Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Having loved every second of Uplink upon its initial release 11 years ago, I was delighted to see its release to the iPad. Fantastically original at the time, the idea hasn't been bettered since then. Its introduction to the App Store merely guaranteed to bring a great idea to a wider audience. Uplink will never win prizes for its looks but its ingenuity is impressive.
Players take the role of a freelance hacker who must break into increasingly difficult computer systems in order to complete an array of tasks. These could range from simply copying and taking a file to changing the data within, thus framing innocent people. The main challenge is doing all this while never being spotted or discovered.
Essentially, Uplink is a puzzle game but not one in the conventional sense. Players have to get in and out of the system within a tight time limit. This time limit is affected by things such as the power of your in-game CPU, quality of the software and whether you have a firewall set up. It sounds technical but Uplink offers such elements in a way that never feels overwhelming but always feels tense. The excellent tutorial ensures that you're never thrown into anything that you don't know how to deal with.
Successfully complete a mission and gain money which can be used to upgrade equipment, as well as watch as new jobs open up. It's all oddly detached as the focus is mostly on the hacking rather than the storytelling but it suits the nature of the game perfectly. It's entirely down to the player as to what they want to do next, rather than be restricted to the missions provided.
Uplink is a fantastically immersive experience and the iPad does well to translate this to the touch screen rather than PC monitor. At times, the controls take time to master, compared to the mouse cursor of old, but it's nothing too challenging and it doesn't detract from the general experience.
Uplink was a fantastic breath of fresh air 11 years ago and it still feels just as exceptional now. It's the kind of experience that reminds you why gaming can be so rewarding.