A hardcore puzzle hacking game not for the faint-hearted | Full Review - Cyber Protocol

Cyber Protocol is an arcade puzzle game that will test your problem solving skills, patience, and memory. Built under the guise of a simple hacking sliding mini-game, Cyber Protocol is much more than it meets the eye. It is frantic, hardcore, and unforgiving.
+Challenging puzzles and levels
+Lit 2D cyberpunk art style and techno soundtrack
-Difficulty is not for everyone
-Controls are inconsistent
Fresh from my review of another hacking themed game, today we have another game in Cyber Protocol, this time it’s far from being a realistic hacking simulation, rather it is an arcade puzzle game with a high degree of difficulty and hardcore elements. It is currently available for iOS, PC, Xbox, and Switch, but this article will be focusing on the recently released iOS version.
It looks like Pac-Man — yes, you also eat white dots on a maze-like map — yes. But that’s just about where the comparison ends. Cyber Protocol is instead basically a spiritual successor to the puzzle game Tomb Of The Mask, where the gameplay setup is almost exactly the same.
Set in a cyberpunk world, players assume the role of a hacker, trying to “reactivate” his recently deceased friend by activating the titular Cyber Protocol via a hack. The gameplay is easy to learn, but hard to master. Players just need to slide in any of the four directions in order to proceed. What’s hard is navigating around the various unique puzzle-filled levels and getting past the obstacles.
The main goal is to reach the ends of the level by any means necessary, however there is an added layer of challenge for those completionists and hardcore gamers who are looking for more. The levels are all timed, all the collected white dots — similar to Pac-Man — are counted as scores, and the amount of deaths players make are counted too, all resulting in a high score at the end of the levels. You can absolutely ignore these aspects and just focus on the exit point, but then it's hard to ignore these added challenges. You almost always want to collect all points, never die, and do it as fast as possible.
Even if you ignore these optional challenges, it's still a hard game. Cyber Protocol presents players with many different obstacles within the levels that will require creative and logical thinking, as well as fast fingers to do some frantic maneuvering. Laser beams, roaming hazards, “fire” walls, exploding tiles (like bomberman), and many more hazards are put in-between the player and the exit point.
Players can fail and die an infinite number of times, but they’d have to completely reset the level from scratch, unless they activate a checkpoint at certain points within the levels. This can lead to some frustrations and intense memorization moments in order to beat some segments, especially when dying near a checkpoint or an exit point, after almost making it.
This trend continues throughout the 100 unique levels that will really test the players’ puzzle solving skills and patience. Even in the first few levels, the game is already hard enough. The more the players go deeper into the levels, new obstacles and gameplay elements are introduced that will further test their resolve.
Player cannot just rely on pure skill and reaction time, as most of the puzzles require keen observation and planning in order to pass through. Sometimes players can get lucky by frantically sliding random directions, but that almost never works for the entirety of the levels, as as soon as you die without a checkpoint, you reset from way to the start of the level anyway.
For the hardcore completionists, it means studying, replaying, and practicing every single level (all 100 of them) for a long, long time, before doing an “official” run to achieve a top score. And if that wasn’t enough, there is a separate mode called Arcade where the pace is increased, lives are limited, and there is a top 20 global leaderboard to conquer.
While the console and PC versions included a local / split-screen multiplayer mode where you can complete the levels at the same time and try for the best high-score, the iOS version does not include this and is instead a full single-player experience. It is much cheaper though as it is only half the price at $4.99.
Presentation wise, the 2D graphics, neon-lit art style, CRT retro filter, and 8 bit techno soundtrack are nice enough and fits the cyberpunk-hacking theme it is going for. It just needs one-hand to play, but only plays at landscape orientation.
The controls aren’t 100% consistent in my experience, there are times that the game missed some of the inputs I was trying to make, resulting in failures and mishaps while excitedly sliding throughout the levels. It has something to do with how movement speed is handled with regards to distance, It's not constant unlike in Tomb of the Mask.
So far I find it fun and challenging, however the difficulty is not something that I think everyone would like. In the first few levels, it is already hard enough, what more for the latter parts of it? At a cheap price of $4.99, it doesn’t hurt much to try though.
Cyber Protocol is a fun puzzle arcade game playable with one-hand, but its difficulty is not for everyone. I can only recommend it to players who are looking for a challenging puzzle game that will definitely test their skill, patience, and memory.
Mentioned games

Be the first to comment.

Say something...