Hacking games are an interesting beast. As opposed to most games, the physical actions the player takes — sitting at a keyboard, typing out commands — are directly paralleled in the action in the game. I think this extra bit of immersion is what draws me in to games like #Hacknet and Code 7.
A few weeks ago, I first heard about Code 7, a text adventure game from #GoodwolfStudio. I have to admit that I never really got into text adventures like Zork or the other Infocom games. I suppose there wasn’t much appeal when I could be playing other, graphically superior, games like Tetris or Super Mario Bros. on my NES. But in recent years, I’ve started to rediscover this classic genre.
Though the game bills itself as a text adventure, I’d posit that it’s more. Code 7 does play exclusively with the keyboard, with the player entering commands to move around the world and interact with various objects you’ll encounter. However, Goodwolf have added on a layer of rich audio and graphics, including fully voiced dialog.
The game begins as you wake in an unknown setting. You quickly discover that you are suffering from a head injury, resulting in total memory loss and have been separated from your teammate, Sam. It is soon revealed that a rogue AI has released a potent virus, which could wipe out all life on earth. Working together with Sam, you’ll have to make your way to escape the station and stop the contagion from spreading.
Gameplay is fairly simple: you issue commands on the keyboard, and Sam will execute them. You can instruct her to move to various rooms within the facility, investigate objects within those rooms, or just talk about things. Periodically, you’ll need to use your hacking skills and interface with the station’s computers to open doors, disable security robots, and basically avoid being murdered.
The hacking takes a few different forms, but all the gameplay is done by typing various commands. The terminal can autofill terms to make it quicker; in some cases, typing quickly is very important, as hacking a door open can be the only thing keeping you from a grisly death at the hands of murderbots.
I don’t know if it’s really fair to call Code 7 a text adventure, as much of the action takes place graphically, watching your characters move in a birds-eye view through the map or through a digital representation of the computer network. I’d also say it doesn’t really matter what we call it. It’s fun, and I’m looking forward to more.
Throughout each episode, you will have to make some choices in how you respond to certain situations, and these decisions will impact the rest of the game. Code 7 is an episodic series, set to release the first episode in May. A prologue, Episode 0: Allocation, is now available for free through itch.io and Humble, where you can also purchase the full game.
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Release date: Episodic, beginning May 2017
Creator: Goodwolf Studio
Update: In a post dated 2/15, Goodwolf Studio announced the game will be released as 4 longer episodes instead of 5 shorter episodes, and Episode 1 is now slated for "early to mid May." This post has been edited to reflect the date change.