868-Hack Review (iOS)
868-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.
One 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.
If 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 5868-Hack Review (iOS),