Talk about a quick turnaround. I was so enthralled by what I saw from Mainlining last Friday I had to play it as quickly as I could. I got that chance yesterday, and I was not disappointed.
The game started right away, throwing me into a fake blue screen of death. From there, everything went quickly, and within fifteen minutes I found myself setting up my computer profile, opening my first case, downloading shady software, and arresting someone who may or may not be innocent. You be the judge for yourself, he was clearly breaking some form of law in some way.
I was surprised how in-depth the gameplay in Mainlining was. I was expecting more of a strategy or point and click type of gameplay. Instead, it plays out like a puzzle game. You really are playing on a computer, and nothing is locked away from you. You can look at anything on the hard drive, access any file, go anywhere on the internet (provided you know the web address) and do whenever you want.
That kind of freedom adds a degree of difficulty, as you have to piece together what exactly it is you’re supposed to be doing. I went through a roller-coaster ride of assuming my job would be easy, then getting totally confused about what was going on, to thinking I got the hang of it, to arresting the wrong suspect and making myself look stupid. The goal is to get as much information on a suspect as you can before you arrest them, but not pull the trigger the second you get a name and location. To do that, you have to first identify the suspect, which is a huge undertaking itself.
I was given the task – a rookie, mind you – of tracking down the guy who took down our servers and wiped our hard drives. To do so, I had to track down his website, and it’s IP address. But when I did so, he found out I was on to him, and shut down our network. I had to reset the password, and using that IP number I was able to hack into his files, where I found a list of names, including his. A good player would use that name to further track the suspect, but I’m not a good player, I’m a great one. I sent the cops to arrest him on the spot. Case. Closed.
I had a blast playing Mainlining, in fact, it’s probably the best Kickstarter demo I played yet for Cliqist. Give the demo a shot yourself, and I think you’ll agree.