Watch Dogs: Your video guide to solving every ctOS Tower puzzle

Watch Dogs follows the lead of the Assassin’s Creed series in tasking players that want to with solving a series of environmental puzzles to fill out all of the details on the game’s open world map. Whenever one of the ctOS Towers scattered throughout the game’s near-future vision of Chicago is found and hacked, all points of interest in the surrounding area — gang hideouts, criminal convoys, Fixer contracts, various collectibles — are marked on your map. You’ll also unlock new hideouts, which serve as fast-travel locations.

Each tower amounts to a puzzle that requires protagonist Aiden Pearce to put his parkour skills to use. Some are easier to figure out than others, but you’ll want to visit them all if you’re hoping to completely reveal all of Chicago’s secrets. Read on for a rundown of how the ctOS Towers work in a general sense and video solutions for each one.

Take it to the source

All ctOS Towers are represented on your minimap by a solid red icon with three parallel vertical lines inside it. If you get close enough to one to see it on your minimap, and there’s a little white arrow above or below it; that’s the game telling you that the tower is above or below Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden Pearce’s current position.

You’ll notice early on that there aren’t many of these icons visible on the map. That’s because you’ve got to bring down the ctOS Hub for each district — represented by a red icon with dots inside it — before the towers can be highlighted on your map. Taking down a Hub is a more involved process, since all of them are inside of restricted areas watched over by guard patrols. To hack a hub, you’ve first got to find the guard that has the security key and then hack him for that key; it doesn’t matter if he’s alive.

All of the hubs can be completed using a stealth approach if you prefer, and some don’t even require you to set foot inside the restricted area. You can simply hack your way to the key and then to the hub’s control system by jumping from camera to camera. Take a look at our playthrough of the first ctOS Hub, which is handed to you as a story mission. Note that, prior to the footage being captured, we peeked through the cameras and marked all of the guards; that’s why their silhouettes are visible in the HUD.

Taking down the towers

There are 13 ctOS Towers in all, spread  across five different districts: Brandon Docks, The Loop, Mad Mile, Parker Square, and The Wards. A sixth district, Pawnee, has a ctOS Hub, but no towers of its own. Take down that hub and you’ll reveal everything in the district on your map. We’ve broken each video solution down by district; just click the links below to instantly zip over to the district you need help tackling.

The text descriptions for each tower refer to what’s happening in the video, so just hit play if you’re not clear on what you’re reading. Some of these towers are much easier to tackle when you actually see the solution, versus reading about it.

Brandon Docks

There are three ctOS Towers in the Brandon Docks district: one in the southeast, one in the southwest, and one in the north.

Southeast ctOS Tower

This one is simple. Run past the guard booth and into the empty lot and circle around to the side of the small building that’s just behind the parked car. Hack the unlock box, then hop in the car and drive it into the shipping container positioned directly in front of it. Then Hack the crane to lift the container up and drive the car straight out the opposite end of the crate. You’ll land right in front of a gate (unlocked when you hacked the box) that leads to the ctOS Tower.

Southwest ctOS Tower

Before you can even get close to the building that this ctOS Tower is on top of, you’ll need to hack a control box to unlock the door to a smaller building just beside it at the end of an alley. Face the the side of the smaller building that marks the end of the alley, then look up and to your left to find a camera hack. Jump into the camera, then leap-frog over to another camera, just beyond the tower building’s outer fence. Once you do, you’ll see the unlock box for the door just inside the smaller building.

Once you hack the box and open the door, leave the smaller building through the back door to reach a lot with a hackable lift that takes you up to the tower. The unlock box you hacked also unlocks the gate leading to the ctOS Tower.

North ctOS Tower

This one looks a little tricky at first glance, but it’s actually the easiest ctOS Tower in the game. Ignore any power lines or locked gates or control boxes that you might; they don’t matter. Just circle around to the north side of the building and head to the northwest corner. You should see some boxes that you can use to boost yourself to the roof. Do that and hoist yourself up to the next roof, then jump through one of the open windows that you find there.

