Hacktag is a co-op stealth game with asymmetric gameplay where one person is a hacker and the other is a stealth agent. It’s currently in early access, and for 15 bucks, you’re getting quite an interesting little title at this stage of the game. There’s a few flaws, but, it’s early access. You aren’t going to find another stealth game that plays like this out there.
There are two completely different games to play here – one as the hacker and one as the stealth agent, but, the mini-games are roughly the same. One person sneaks through a randomly generated building in a standard style stealth game, complete with enemy fields of vision and a “wave” of sound when your character runs. Your partner, the hacker, meanwhile has to avoid computer security systems while opening doors and waiting for the man on the inside to open access to new areas of the network. Occasionally, there is a puzzle that requires cooperation to complete, and if either is caught, the other can save them. If both people are caught, it’s game over. Each mission has a different goal, some are stealing a certain amount of data, some are trying to find out if someone has emailed a member of their corporation, and others, but, the main goal is to hack computers, collect points, and not get caught.
The sound is really good. The music works well, and nothing feels out of place. This is a good set of tunes and the spirit of the game is really solidly portrayed through the use of music. None of the audio bothers me at all
Design-wise, this game is interesting. I haven’t seen such well-done asymmetrical gameplay in a long time. The big issue with this is it requires you to have a friend willing to do the thing you don’t like doing, or trying your luck on the open market in multiplayer. You can find a player now and again by just queuing for games, but, chances are, he wants to be on the ground instead of the hacker. Both are equally reliant on the other to proceed, and that’s the big concept of the game, teamwork.
There’s modes where you’re competing against each other while working together, and that’s a cool concept too, but I suppose it’s kind of counter-productive. If the game had an AI companion, it could really make or break the game, constantly having to rescue your AI companion would be terrible, but if he never failed and there was just a chance of him failing saving you, it would feel random and cheesy. This game really shines because it’s it’s cooperative nature, and I think that’s why it’s important that it’s done in tandem with a friend. I know the main characters are animals, but, it’s not furry type animals doing stuff. It’s like Saturday morning cartoon animals doing stuff, so, if the whole furry thing weirds you out, you can rest assured that you won’t be watching any animals have any hand-cuff required wrestling matches. (But hey, if you’re into that kinda thing, you do you.)
You’ll definitely need to use a third party communication service, such as Discord (speaking of, come visit OUR discord!) to communicate. I found when playing with randoms on the internet it was very difficult for us to really tell what the other one was dealing with using the in game “quick chat” commands.
The controls are simple, it isn’t a complicated game by any stretch of the imagination, but, I think the biggest obstacle to overcome is working with a teammate. So often we are presented with challenges in games that one person can overcome, and this game turns that on it’s head by requiring teamwork. There are just no-win situations for single characters, and it requires your teammate showing up to save the day. That concept is something missing from a lot of games, and this one does a great job of filling that void in gaming.
The minigames are simple, but, require you to act quickly if you’re going to get things done. There’s a lot of extra things that it’s currently missing, as it’s in early access, but, you’ll be able to customize your furry in different outfits and colours, and, in doing so, will be able to yiff around the spy world with your friends in whatever your fursona is. (I made Meowthew, [it’s like Matthew but a cat! GET IT?!] personally.)
Hacktag is currently $15.00 USD, and, that’s a decent price for the game if you and a friend are going to play a lot of it together. It’s procedurally generated levels and unique gameplay are something that couples might enjoy to play together, but, if your partner sucks at games, you’re gonna get frustrated. It DOES require a lot of teamwork to be successful.
So far, I haven’t seen any reason to dislike the game, it’s difficult, but fair. Get in on it if you’re into the genre and have a buddy willing to jump into the fold with you. If you’re a solo gamer, it feels like it’s going to be more difficult to get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
Disclosure: We received this game for free
Developed by: Piece of Cake Studios