I’ve written a series of posts regarding old school computer games … be they card or board games. These included Control-Alt-Hack, d0x3d!, and Hacker. The good thing about all these games are that they teach some basic computer security concepts in a fun and entertaining way. Then I remembered @dakami shooting out a tweet last year about an iOS game called “PWN: Combat Hacking” from 82 Apps, Inc. for $2.99. Yeah, there’s been several computer hacking games over the years but not as accessible as this one.
Just like some of the old school games, this isn’t going to make anyone an actual hacker however it does a great job at introducing people to some basic computer security terms and tools as well as provides some strategic tips for those out there defending in an action-packed game ( 😉 ).
Here’s the basic game summary from the site as well as their 1 minute trailer from YouTube.
Engage in computer hacking wars like you were in a 90’s fake hacking movie.
PWN is a fast-paced, real-time strategy game where you face off against other hackers within 3D virtual networks and take each other out using wits, skill, and computer viruses. Place devious hidden trojans and backdoors, while strategically defending yourself with encrypted nodes and firewalls. PWN lets you feel like the hero (or villain) of your favorite computer hacking action movies.
To start out I recommend getting a feel for how the game works using their tutorials. From the home screen choose Options -> Tutorial and go through the Basic and Skills sessions. The Basic tutorial describes the concept of a cubed node (representing a computer) and a line link (the network between them). Players start out with a blue box and take over adjacent grey boxes by tapping them. The more adjacent connections a player has to a grey node, the faster they can take it over. Next, the tutorial introduces the evil opponent on the network as well – represented by red boxes of course. A player’s goal is to capture all the enemy’s nodes by tapping ones adjacent to their own nodes. The same take-over time rules apply as with the grey boxes however it takes longer.
In the Skills tutorial players use what they previously learned to go against an active opponent. Some of the key lessons here include only being able to take over one node at a time (tapping a second node while a first node is still being taken over causes the first node’s progress to pause and slowly retreat), applying Encryption to owned nodes to increase takeover time, sending a Spike to temporarily disable enemy nodes through a power surge, deploying a Virus to damage enemy nodes and shorten takeover time, adding a Firewall to shield nodes from Viruses, and killing attacking Viruses by tapping them.
And that’s about it for help from a tutorial perspective… It’s up to the player to figure out the rest of the tools through game play. Here’s a summary of all the special skills from their site though.
- Encrypt: Defend your critical nodes with this special ability. Players will need to find a way around them or spend valuable time decrypting the protective shell.
- Spike: Send a powerful electric shockwave through your enemy’s nodes, destroying any boosts it encounters in its path.
- Virus: Launch a powerful virus at your enemy which infects and spreads among their network.
- Firewall: Protect several nearby nodes from viruses, trojans, and backdoors.
- Scanner: Heal a large area of nodes back to pristine condition.
- Overclock: Boost your raw capture speed by overclocking your nodes.
- Trojan: Place one of these diabolical traps in your network and if the enemy tries to capture that node it will backfire horribly and instantly convert several nearby nodes to your control.
- Backdoor: This ability will grant you remote access to enemy nodes, allowing you to destroy their network from the inside out.
Next, I’d head over to it’s Quick Match mode just to get a feel for the different three-dimensional node maps. The Ladder and Grid are two good options for those new to the game. You can also choose to be one of eight characters, each with their own special ability.
- Cipher: Code breaking and encryption
- Blackout: Disrupting and disabling electronic security systems
- Glitch: Manufacturing and releasing viruses
- Axiom: Monitoring and blocking private communications
- Optik: Collecting and leveraging sensitive information
- Prime: High-speed computer networking, and is able to create massive botnets
- Skorpios: Electronic traps that harvest and exploit financial data
- Phantom: Stealing information
Well that’s enough for now… This is just a basic intro to the game for others in the community to try out. Once you know the basics, the game includes other aspects that involve gaining skills and ranking up through all eight players in it’s single-player Campaign mode and taking it a step further with a local or online Multiplayer mode. And by the way … my elementary-aged son continues to kick my butt in multiplayer mode. Anyway, head on over to iTunes and grab a copy to try it out yourself.
Have you played PWN: Hacking Combat? What do you think of it? Today’s post pic is from 82Apps.com. See ya!