App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I don’t care what anyone else has to say about it; Hackers is one of my absolute favorite movies to come out of the 90s. With such adoration for an admittedly terrible movie that glorifies computer hacking while simultaneously misrepresenting the culture behind it, one would think that Nameless: The Hackers RPG,an iOS game that follows a similar (albeit less ridiculous) theme would instantly win me over. One would be absolutely correct in that assumption, although it’s not because of 73H H4X0RZ.
Nameless takes place on what appears to be modern day Earth and follows the adventures of a ragtag group of hackers as they get swept up in a major conspiracy. We’re talking Assassins versus Templar-level conspiracy here, although it has nothing to do with that particular rivalry. It’s a brouhaha that will take them all over the globe several times over, although since it all takes place over the Internet there isn’t much physical travel involved. Still, it’s an excuse to have players visit cities to take on side quests in addition to all the story missions.
I was smitten with Nameless even before the training wheels came off. BoxCat has done an absolutely amazing job of combining familiar RPG mechanics and character roles with something much less conventional; Tiny’s Data Recovery is essentially a heal spell, for example. Each character’s abilities are designed after one form of hacking technique or another (packet floods, fork bombs, etc), but functionally they aren’t that different from the kinds of RPG magic we’re used to. But it’s not just a mere redressing of typical genre mechanics. Instead of gaining levels players gather Infocards that boost the group’s stats as a whole and can be upgraded for even more powerful enhancements. Through the acquisition of these cards they can also upgrade their existing skills to make them more powerful or unlock totally new ones.
The one thing that bugs me about Nameless is the health and energy bar refill mechanic. Both can be topped off using items or just waiting for them to recharge, however the recharging only happens when players sit idle on the main screen. When they’re sifting through the menus it freezes and it won’t refill when the game is off. What I want to know is, why bother using such a mechanic at all? It manages to be completely unnecessary and awkward at the same time.
I don’t think I can sing Nameless: The Hackers RPG’s praises enough. It’s a clever and contemporary RPG that effortlessly to pulls off “familiar” and “unconventional” simultaneously. Enemy encounters are fun, hunting down Infocards and character upgrades is a game unto itself, and the story is genuinely interesting (unlike most iOS RPGs these days).