iLook at 868-Hack!

I didn't "get" 868-Hack, a popular videogame where you datajack into the cell cubes to decrypt pointfiles while cyberdodging viruses and shooting them with your datagun. This feels like a roguelike, this feels like a small thing with no rhyme or reason. I can't say I've enjoyed 868-Hack much because I've failed miserably to progress past the first few screens and some mechanics are still incomprehensible to me.

Welcome to the matrix, chipper

The goal of the game is to get points, I think. You get points by siphoning data from cubes with point values on them or using the .SCORE ability. You can move around by swiping and you use abilities by tapping on them, the controls are fine since this game isn't real-time. You gather siphons and collect energy/cash on the grid, unlock programs by siphoning them also and progress to different screens through portals.

Where's McAfee when you need it?

Where things get hairy is that when you siphon squares, enemies spawn. They also spawn randomly after you move (I'd love a timer to tell me when they're going to pop in) and you have to defeat them otherwise they'll take out your 3 life points quite easily. There's a bunch of enemy types, some move twice, some are invisible, some can go through walls. You have abilities too, but I feel like you're always overwhelmed no matter what skills you have. Personally I love .RESET to heal and .REDUC to remove the number of enemies that spawn when you siphon programs or points.

 :| indeed

And I just die constantly. No matter how many times I restarted the game with different programs, I still die constantly with no points. And I'm never sure what I could've done differently. Is there a way to 'win' each game? Is it super random and you'd have to be lucky to manage something? Am I not getting some base mechanic of the game down? And if so, is the game explaining it in any way?

What?

And some systems are just obtuse. This program list thing has an "unlock" and "lock" button, what's the point? Locked programs don't happen during gameplay, but why would I want to keep them locked? A screen to show me all programs (and maybe enemies) is a nice idea, but allowing me to lock/unlock them is just weird for no reason, and there's no tutorial that explains it anywhere

All and all, I played a fair ammount of 868-Hack, but I didn't understand it.