Collect information from people’s traces on the internet to solve a case with your hacking ability. This game will show how people can stalk you online.
Developer: Aluba Studio
Publisher: Aluba Studio
Release date: 3 Feb, 2021
You work for Titan, one of the big companies in Allivia. Your job? Looking for people’s information on the internet. Cyber Manhunt is a game that will show you the dark side of the internet from leaving your personal information everywhere.
The game uses a similar design as the Mac operating system. A list of applications is available at the bottom of the screen, centered with some additional info such as news, objectives, and collected information on each corner of the screen. Although the game incorporates applications and websites that you usually use every day, some applications are also specifically designed for the game. However, they are not maximized, leaving a lot of empty spaces behind. Some people with reading difficulties might benefit from the use of space and bigger text, especially the browser.
The story is divided into 5 chapters, each with a different focus in mind. You’ll investigate different people in each chapter although some characters will appear in more than one chapter, connecting their involvement in a bigger picture. While you’ll benefit more from the story by remembering these reoccurring characters, each chapter can still be enjoyed separately.
Some cutscenes are also introduced between each chapter, focusing on you and the company that you worked in. Everything will be wrapped up in the ending, which is also connected with the conclusion of the last chapter. While the story might come as a surprise to some people, it didn’t affect me much since I played a game with a similar concept before. However, some parts of the story feel a bit odd, mostly due to the translation and different dialogue choices in the game.
The main feature of Cyber Manhunt is a cyber investigation, where you have to collect someone’s profile by gathering information online. It tries to make it as realistic as the real world by collecting data from social media, news portals, and other websites while incorporating some fantasy elements as well. A company database is available at your disposal, which you can use to gather more detailed data from some input.
However, finding the correct information tend to be troublesome since you need to hover your mouse to the text before collecting them. Some information that seems to be useful also tends to not be collectible if the developer chooses not to make it so, turning everything into a “hovering my mouse to every sentence that I could see” game just to satisfy the condition. The game also has no clue system which might halt your progression if you accidentally miss one piece of information that is buried beneath the haystack of information.
The introduction of the cracking tool is also a bit ridiculous. You can put some personal information of the target on the app and voila, you’ll get the target’s password. The game doesn’t seem to give a quick option to copy and paste all of the required info in one click either – there are 6 fields to fill, and filling them one by one every time is very tiring. Moreover, the tool only gives one password and strangely, it works for almost every account that the target uses. While this doesn’t make sense, some people actually do these kinds of stuff so I’m not sure whether the game does this on purpose to remind us not to do this practice or not.
Riddles and Minigames
Some riddles are tricky and not obvious enough to solve. Although some clues are available, they tend to be confusing since you need to know various things beforehand, such as how house numbering works and the date format that the developer intended to use. The game tends to use the MMDD format for dates and I kept on using the DDMM format out of habit, which goes worse when the year is also involved. One riddle also requires you to unlock a phone with a pattern that is not possible to do in an actual phone, triggering some confusion. To make it worse, everything must be done within a time limit, which is almost impossible to accomplish on your first try.
On the other hand, I had fun playing the minigames. Some of them are similar to other puzzle games like Hook, while some are more original. The tutorials that are provided before you start some minigames also help you to understand how they work. However, one minigame is quite difficult to understand, especially if you want to unlock a certain achievement.
Length and Replayability
Steam says that I finished the game in 12.6h, while the in-game clock states that I did it in ~12.2h. Each chapter can be finished in 1-2 hours, which can take longer if you want to get some achievements. Despite the achievement mentioning three endings, two of them are similar to each other while the last one is a bad ending that will lead you to a game over screen. There is no reason to replay the game apart from unlocking achievements.
You can’t skip cutscenes. The game also doesn’t allow you to open the menu to load your save at some point, forcing you to restart the game manually. While I usually don’t mind with this, the game has a slow loading time, making achievement hunting to be annoying sometimes.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
To be honest, I thought that the game will be similar to Hacknet (our review) where you have to hack into servers and stole some information. It turns out that it’s more similar to Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You (our review) and although I don’t mind with the similarity, this game feels like an inferior version of that game with some additional features. It was tiring to hover my mouse on every text to find clues and doing it when I was reading the text ruins my concentration. Some translations are also a bit off and although it’s still possible to understand the story, it can ruin the immersion sometimes. However, the game is still enjoyable if you are looking for a similar game to Orwell and don’t mind with some annoyances.