Most of us lack the skills to call ourselves hackers, and that’s probably for the best since illegally stepping into someone else’s computer comes with life-altering consequences. Instead, we prefer to live out our hacker fantasies with the PlayStation VR headset and Darknet, a tricky puzzle game from indie developer E McNeill. If you need something new for the PSVR headset and fashion yourself a wannabe cyber-criminal (uh… or someone who simply likes puzzle games), it’s worth a look.
Darknet casts you as a hacker who sets out to steal various bits of data from multiple networks comprised of different nodes. In order to capture a network and its precious information, you will need to take over these nodes, all of which feature unique puzzles to solve.
To begin the hacking process, enter a node and make note of its honeycomb-like grid. Spread throughout this grid are anti-virus points with a yellow core in the center. The idea here is to deploy one or more of your viruses onto these anti-virus points so that you create a chain reaction that spreads across the grid and eventually leads to the core. Do this and you capture the node and add cash to your pocket, which you can then spend on more viruses and other virtual items.
The difficulty of taking over these nodes varies. The anti-virus point(s) you inject matters, because a deployed virus that touches another anti-virus point may result in a sort of dead end, forcing you to unleash another virus or start over, which you can do with a quick tap of the Circle button; you automatically regain spent viruses when you restart. Even better, you can’t spend viruses permanently. If you use five viruses to overtake one node, you’ll have five viruses when you attempt to capture the next one.
Earlier, we mentioned the option to acquire items other than viruses, one of which is the Hydra. One of the coolest things about Darknet is the fact that you don’t have to complete every node within a network. Instead, you’re able to use the Hydra to bust through shielded nodes called Sentinels, and the damage will consume nodes that are nearby. It’s so much easier than cracking nodes one at a time, and there’s satisfaction from watching several nodes go from green (uncaptured) to purple (captured) at once.
Similar to Resident Evil 7 and other games, you don’t need a PSVR headset to play Darknet, but we highly suggest using it if you own one. It’s cool to look in all directions at the many different interconnected nodes, and the visuals are so simplistic and well done that you shouldn’t experience eye strain from using the PSVR for extended periods of time. And while we don’t know what it’s like to be inside of a real computer, games like Rez Infinite and now Darknet throw off that cool cyberpunk vibe.