Mr. Robot: Playing an unwitting pawn in the war between E Corp and fsociety
Delve into the lives of Elliot, Darlene and other innocent pawns in Night School Studio's 1.51exfiltratiOn set in the Mr. Robot universe.
Season 2 of Mr Robot has so far been expertly marketed using a range of technologies, intriguing mysteries and web-based games. But none have compared to the E Corp Messaging app. A text-based adventure developed by the folks responsible for the wonderful Oxenfree (which recently made its way to our top games of 2016 list) and published by Telltale Games.
Recently, Telltale Games and Night School Studio both teased some kind of Mr Robot collaboration via their Twitter and Facebook accounts with the E Corp Messaging advert below. It soon became apparent that a mobile game was in the works for both iOS and Android and today we know exactly what that game is.
1.51exfiltratiOn puts the player in the shoes (well, digits) of an unwitting pawn in Elliot and Darlene's attack on E Corp during the events of Mr. Robot Season One.
The game begins with a shot of a cheap Android handset lying unattended before a scene of Coney Island, presenting the player with one choice: Pick up the phone. From there the player is introduced with E Corp's (intentionally) buggy messaging app and begins to receive numerous messages ranging from Pizza delivery receipts, overdue book reminders, crude dating app notifications and some a very blunt (and familiar) individual who seems to have misplaced their smartphone.
You find out very quickly that the stray handset belongs to none other than fsociety's more functional founder, Darlene Alderson. With no time to waste, Darlene quickly recruits the player to help fsociety in its cause.
1.51exfiltratiOn is primarily an SMS-based text adventure with branching dialogue options akin to Telltale and Night School’s previous decision-fuelled adventures. Without giving too much away, these decisions involve keeping the Aldersons happy, manipulating unknowing victims and dropping in on other seemingly random conversations. The player replies to the game’s many characters using a variety of default answers, each ranging in tone and direction. Want to play the hacker role with aplomb? Take the new mission in your stride and tackle each directive, no questions asked. Maybe you're feeling a little sorry for the lives you could be impacting, then play the hesitant role of a potential narc. Whichever way you play, your choices determine the outcome of each conversation and the trajectory of the game.
As is coming to be expected from the team behind Mr Robot, nothing here has been done by halves. Night School Studio is obviously a big fan of the show already, or has spent hours studying the quirks of each character, because it becomes apparent who you are talking to in most situations even if the game doesn’t immediately give it away. The time delay between sending and receiving a text, the little typos and autocorrects, the way Darlene gets super-pissed if you don't reply immediately; it's all weirdly realistic. The game is also chock-full of neat little nods to pop culture, like the Chime (Tinder) user whose name is a reference to Max Headroom’s Matt Frewer.
If the names developing and publishing didn’t tip you off, 1.51exfiltratiOn is a fully-fledged mobile game that is worthy of your attention.
Expect a full review from us soon. Until then, we’ll be meticulously chronicling every Easter egg or reference we can find.