Node.Hack (universal) by 4Agency, is a strategy game developed by 4gency. It’ss a modern take on the classic Pac-Man. The game looks easy at first, but never judge an app by its cover. The strategic elements and weapons used in the game make it a ton of fun to play. Node.Hack is a real nail-biter for strategy and casual game lovers.
The goal is to hack the planet by infiltrating secure servers. Players collect their payload along the way and destroy artificial intelligence enemies while escaping before the network self-destructs.
There are 15 levels total in the game. Players move around on a grid in order to collect data. The data is worth different values, and players increase the threat level as they collect it. AI programs run to protect the nodes, and essentially act like the ghosts in Pac-Man. When the threat level is high enough and the goal is reached, players have 60 seconds to escape the level.
Weapons and power-ups are integrated into Node.Hack to aid players. For instance, the orange weapons fire at the AIs but players must plan to use them strategically. Also, the money value multiplies when the timer activates in each level all while the nodes disintegrate—making it difficult for players to escape.
Levels are unlocked as players progress through the game. When caught by one of the virus programs, then the game ends. Players can start from the previous level or from the beginning. If players start from the beginning, they are able to collect more money and unlock additional Game Center achievements.
The risk involved is what makes Node.Hack so addictive. Since all the levels are randomly generated, players are always on the edge of their seat as they decide if it’s worth collecting cash nodes when AI enemies are close. Since the enemies randomly turn, players don’t know which direction they need to navigate the droid.
The controls are simple. Players tap on the desired node to fine the quickest path to advance to it. Players may have to act quickly as they travel to the node because the AI enemies can creep up on the path. Players can also slide their finger on the screen to move it in order to see more of the level. I didn’t realize this was an option at first until I saw the AI enemies disappearing and coming back so quickly.
The graphics aren’t the best quality, but they add a retro appeal to the game. The background music sounds like it belongs on the Weather Channel; a more upbeat track would help add to the suspense of the game. That said, Node.Hack is an addictive game that players will have trouble putting down once they start hacking.