From Argentina, Rey Gazu's Cyberpunk is a simple Flash puzzle game disguised as an arresting and involving hacking simulation. Armed with four programs and some intuition, you'll have to sneak into a remote computer guarded by obscure (and not-so-obscure) passwords, as well as by some nasty puzzles.
The game begins when a mysterious message instructs you to "access the overlord terminal and retrieve the datacore". You are faced with what appears to be a window on a computer desktop containing two icons, one for your local computer and one for a remote host, atlantis. Four other icons, your toolbox, are at the bottom of the screen. Begin by clicking the shell icon and connecting to atlantis. Figuring out how to log in is the first of many puzzles ahead.
Analysis: Compared to some of the other entries in the contest, Cyberpunk is actually a fairly inviting and forgiving game... at first. The interface should be intuitive for anyone at all familiar with DOS or UNIX and the goals are usually clear, with plenty of hints. Several amusing easter eggs invite exploration while demonstrating that, despite Cyberpunk's sterile exterior, Gazu is not without a sense of humor. I wonder if he was laughing when he designed the incredibly punishing Hex puzzle near the end of the game?
I found it interesting that, while very different, both runners up dealt with puzzles in the form of simulated computer interfaces. Cyberpunk eschews Thief's exotic and colorful machines for a more familiar, and more believable, command line that does a fine job of tying the game's two larger puzzles together. It's a shame that Cyberpunk ends so abruptly, and I hope that Gazu decides to continue adding more puzzles to his already excellent work.
Jay: What I love best about Cyberpunk is that it seems a whole lot larger than it is. When dropped into the game at the very beginning with nothing but a command line at your disposal, the game gives the impression of being expansive and virtually limitless in possibilities. Closer examination, however, reveals that the commands available are few and quite logical to invoke. Yes, the game does favor anyone with even slight familiarity to DOS or Unix (cat being the Unix command to concatenate the contents of a file, in this case to standard output—the screen), and therefore it may be frustrating, or downright intimidating, to those with command line phobia. That being said, Cyberpunk can be completed with just a few well-placed commands and the solving of two (2) excellent puzzles, both of which require you to dig beneath the surface of what is happening on-screen relative to your actions. The presentation is gorgeous and the technical implementation exceptional. Cyberpunk is clearly one of the best puzzle games of this competition, even though it stretches the "simple puzzle game" idea virtually in all directions. ;)
John: Cyberpunk makes me feel cool. When I'm staring at the opening screen an entire world of possibilities lurks around the corner. With a few simple keystrokes I make things happen. Good things. Hacker-like things. Scanning for networks, cracking passwords, shuffling through file directories and causing computer crashes are only the beginning. The illusion of infinite possibilities is present, yet Cyberpunk follows a remarkably logical formula. So logical, in fact, the answer can sit right in front of you and you won't even realize it. Beyond the raw thrill of solving puzzles through a command line interface, Cyberpunk also features two visual puzzles that are forces to be reckoned with. With the excitement of discovery, the undeniably cool feeling of being a hacker, and lots of little surprises along the way, Cyberpunk is undoubtedly the most unique of our finalists. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to put on some really black sunglasses and get back to hacking...