzle.

I'm a fan of these Weir games, though this and Bars of Black and White both have moments where puzzles can be sort of accidentally stumbled through. Maybe that's why I like them, since such "brute force" puzzle solutions can be my MO.

I look forward to these casual game posts every week; they really give me a way to recharge on Friday while at work. This particular game has definitely got me intrigued and I'm really enjoying how the story unfolds.

I liked figuring out how to do the puzzles. Not so much when I knew what I was supposed to do but couldn't get the timing right, and get the timing even SLIGHTLY off and you need to start all over.

I agree that the timing ones were the most frustration I had. Otherwise I loved the puzzles.

I also loved

spoiler wrote:

[color=white]how the ending was as dubious as the rest of the game. "above some lawyer's office", indeed. Was the terrorist being played just like you were being played? It's ambiguous.[/color]

Puzzle game for free! I'm in . . . as soon as I get home from work.

A fun little diversion, but the timing aspect really started to get on my nerves. I knew how to solve some puzzles, but just wasn't clicking in just the right interval. I do love this Fringe Busters section though.. especially when it ends up killing a few hours instead of watching the clock.

Yeah, getting the timing right is a pain in the butt, but the puzzle aspect is really fun.

[edit]

You know, some of the combinations are sufficiently complex that I have to practice them a few times just so I hit everything in the right order to actually solve it. It would be nice if there were some way to mark them with numbers so I don't have to remember the sequence when I'm trying to be quick for the proper timing.

I really enjoyed the puzzles in this one. They do a good job of creating a visual experience that feels like hacking. I would love to see something like this used as a hacking minigame in a game like System Shock or Bioshock.

I didn't have much trouble with the timing aspect of some of the puzzles, but I agree with complexmath that it would have been nice to be able to mark things.

PyromanFO wrote:

I agree that the timing ones were the most frustration I had. Otherwise I loved the puzzles.

I also loved

spoiler wrote:

[color=white]how the ending was as dubious as the rest of the game. "above some lawyer's office", indeed. Was the terrorist being played just like you were being played? It's ambiguous.[/color]

Exploit spoilers wrote:

[color=white]The ending was a bit dubious, especially with the terrorist being killed. I was initially disappointed, but I found that as I thought more about it, the more it felt like everyone was played on a large scale.

I really liked the throw-away line about how the terrorist had a similar style to the protagonist. The solving of puzzles was left up to the player, but the master plan was actually the responsibility of Sk3te so the style would be all his.[/color]

The timing was an important aspect of the puzzles. They'd be far too simple without it. Sure, there were times I was tempted to hit the DDOS. In the end, missing the timing only forced you to wait a few seconds before everything reset.

Fun game, and I agree that without the need for precise timing it just would've been too easy. The DDOS button was a nice touch in case you got really stuck, but I never used it because I always feared there would be an even harder puzzle after using it.

complexmath wrote:

Yeah, getting the timing right is a pain in the butt, but the puzzle aspect is really fun.

[edit]

You know, some of the combinations are sufficiently complex that I have to practice them a few times just so I hit everything in the right order to actually solve it. It would be nice if there were some way to mark them with numbers so I don't have to remember the sequence when I'm trying to be quick for the proper timing.

I used notepad, with N E S W for each side of the board, and numbered each port from top to bottom (or left to right). Then I just wrote out the sequence for the solution.

Fake example:

n2, s2, e1, w5, e5, w1

etc etc.

Sometimes I would just click on all of them as fast as I could, and it would open.

This is an unexpectedly addictive little puzzler. The developer clearly has at least a basic understanding of the subject and has ingeniously reduced this into an accessible and evocative puzzle game.

That one was a lot of fun. I even enjoyed the Challenge Puzzles. Did anyone else get all four bonus puzzles? The fourth one made me smile.