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Hands-on: Hack ‘n’ Slash – Java vs. Wizards

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Hack ‘n’ Slash pro­mi­ses its­elf as a “puz­zle action game” whe­re ins­tead of hacking your way through enemies, you are hacking varia­bles of enemies and other objec­ts with your USB sword. One might hack an ene­my to attack its for­mer allies, spin in a cir­cle or sim­ply hack its health to zero. As Dou­ble Fine says, “The only way to win is not to play…by the rules!” Radi­cal, our inte­rest has been gai­ned. We feel less bad about play­ing this game ins­tead of stu­dy­ing java, right? Just a sucker for a good excu­se.

Hands-on writ­ten by Dal­lin

Hack 'n' Slash

Hack ‘n’ Slash starts out like Zel­da or an old Final Fan­ta­sy game. You’re in a cave, you’ve got to get out and explo­re the world, using your new­ly acqui­red code-hacking wea­pon. If the Zel­da feel wasn’t strong enough alrea­dy, you even find a “fai­ry” fri­end. The simi­la­ri­ties end the­re though, in Hack ‘n’ Slash, you won’t rely on your batt­le pro­wess. Sword in hand, you can hit just about anything with a USB dri­ve on it. You learn how to hack rocks, bus­hes, enemies, con­trol time and lan­guage befo­re you can get to the “good stuff” towards the back half of the game. As with any adven­ture game though, things amp up. You’re left with the fee­ling of some old text based adven­ture games, try­ing to do things in the right order, decon­struct the solu­ti­on of a com­plex puz­zle you’re not even sure you have the know­ledge set for. From a pro­gramming stand­point, it’s inte­res­ting. It real­ly high­lights how you can think out of the box with game mecha­nics. We had a lot of fun play­ing with the enemies, see­ing if we could crash the game. We couldn’t help but com­pa­re it to Scribblenauts. You can defeat so many of the obsta­cles with the same solu­ti­ons but it’s making your own fun along the way that enri­ches the expe­ri­ence.

Star­ting Hack ‘n’ Slash, we are left with the fee­ling that the sto­ry needs to take its­elf more serious­ly. The humor is alright but cer­tain­ly not worth play­ing the game for and a litt­le tire­so­me with the con­fu­sing game-play to back it up. It seems lazy more than wit­ty and we want to get to the adven­ture. In hind­sight, we were just expec­ting some­thing else. Some points we thought made Hack ‘n’ Slash suf­fer, it see­med over­whel­ming at first. We would come across puz­zle after puz­zle with no idea of whe­re to start or any idea if we could even finish some­thing with the tool-set that had been given thus far. It moved fast too, hard­ly giving you time to get used to an idea befo­re it has ano­t­her for you. While this can be stress­ful at first, it’s still qui­te satis­fy­ing when you pie­ce it all tog­e­ther.

Hack 'n' SlashHack 'n' Slash

Conclusion

All in all, Hack ‘n’ Slash makes you work for your win more than some might enjoy. The end chal­len­ge comes in coding puz­zles rather than kni­ves and bul­lets. Save often! Becau­se some­ti­mes your own actions can cau­se the need to load an old save. Assuming you can maneu­ver this smart sen­se of dif­fi­cul­ty and all the game brea­king bugs in your arse­nal, Hack ‘n’ Slash feels like a satis­fy­ing chal­len­ge and may­be an intro­duc­tion to the world of pro­gramming as well. If you like the game, why not keep lear­ning?

It real­ly depends on our play­er when gra­ding Hack ‘n’ Slash but we were enthu­si­astic about it from the start and imper­fec­tions asi­de, we’re still enthu­si­astic about it now. Dou­ble Fine’s Hack ‘n’ Slash is worth play­ing; at very least as a look at the uni­que puz­zle medi­um and at most as chan­ce to final­ly look into game design.

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