Code 7 (Episode 0 and Episode 1) Review
Code 7 (Episode 0 and Episode 1) Review
Code 7 is an episodic space/horror adventure that is unlike anything I’ve played before. It is a text adventure with a twist
Posted: 08/17/17 | Category: Review | Developer: Goodwolf Studio | Publisher: Goodwolf Studio | Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac

Genre: Hacking / Text Adventure
Release date: August 11, 2017
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Steam OS + Linux

The Adventure Begins  
 

In late 2016, I began to explore Kickstarter and discovered Code 7.  The early demo was so compelling and unique that I took the plunge and became a backer. I now understand how Kickstarter can become an addictive habit because it has been a blast to receive regular progress reports on the game and watch it (albeit from a distance) take shape.

Code 7 is an episodic space/horror adventure that is unlike anything I’ve played before. It is a text adventure with a twist. You play Alex, a technical member of the Schroedinger Space Station team. After a catastrophic event, you find yourself in league with Sam who may be the only other survivor. And so begins Episode 0 (which is free to play on Steam). The two of you discover a sinister cyber-plot that threatens Earth and you set off to save the world. To accomplish this, you hack into the station’s computer system. This is where Code 7 departs from tradition. You use a primitive graphic interface (as one would expect from a mainframe system with terminals) and traverse the network, explore nodes, break into computers and evade security mechanisms.  You also manipulate the environment with tasks such as rerouting power. Sam is in the physical world and you are in the virtual world. Working together, you follow her exploration of the facility and handle the system side of things. Episode 0 ends with a bang and you blast out to a Mars station to begin Episode 1.

 At Mars, you team up with a journalist named Zoya and continue your quest. She discovers a horrifying example of science gone bad and encounters more than one hostile space station resident. With your help, Zoya’s objective is to escape the station and use a transmitter to send a distress signal to Earth. Again, she takes care of the physical tasks and you assist her by hacking systems, managing security controls and balancing power loads. Episode 1 ends with a very surprising plot twist which I will not spoil. As with episodic adventures, Alex’s story is “to be continued” in Episode 2, 3, and 4 which do not yet have release dates.

Text Adventure ++  
 

Code 7 grew from the vision of Kevin Glaap (game design) and Zein Okko (writing and music) who began working together in 2014. In early 2016, they formed Goodwolf Studios. Based in Bonn, Germany, they have been spending time changing the face of interactive fiction.

Back in the day, a ‘text adventure’ meant typing and parsing. Code 7 takes away most of the need to type by allowing you to cycle through commands with the Tab key or to hit the first letter of a displayed command. Alex’s dialog is executed by selecting from a list of possible statements. Since there is almost no free-from typing, the need to do a mind-meld with parser logic has been eliminated.

Having spent time as a system administrator and worked on terminal interfaces in my past life, I was immediately comfortable with the Code 7 presentation and the tasks required of Alex. When I got stumped, I realized that my own stress mirrored how Alex would feel when trying to navigate someone else’s system, from the inside.

You move between network nodes, using a network map. You can explore any connected device, if you can beat security and get logged in. Once logged into a computer or a device, you can access email, files, and utilities.

Code7InTxt1

You perform tasks such as installing software, downloading files, editing file permissions and hacking. Your primary hacking tools are “Man in the Middle” and “Brute Force” attacks to gain access to a system without knowing a password. The “Brute Force” approach requires that you gather information about specific users so that the system can intelligently guess a password.

Code7InTxt2

There is an abundance of hardware to interact with, including scanners, key card readers/writers, generators, airlocks, gates, etc.  Most require some puzzling to figure out the correct sequence of events and (in some cases) perform tasks on the run. When you fail, your connection is lost but the game lets you retry until you are successful. Kevin and Zein estimate that each episode will take a player about 3 hours to complete. Well, I am a slow hacker. I spent 9 hours total on Episodes 0 and 1 and still appear to have missed some areas.

To keep you on track, a list of current task objectives is displayed on screen. As items are accomplished, they are highlighted in green. Thus, you always have a general idea of what Alex needs to do next.

Each episode has a handful of decision-points that are stored for future use. When you finish an episode, you can view your decisions and how they compare to choices made by other players. Goodwolf has hinted that your decision history may impact the course of events in future episodes. If you are inclined to play Code 7 again and make different decisions, your second (and third) games can be stored in separate slots so you do not step on your original results.

Synergy Prevails  
 

In addition to having a great story with an engaging interface, Code 7 is brought to life by its sound track. Music, environmental effects and voices set the mood, build suspense and make you an active participant. This game is not about reading…it is about listening and feeling. The voiceovers are very professional and the women who play Sam and Zoya do an outstanding job of making these characters real. Both are so believable that you feel compelled to help them! Remember that you (Alex) are working through a computer interface so you are only hearing what is happening. The talents of the voice actors are what bridge the gap, serving as your ‘eyes’ in a world you cannot physically see. The result, for me, was total immersion in Code 7. Although there are no estimated dates for the release of Episode 2, I am already looking forward to spending more time with Alex!

 
Story, game interface and soundtrack combine to create a highly engaging adventure
+ Exceptional voice-acting inspires teamwork and empathy
Hacking elements are interesting and fun and will bring out your hidden geek
TheCliffhanger ending will leave you begging for Episode 2
 
If you are offended by colorful language, beware!
If your idea of an adventure requires running, jumping and skipping through an expansive 3D landscape, you may want to look elsewhere
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 

System Requirements

MINIMUM Windows:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel Core i5 2,5 GHz
Memory: 6 GB RAM
DirectX: Version 11
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 252M
Storage: 1 GB available space
 
MINIMUM Mac:
OS: OS X 10.10
Processor: 2.0 Intel Core i5 1,6 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000 288 MB
Storage: 1 GB available space 
 
MINIMUM SteamOS + Linux:
OS: OS: Ubuntu 16.04
Processor:  Intel Cor2Duo 2.6 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 252M
Storage: 1 GB available space  
 
Specials from Digital Download
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