I was intrigued when I first heard that Telltale — the studio known for its adaptations of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones — was publishing a video game based on the USA series Mr. Robot. As it turns out, the clunkily named Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltratiOn isn’t the kind of dramatic adventure title that Telltale is known for. It’s developed by Oxenfree creators Night School Studio, and it’s a $2.99 text-based iOS and Android game that runs over the course of a week.
The game plays out through what is ostensibly an E Corp messaging app, which you’re using after finding a phone on the sidewalk. The phone belongs to Mr. Robot deuteragonist Darlene, who first chews you out for stealing it and then conscripts you into her hacker collective, while other characters unwittingly send you messages meant for her. You’ll get a choice of replies, which are typed out as you watch — complete with the occasional typo. I installed the game 12 hours ago, and that’s basically all I can tell you so far, except that I keep getting alerts for nonexistent messages and I have no clue if this is some kind of real bug or an in-game signal that E Corp makes terrible apps.
Eurogamer points out that Exfiltration is a lot like The Martian: Bring Him Home, a mobile game that tied into the 2015 Matt Damon film. Its more realistic setting and conspiratorial elements, though, are reminiscent of the 2001 alternate reality game Majestic, a project I was far too young to experience but have always regretted missing out on. Majestic was a hugely elaborate narrative series that played out over everything from instant messages to faxes, so I’m not expecting anything that grand from Exfiltration — I don’t even know when I’m going to get my next message. But it’s a fun idea, and probably as close as I’m going to get.
Disclosure: NBC Universal, owner of USA Network, is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company. Additionally, we are an independent editorial partner in the Mr. Robot Digital After Show hosted by The Verge.