[Beyond PlayStation] Mainlining Review
Point and click hacking adventure Mainlining from Rebelephant and Merge Games is a unique type of game on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Mainlining review!
Mainlining from Rebelephant and Merge Games is certainly a different type of game from what we’ve played on Nintendo’s hybrid console. At its core, this is a point and click style of game, and the game’s setup is as follows: you are part of an organization that has been empowered by the introduction of the BLU Pill Act, by which all online personal data can be accessed by the powers that be. The organization in question? MI7, which has been reactivated.. and this raises a valid question: is it acceptable for an organization to have the power to have access to all of your personal data?
You’ll be taking on case after case in which a crime has been committed, and your job is to find as much evidence and information as possible to get as big of a sentence as possible. To do this, you’ll end up jumping into areas that contain some very private information from said individuals, information that does, yes, showcase some rather dubious illegal (criminal) activity, but the same could be said of the stuff you’re doing, if not for the BLU Pill Act making it legal for you to jump over the techno-ethics of all this
You can play the game either by using the Joy-Con, or by using the Nintendo Switch’s touchscreen when playing in Portable or Tabletop mode. You’ll be moving a cursor around with the left analog stick, clicking as needed with the A button. You can increase the cursor’s speed with the R button, or can decreased it with the L button. You can toggle the keyboard with the Y button, write what you need by either moving the two cursors with the left and right analog sticks and the ZL and ZR buttons, or tap on the keyboard on the screen, and use the backspace with the B button. If you need to close a window, you can do so with the X button. It sounds more complicated than it really is, so once you start playing and give it a go, everything will start to click.
Once you get going, you’ll have an internal chat going on at the left side of the screen, with an OS that will certainly remind you of Windows running on a PC. At the bottom of the screen you have icons for a My Documents folder where files you download will be saved, a notes app, a browser on dial-up, with all the sounds you’d expect from such an old-school way of going online, and an email client, where you will get started by checking out emails and downloading some files – including the new arrest guidelines you have to follow to be able to show some results.
To be able to make an arrest, you’re going to need a name, a location, and the evidence that connects that person to the crime. A suspect’s location is the district where it is found when an arrest is initiated, potentially their home or their workplace. The evidence you collect will be imported from the documents folder, where you download stuff to. Find the evidence that helps you build a case against a suspect, and you’ll get to help with your first arrest. There are a ton of potential suspects, catalogued by their last name, so you’ll need to find something juicy before you go around accusing anyone – Reece Baker might look guilty from his profile picture, but that doesn’t mean he’s done something wrong!
You’ll need to slowly find out what you can and can’t do from your computer. You can type in help in the Mainline (V. 1.0.0.) window to get an idea of what other commands you can input to help you with your case. You can, for example, check a website’s IP, or hack into a computer using the IP. This will come in handy during your first case, since it seems someone has managed to hack into MI7, which is definitely not good considering MI7 is the one who is supposed to be doing the hacking to find any evidence needed for the cases you’ll try to solve.
For example, when you manage to hack into an IP, you’ll be able to review the user’s information by typing in info, or you can review a list of files in the current directory by typing in list. By doing this, you’ll know what files area available, so that you can the type in the download command to get that specific file and add it to your My Documents folder. You can also read the content of a file just in case you want to review it before downloading it to your system – you never know what might be in that file.
Mainlining has an interesting premise that will certainly grab your attention, but the overall gameplay is too slow and cumbersome on the Nintendo Switch, which was to be expected since the game was originally created for PC, where having access to a mouse and keyboard makes a big difference in how you interact with Mainlining. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not the best version of the game you can play, as not having a keyboard is really going to get in the way of your enjoyment of Mainlining on Nintendo Switch.
This Mainlining review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Merge Games.