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    Feel like a real social engineer in Hack RUN

    Mike Wehner, @MikeWehner
    February 14, 2014
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    RUN is a big, evil corporation, and they're up to no good -- or at least that's what your new "employer" has told you -- and it's up to you to dig into its digital backyard for information. And with that very basic plot, the text puzzler Hack RUN sends you into command-prompt hell in search of some answers.

    It's a bit hard to explain exactly how you play Hack RUN; you quite literally fiddle around with a command-prompt interface and a few other digital tools in an attempt to find the truth behind a company's shady business practices. Clues are everywhere, and you'll use social engineering and outright snooping to find your way into various virtual realms where you should not be.

    Things start slowly, with access to a single employee's email account being your first test. After trying a few commonly used passwords, you'll crack the simple code and begin your journey. Soon you'll be browsing various "websites" for password clues, picking up info on a whole slew of RUN's workers, and piecing together a picture of what the company is really up to.

    hack run screenshot

    All along the way, your employer updates you on your progress, offers vague clues as to his true motives and ramps up the mystery. If you ever get stuck, you can always ask for a hint, and depending on how good you are at trial and error, you may find yourself begging for help before too long.

    The game is remarkably well done and the fake world that you're poking around in really does begin to feel real. This makes every successful password guess and subroutine achievement all the more gratifying.

    Hack RUN is available on both iOS and OS X, and at the moment it's free. I'd honestly recommend the desktop version available through the Mac App Store as the best version, simply because tapping away at your keyboard while performing fake hacks seems much more appropriate than doing it on the iPhone or iPad screen. If you're looking for a unique puzzle game, it's an easy recommendation.

    All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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