Another day in October, another new #BelgianGamesIndustry release! With Midnight Protocol, our proud member LuGus Studios is going down an unknown rabbit hole. Miles away from their Liftoff work, this tactical narrative-driven RPG is exactly the type of project to show the studio has more up its sleeve than realistic drone simulations.
Players assume the role of Data, a hacktivist who got doxxed and subsequently arrested. Once back in the game, they’re hell-bent on discovering who ratted them out and why. That’s just the beginning of a virtual journey through a cybernetic maze with plenty of twists, turns, and moral dilemma. Players will get to make life-or-death choices, the decisions of which will haunt them long after they made up their mind.
The choices you make also determine what type of hacker you decide to be and what kind of tools you’ll be able to use. White Hat hackers are ethical goody two-shoes who promptly return illegally wired funds back to their respective owners. Their tools allow them to quickly sneak through networks and circumvent security systems rather than bust them up.
That’s more the style of Black Hat hackers. They pummel networks with powerful attacks and before security knows what hit them, they’re long gone, taking the spoils for their personal gain. If you don’t feel like playing to extremes, you can switch things up and customise your hacking loadout with tools from both sides.
Midnight Protocol was designed as a powerful hacking fantasy and it absolutely works. This is mainly accomplished by using nothing but keyboard inputs to control the whole game. Whether you’re deep down in a system, or looking to upgrade some of your programs, you’ll be tip-tapping away feeling like a hacker genius.
The hacking itself also plays into that fantasy. The action plays out on a network grid connected through various nodes. Depending on the objective of the mission, you’ll have to use your arsenal of programs to outsmart system security. As soon as you enter a network, the system starts tracing you, giving players a limited amount of time before they need to jack out.
You’ll need to move fast, but as the action is turn-based, you won’t necessarily have to think fast. Every trick in your hacking deck uses a certain amount of resources, so you’ll have to think carefully about what you want to do, and what’s the best way to do it. Sitting in a dark room, breaking these virtual vaults in order to get valuable data with nothing but the power of your fingers and keyboard, feels extremely satisfying.
For somebody who doesn’t know what’s going on or what the game’s about, the visuals are a hard sell, but the minimalist design and user interface suit the hacking fantasy experience perfectly. Rest assured: as soon as you boot up your first program to break down an enemy firewall, you’ll be hooked for the ride.
We wish our friends at LuGus Studios and publisher Iceberg Interactive all the best with the launch of the game, and can only congratulate them for taking a creative risk and create something that’s way out of their comfort zone.