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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Review: DROP - System Breach

The next frontier is not space but cyberspace. The internet is where our dreams and hopes lie. It’s where the amazing and impossible things can happen. Where it is amazing, there is also horrifying. Cyberspace can be the home to memories, artwork, and new insights into the world. It can also be the place where your social security and bank account get broken into without a trace.

DROP - System Breach is a game taking place in a dystopian world that feels a little too close to home. As an up-and-coming hack, there are various entities and organizations to tap into. Missions are aplenty, and the rewards are great. With every new mission, the reward increases, and so do the dangers. DROP - System Breach is the kind of game where you may not be a hacker, but you will undoubtedly feel like one.

To Mend and Defend

DROP - System Breach takes all the sophisticated complexity of hacking and boils it down to its simplicity. No strings of code for HELLO_WORLD. No crazy numbers and formulas. Hacking is reduced to activating certain nodes and modules. A helpful tutorial slowly eases layers into each mission. The first few missions simply involved tapping into easy systems and doing simple tasks such as discovering names and taking files. Later, players will have to tap into their inner Neo as missions involve rapid tasks from spyware to dodging security programs.

The gameplay is as follows. Players fire up the game and are thrust into an underground world of hackers. Gangs, organizations, and corporate entities run amok, but you are working for yourself. Players take on any number of missions for rewards. Each mission has a primary objective and secondary objectives to complete. There are various parameters to a mission. Data Theft, sabotage, disruption, and other goals are part of this dystopian world. The goal of each one is to infiltrate, do the job, and get out before the authorities catch on.

System Shock

DROP - System Breach steadily unveils itself. The key is to increase threads. Threads increase the amount of functions you can do. Players can interact with three things at a time but can level up their threads to do more. Everything has a keen touch to the presentation. The game has the look and feel of a retro-futuristic computer from the 90s, along with a thumping soundtrack to keep things engaging.

DROP - System Breach soon becomes a frantic and chaotic race against time that is equal parts stressful but also sublime and exciting. Missions become races against the clock as every task yields reward and a chance to take down real bad guys in the dystopia. Programs load and flash during that chaos, and every quick-thinking choice is a matter of victory or defeat. DROP - System Breach feels like a grand heist or high-stakes mission with each level, and the fast-paced gameplay combines strategy and stealth in the chaos.

Be the Zero or the One

There are a few setbacks to DROP - System Breach. The game does get repetitive, but that is the bane of any action-oriented game. The biggest setback would be the story or lack thereof. As the game is told in a retro-futuristic presentation, there isn’t much of a story. There is a straightforward narrative but no characters or larger world to explore. This feels like a missed opportunity, given the subject matter and theming to the game.

I wouldn’t expect something along the lines of a grand RPG, but it would have been nice to give more context to the world. The city can be any city, though, for some reason, I kept thinking it was New York City. There are gangs and entities, but they exist to simply exist. A stronger story could have yielded a unique tale of espionage and cyber wars and where we as a culture fit into this growing space that exists in an entirely different realm.

User Power

DROP - System Breach is bio-digital jazz. The game is a tremendous amount of fun, best enjoyed in short bursts. While the story is almost nonexistent, the gameplay is top-notch, easy to understand, and hard to put down. This is most especially true when playing in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch, where the feeling of hacking on the go feels extra special. There is plenty to enjoy here, from the procedurally generated mode to the campaign.

In today’s climate, the world is shifting to become more digital and mobile. Today’s activities are done on our phones. Today’s crimes are done using social media. The battlefields of tomorrow are fought not with boots on the ground but in the realm of ones and zeros. Hopefully, if there is a successor to DROP - System Breach, the game explore these themes. What DROP - System Breach represents is exciting, and I cannot wait to see more!

DROP - System Breach was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch OLED thanks to a key generously supplied to Stack Up by Microprose PR.

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