868-HACK is entirely unique rogue-like game set in cyberspace. Think you've seen every variation of this genre? Think again, and take a trip down the rabbit hole.
868-HACK is a cyberspace dungeon crawler with a seemingly simple premise; survive 8 sectors. In reality, however, there is anything simple about 868-HACK. First, let me say that this game is tough; Like a used to say about my Dad, though, tough but fair. Each sector is made up of an 6 x 6 grid, and is completely viewable on your device without scrolling. Each of these sectors will contain data siphons, nodes, and enemies. To win, simply collect the data siphons, use them to unlock the nodes for new abilities (and siphon the surrounding squares of resources) or a point boost, defeat the enemies, and move on to the next sector. Be warned, however, because accessing nodes will release more enemies. There are four different enemy types, and when they use the combined arms strategy to take you down it's like playing rock/paper/scissors with somebody who can play all options at once.
You have choices, however, very hard choices, and it's here where the art of the game is revealed. Should you play it safe and siphon a lesser node, or should you go for the big power-up, knowing that it may release more enemies than you can handle? Playing it safe will likely result in successfully completing the game. However, in this particular rogue-like, it's all about the score. Siphoning more nodes will result in a higher score, but it may also result in your premature demise, severely truncating your potential score. Lastly, it is also possible to siphon a node that gives you no boosts, but instead gives you a direct bump to your score. Because of this scoring mechanic, the leaderboards are not occupied by somebody who simply had a lucky run, but by players who fought and clawed their way there through superior play. Hard choices, indeed.
868-HACK has a very unique look. It has been described by many as stylishly retro, and I agree. The predominance of softly glowing green characters is reminiscent of those old green screen terminals, but there are enough flashes of color to stimulate your retinas nicely, and to keep things from looking monotonous or confusing. That being said, they may not be for everybody as they have a decidedly low-rez look. Still, I recommend even graphic junkies give it a few minutes to see how, in spite of their initial impression, they show great attention to detail.
Like the graphics, the sound effects and music of 868-HACK also have a purposely 8-bit feel. In fact, more than anything else, they reminded me of the original TRON movie, which may have been intentional. They help with the immersion factor, and are certainly not unpleasant, even if they are purposely low-tech.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
Refreshingly, 868-HACK offers no IAPs of any kind.
A truly unique and cunning cyberspace dungeon crawler that you won't be able to stop playing.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Beautifully retro, but possibly not for everyone. Sound: - 4 - More retro goodness that may not hit its mark with younger ears. Controls: - 5 - Dead simple controls, perfectly implemented. Gameplay: - 5 - A fresh new twist on rogue-likes that challenges you to play your best without frustrating you in the process.
Playing Hints and Tips:
You will die early and often. Use for first few forays to learn what some of the powerups do, and how to deploy them. Playing it safe is absolutely the best course until you learn the ropes. Hubris will be punished. Severely.