Black Ice (Early Access)

I've never hacked anything in my life. Wouldn't even know where to start, really. That's why I love Black Ice; it's a game that shows us a '90s movie version of hacking, all neon lights, thumping bass and huge guns to kill the enemies (because obviously the servers are protected by horrid spiders and scorpions!).

Jack in with me as we take a look at the self-proclaimed "Super Duper" Garrett Cooper's first game!

Being that Black Ice is only version 0.5 at the moment, there's little in the way of introduction or story but that's fine, because it doesn't need it. Jacking in from the title screen loads up a wonderland of high-contrast neon structures, representing corporation servers. Armed with a basic weapon, it's your job to hack your way to Finality Inc., a monster of a building that presides over this brightly coloured landscape.

blackice-header

Now, trying to hack Finality Inc. straight away results in nothing more than a swift death. Instead, you make your way by hacking progressively more difficult servers, starting at level one. This process is as simple as being near a building and pressing 'Q'. Any attempted hack triggers a spawn zone for the enemies, and for the hack to be succesful you must stay with this zone until the hack completes and you kill all the enemies. It's fast and frantic, circle strafing madly while firing everthing you have at marauding spiders or floating eye lasers.

Pulling off a hack grants experience points and loot drops, with the potential for more powerful weapons or power-ups to help take on more well protected servers. At the moment I'm using an Imperial Laser (constant fire) and a heavy sniper rifle (dual wield obviously!). I also have a couple of summons to bring in a helper or two to the fight.

In terms of gameplay, that's it. Hack, kill, loot. The joy of Black Ice is in this poetic simplicity. Level ups come thick and fast, and the loot is plentiful. The game is frenetic enough to scratch any FPS fan's itch, and the loot system keeps things interesting. If you start to get bored hacking one server at a time, try what I do, and see how many servers you can hack at the same time! There is also PvP mode, but I haven't tried it yet on account of having no-one to play with!

As I said before, I'm playing build 0.5, so I'm sure there's lots of improvements to come, but what's here is perfectly playable, and a lot of fun. Garrett Cooper is also very active on the Steam boards and Twitter, so it's safe to say he's dedicated to the game!

If you want to support the game, you can pick it up from Steam

ReviewTom Woolford