The curiously named Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa (or .apk if you’re on Android) is just as curious as its name suggests. While youâ€™re better off telling your friends “Iâ€™ve been playing that Mr. Robot game” rather than remembering exactly how to spell or say it, itâ€™s an interesting tale in a similar vein to Lifeline — only better.
Developed in conjunction with Telltale Games and indie developers Night School, you know youâ€™re onto a good thing story wise. Thatâ€™s fortunate with Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n, as itâ€™s ALL story and fairly limited interaction. You play someone who stumbles across a lost cell phone and finds themselves embroiled in some very dark stuff.
The main screen is solely devoted to text messages and contact details. You begin communicating with a mysterious person who claims to be the owner of the phone. They get you to start â€˜workingâ€™ for an even more sinister character as you attempt to hack other peopleâ€™s details and fake information about yourself. Alongside that are random spam text messages and a group chat with a bunch of overly keen 20somethings. It sounds weird and it kind of is, but itâ€™s gripping too.
Much like Lifeline, youâ€™re trickle fed content. Sometimes, not much is going on. Then an hour later, youâ€™ll get a notification from one of the mysterious people. A few text messages later, in which you can interact and chip in your own comments, and the pattern repeats. Thereâ€™s a surprising amount of depth to this though. While the story might come relatively slowly, thereâ€™s always something to draw you in and keep you interested. Thatâ€™s even if you havenâ€™t seen the show (like me).
As you progress, you find yourself tasked with the role of having to gain passwords and usernames from people via illicit sources. Rather than outright hacking anything, Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n relies on you charming the person through text messages. Saying the right thing can make all the difference when it comes to getting what you want. Then just as you feel entirely caught up in the intrigue, youâ€™re distracted by the group chat going on about what pillows to buy someone for their birthday. Itâ€™s almost tedious, but itâ€™s fun antagonizing such folk while you play.
Thanks to how Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n is laid out, it all feels reasonably genuine too. I found myself looking at notifications and feeling almost like I was diving into a WhatsApp conversation or replying to an iMessage.
The downside is that you donâ€™t have a huge amount of flexibility. A lot of it is an illusion. Youâ€™re given multiple choice responses to decide between, and you canâ€™t type out your own messages. It makes sense in terms of game design, but it leaves you wanting more. You want to affect change in some way and instead youâ€™re led down a fascinating path that you canâ€™t deviate from.
Thereâ€™s also the issue of time. Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n is a slow burner and understandably so, but youâ€™ll find yourself itching to skip ahead sometimes. This isnâ€™t a game you can blitz through over a weekend, but it is ideal for someone with a busy life who still wants to uncover bits of story.
For that reason, Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n wonâ€™t be for everyone. Much like how Lifeline is an acquired taste. However, I found it much more compelling than Lifeline. Its story fits into the theme of using your smartphoneÂ so very well. Youâ€™ll be eager to see whatâ€™s further down that rabbit hole. Expect it to be a very deep hole.