Greyhat – A Digital Detective Adventure – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Narrative
Developer: Limited Games
Publisher: Limited GamesInteractive
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

Greyhat – A Digital Detective Adventure – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Some interesting puzzles
Bad: Bland story on which it relies too heavily
User Score
9.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)

The term “hacking game” is often thrown around for puzzle games on a computer-related setting. It is rare to find a game that actually knows what it would entail and Greyhat – A Digital Detective Adventure (which shall be shortened to Greyhat for the remainder of the review) is no different. While it does come closer to reality than some other games, it still takes a lot of liberties while attempting to put on a façade of realism, making for a mixed product.

Story

The story of Greyhat revolves around a hacker whose name and alias the player chooses through an inscription for a convention, thus for the sake of simplicity, we will refer to them as Hackerman.

As the actual game starts, the player is thrown into a tutorial mission where they must find the name of someone interested in buying a company’s secrets. This person turns out to be Jeremy Lee, an infamous fixer with a history of being vindictive. Luckily Hackerman believes to have covered their tracks properly, leaving little chance to be found out.

After this, Hackerman is sent a last job before retirement. With the money earned from it, he’ll finally be able to retire with their significant other, Robin, and build their dream bakery. Sadly, as the tired old trope of the retiring cop usually goes, tragedy befalls. As Hackerman’s daughter Emily is coming out of school she is picked up by who is assumed to be Robin, but soon enough it is revealed their car has been stolen. The person who actually picked up Emily was none other than Jeremy Lee, who has found out Hackerman’s real-life information.

From here the player fast-forwards ten years through a short series of images showing Robin has divorced Hackerman and the kidnapping case has been shelved. Once the cutscene ends, it is found out Hackerman never moved on and he is still trying to find information about Emily’s kidnapping. To find this information he has been working with the likes of the FBI and others, his last job netting him Jeremy Lee’s FBI file. Said file reveals to Hackerman that Jeremy Lee has been deceased for a long time, making him a literal dead end.

When things seem lost, Hackerman is contacted by the mysterious Seven out of the blue, who seems to hold information about Emily’s whereabouts. Said information won’t be free though, the price being Hackerman’s services. The game’s plot from here onwards comes to revolve around this relationship, as Hackerman does jobs for Seven while trying to unmask them.

Surprisingly for a game with such a narrative focus, Greyhat’s story falls quite flat on its face. The characters are rather bland and the dialogue “options” change virtually nothing besides a few phrases. The fact that most of the game’s twists are quite predictable doesn’t help it either; even the few exceptions to this are often bland.

Graphics

Greyhat’s graphics are pretty mediocre, being even able to pass as those of a flash game. The style used for illustrations is quite nice, but the interfaces and everything else leaves a lot to be desired; most of them are flat colors with a few words here and there, although the minigames do play a bit with them.

Sound

Similarly to its graphics, the game’s sound is not particularly good. Most of its music is comprised of short loops which, while serviceable, become repetitive very quickly. The same doesn’t apply to the SFX though, which are pretty varied and well made in comparison.

Gameplay

As stated in the introduction, Greyhat is a puzzle game with hacking as its goal and shtick. The core gameplay loop is quite similar to that of Orwell, obtaining information about the computer’s owner. This information is later on used to unlock passwords in order to obtain whichever file or evidence is required in the mission.

Depending on the missions, this final objective can also be a minigame, such as rerouting planes or handling a pipe puzzle to activate systems. Although these are not the most common, they definitely do break the repetitiveness of most other puzzles, which are often similar. This is also done through time limits in several levels, although it mostly leads to stressful or tiresome situations over the actual difficulty.

Besides these minigames already mentioned, there are some others in certain levels, such as a brick breaker lookalike or a pictogram translation one. The quality of all these minigames is overall fluctuating; some can be entertaining whilst some can be very repetitive. An example of the second would be the pair of tone matching ones, where the player must fiddle with a pair of sliders until the sounds emitted match.

Most of the game’s puzzles, at least those in other computers than Hackerman’s own, feature the option to purchase tips. These can be set to be cryptic or straightforward, with the first often being useless. A wall the game runs into is how it requires the players to pay very close attention and offers no help if something has been missed. Retracing all steps in order to find a little thing can become tedious, especially so since players are required to take their own notes.

A pretty big problem the game also has is how it constantly breaks the suspension of disbelief. While it is probably necessary for the game to work, there are only so many people who would write “My birthday and name” as the hint for their password. This even happens with police investigators, CEOs and engineers. In several cases, the password is straight-up ‘password’, which, while slightly funny, doesn’t make the game look good. As a whole, Greyhat relies a lot on its not-so-good story, leaving engagement up to its player’s tastes. It is clear the focus of the game is in telling its story, not in making players interested in the gameplay.

Conclusion

Greyhat is a serviceable game with some alright things and a good amount of flaws. Players looking for hard puzzles that make them think won’t find them here; the highest difficulty comes in paying attention. All that said, with around 11 hours of gameplay and a price of €9,99/$11,99/£9,29 it may be interesting for some, especially so for those able to become invested in the story.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)
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Greyhat - A Digital Detective Adventure - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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