That’s it. You’re done. The ctOS Tower is right in this room. Easy.

The Loop

There are three ctOS Towers in The Loop district: one in the northeast, one in the central north, and one in the central south.

North ctOS Tower

Drive into the alley, under the walkway connecting two buildings. Just past the walkway, stop and take the lift to your right up to the rooftop. Keep working your way up from here until you reach the first of two locked ctOS Tower gates you’ll encounter. Look up and to the left of that gate to find a camera you can hack into. From there you should be able to spot an unlock box, which you should hack, and another camera that’s across the courtyard you found the lift in.

Hack over to the other camera and you’ll find a second unlock box to hack. Once that’s done, return to Aiden’s perspective and go through the newly unlocked gate, then follow the linear path until you reach the ctOS Tower.

Northeast ctOS Tower

Drive into the alley a short distance until you reach a couple stacks of wood pallets that you can use to climb up to the nearby roof. From here you should see a metal catwalk; follow that and climb the ladder at the end of it, then hack the camera that is just visible over the top of the fence to the left of where the ladder leaves you. You’ll immediately spot a hackable control box that unlocks the gate leading to the ctOS Tower.

Use the HVAC (Air Conditioning and Ventilation) units to the right of where the ladder leaves you to reach the roof above you, then turn left and run through the now-unlocked gate. Follow the path straight until you can drop off the ledge to land right in front of the ctOS Tower.

South ctOS Tower

Drive into the alley and look left at the first intersection you reach to see a lift that takes you up to a nearby rooftop. Just keep working your way up to higher and higher roofs from here until you reach one that’s just across from the ctOS Tower. Look for a camera on the building to the left of the tower and hack into that, then hack a second camera (down and to the left of what you see when you hack the first one).

You find a control box waiting to be hacked when you get to the second camera. Hit that, then jump back to Aiden, hop over the waist-high fence on the side of the roof facing the tower, and run through the now-unlocked gate. Keep following the path from here, to a set of HVAC units you can use to reach a higher rooftop. You’ll find another (also unlocked) gate that you can run straight through to get to the ctOS Tower.

Mad Mile

There are three ctOS Towers in the Mad Mile district: one in the northeast, one in the northwest, and one in the west.

Northeast ctOS Tower

This one’s a little tricky at first. To get to the tower, you’ve got to go into the parking garage next to the building it sits on top of, take two ramps up, and then hop over the wall at the southwest corner of the garage onto a hidden walkway that leads to a ladder. Climb the ladder and hook a right, following the edge of the building all the way around until your reach a hackable control box.

Once that’s done, continue forward onto the glass overhang and carefully drop back down to the rooftop that the ladder originally led you to. Run past all the HVAC units until you reach another control box with an “Intrude” command (you might have spotted it when you ran to the first control box). Hack this one and you’ll end up looking through a security camera in what appears to be a server room. Look left and hack the laptop camera you see there, then jump back to Aiden.

Once that’s done, jump up to the next higher roof use the HVAC units you ran past earlier and you’ll see the gate leading to the ctOS Tower.

Northwest ctOS Tower

This is another tricky one; it’s probably easiest to just watch the video. You’ll notice that the ctOS Tower is on the roof of a building that’s one of several in a housing complex. If you’re looking at the in-game map, you’ll see that the complex is laid out across a rectangular plot of land, with a set of outer buildings forming a larger rectangle around a smaller rectangle of inner buildings. The tower is on the roof of the inner rectangle’s northernmost building.

First, enter the complex from the north and circle around to the west side of the building that the tower sits on top of. Hack the control box that you find there and then run to the south end of the complex. Look right when you reach an intersection to see a lift that takes you to a balcony attached to the building in the southwest corner of the inner rectangle. Climb the ladder up to the roof and then head north until you reach a locked gate with a fence in front of it that you can hop over (there’s an air duct right in front of the fence).

