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Rating: 4.9/5 (7 votes cast)

868-Hack Review (iOS)

868-Hack1868-HACK – Michael Brough’s charming, cyberspace roguelike – may be the most formidable game you’ll ever encounter with a smiley-face as its protagonist. Stick with it though, because it’s worth the frustration.

The objective of 868-HACK is to swipe your smiley-face sprite through eight gridded data sectors, one square at time. In each sector there are two siphons which can be used to extract data from nodes in the form of energy, cash or abilities, with which the former can be spent to deploy. Then there are special nodes which contain points and these contribute to your high score. This all sounds pleasant enough, but every time you trigger a data node enemies are released and the game quickly turns to turn-based strategy. You see, you kill your enemies by shooting at them with the swipe of a finger, but things can easily get out of hand if you chase after a more lucrative data node and you have numerous enemies on your tail. Couple this with various enemy types – some move two squares per turn while others only become visible when close to you – and you may just find yourself cornered, and dead, very quickly. Simply surviving all eight sectors is a struggle, setting a decent score is a whole other matter.

868-HackOne of Brough’s greatest achievements with 868-HACK is how he’s fashioned an identity for the game. Everything from art style, sound design, character models and even the menu screens all come together to form something familiar, yet totally its own.

The first complaint that I’d make with regards to 868-HACK is the tutorial; it feels totally out of context with how the game actually plays and I felt thrown in at the deep end, having to rely on trial and error to get to grips with it. The second is the ‘ambitious’ price tag; £3.99 seems ludicrous in a market populated with 69p impulse buys (see Cut The Rope, Plants vs. Zombies) and many of these cheaper alternatives are just as worthy of your time. In fact, it is pretty telling that you can get GTA: Vice City on your iOS device for less cash.

This aside, 868-HACK is a mighty practitioner in the church of ‘one more go.’ As soon as you fail, you’ll want to start right over again and try your damnedest to better yourself. It’s entirely possible that you’ll get your money’s worth, anyway.

868-Hack2If you have £3.99 burning a hole in your digital pocket, then I can wholeheartedly recommend that you donate it to Michael Brough in exchange for this wonderfully addictive – yet utterly frustrating – Roguelike. Just don’t get too mad at the smiley-face, it’s not his fault you suck at the game.

3.5 frustrated head-desks out of 5

868-Hack Review (iOS), 4.9 out of 5 based on 7 ratings


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  1. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    09/12/2013, 1:45 PM

    Why are commentors being nice and listening to reasoned arguments? Isn’t this the internet? Am I in the wrong place?

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  2. Scott says
    09/11/2013, 9:37 PM

    I admit to belittling the cheaper games and I am sorry. Thanks for nevertheless letting my spout my disgruntlements on your blog! Cheers!

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  3. Profile photo of Kevin O'Donnell
    09/11/2013, 8:43 PM

    What you’re saying, though, is totally belittling all of those cheaper games when many of them are excellent. I’d argue that PvZ is a better game at 69p. To categorise the games that follow the aforementioned precedent as ‘disposable’ is just insulting.

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  4. Scott says
    09/11/2013, 8:14 PM

    Well, I’d argue that it is commendable and right for this developer to *mildly* challenge this cheap game precedent, and it should be lauded rather than marked as a complaint. The precedent rewards cookie-cutter disposable games.

    I think £100 would be a fine price for a game if it provided that much value. Granted, that’d be hard to do and even harder to convince people of it. But, we’re talking about a game that costs the same as two cups of coffee and is brilliant. It’s a no-brainer.

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  5. Profile photo of Kevin O'Donnell
    09/11/2013, 7:55 PM

    If you read on, you can see that I do believe players can/will get their money’s worth but I was merely illustrating that – in this particular market – precedents have been set. Your argument would suggest that, if a retail game were to be made by a smaller team, it would be ok to charge £100 for it as opposed to the usual £40?

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  6. Scott says
    09/11/2013, 6:46 PM

    It’s really upsetting to read your complaint and complaints like it about the £3.99 price.

    Not because we’re talking about a game that was made by a single, industrious game developer in his off hours, as opposed to a multimillion dollar game studio with sickeningly abundant time, employees, and resources.

    Not because you’re complaining about what is really pocket change.

    Not even because this kind of pervasive mentality (where one thinks all things should be cheap or free) threatens to turn many industries, not just the gaming industry, away from hand-crafted, beautiful, labors of love toward ever cheaper, ever shallower “impulse buys.”

    It’s mostly upsetting because the game is so good that it just blows my mind that you or anyone else can still be feeling the few missing coins from your pocket after playing it. Or have the nerve to suggest the developer should take even a single cue from cheap mobile games that really only exist so we have a way to occupy our fingers and escape our thoughts while we poop.

    I think it can only mean that you haven’t played the game enough. Play on. It’s worth it.

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