Before you hop the fence, turn around and look down to see a second control box. Hack that to unlock the gate, then hop the fence and run through the gate to reach yet another rooftop. Look for a glass overhang to the left that you can jump onto, and follow that to the next building, your final destination. Run straight forward from the glass overhang, and leap over the fenced ledge to land directly in front of the ctOS Tower.

West ctOS Tower

Head down the stairs that lead you north, toward the water, and just keep going straight until you reach a waist-high fence. Hop over that to land on some rocks at the shore, then turn right to see a covered area beneath the ctOS Tower building with a dock jutting out from it. First head to the dock and turn around to face the building. Look up and you should see a security camera; if you don’t, just go a little further out on the dock.

Hack the camera, then hack the other camera just beyond it that overlooks the ctOS Tower. Look down and you’ll spot a control box that, once hacked, unlocks the gate in front of the dock, right where Aiden is standing. Leave the cameras and head through the gate, then up the set of stairs. If you’re phone is out (and it should be), you’ll see a white line indicating that there’s still another control box to be hacked. Follow that line around the building to a ladder; climb that and you’ll find the control box.

No need to circle all the way back around. The control box you just hacked unlocks two gates: one that’s back where you were when you got to the top of the stairs and another that’s right next to it. Just go through that to reach the ctOS Tower. You can use the other gate to exit the area more easily.

Parker Square

There are two ctOS Towers in the Parker Square district: one in the north and one in the south. 

North ctOS Tower

This is a very straightforward ctOS Tower. Run up the dirt path, following it until you reach a building with a locked gate. Follow the white power line around to the back of the building, where it winds past a fence that you can’t jump over. Fortunately, there’s a camera here that you can hack. Look down and you’ll see a forklift that you can hack; do that and you’ll reveal the control box. Hack that and circle back around to the side of the building you started on, then head through the unlocked gate to reach the ctOS Tower.

South ctOS Tower

Drive into the alley and then run around a fence at the end of it to find a forklift that can carry you up to the adjacent rooftop. Work your way up to the next roof and along a catwalk that seems to end with nowhere to go. However, look down and you’ll spot a lift that can be raised, serving as a bridge between the catwalk and the next roof. Once you’re there, a set of HVAC units provides access to a fire escape with a ladder leading to the final roof.

To open the locked gate that’s right in front of you, hack the camera on the other side of the fence and look to the right to find a control box. Hack that and you’ll unlock the gate, clearing the way to the ctOS Tower.

The Wards

There are two ctOS Towers in The Wards district: one in the east and one in the west.

East ctOS Tower

Break through the tall fence with a vehicle or explosive and then head around to the back of the building that the tower sits on top of, where you’ll find scaffolding with a hackable lift next to it. Take the lift up to the top of the scaffold, then use the crates topped with green tarp to reach a locked gate.

Hack the camera to the left of the gate, then hack a second camera that’s just visible in a little, fenced-in area, at the top of a ladder. Hack the control box and then jump back to Aiden and head through the newly unlocked gate. If you follow the path to the left, you’ll come to a metal catwalk that leads to a ladder, at the top of which is another locked gate. Go right first. Doing so leads you to an HVAC unit (to Aiden’s right) that you can get on top of. Just below it is the control box that you need to hack for the second gate.

Once you’ve hacked it, head to that second gate and go through it, straight to the ctOS Tower.

West ctOS Tower

Drive down the alley next to the steak house and make a right. You’ll see a fenced-in area to your left shortly after you make the turn. Head in there to find a set of stairs leading to a ladder that takes you up to the rooftops. Follow the path up here until you get to the train tracks; face the tracks and you’ll see the tower on your left. Run over to the building (make sure there aren’t any trains coming) and hack the camera that’s just beyond the locked gate. 

Turn the camera all the way to the left to spot a second camera. Hack that and look straight down. You should see a control box here that you can hack to cause an explosion. Do that and the control box sealing the gate will be revealed. Hack that, return to Aiden, and head through the gate to reach the ctOS Tower.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: