Hack The Planet: Early Access Granted To Hack ‘N’ Slash

By Alice O'Connor on May 7th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Hack that bird!

As a Zelda-y action-adventure game, Double Fine’s Hack ‘n’ Slash is impossible to complete. Obstacles are impassable, enemies are unkillable, and puzzles are unsolvable. That’s fine though because oh ho ho, Hack ‘n’ Slash is really a code-hacking puzzle game which happens to be wearing Zelda-green jimjams. Almost a month after its oddly premature launch trailer, Hack ‘n’ is now on Steam Early Access at £14.99.

Hack ‘n’ Slash gives players magical powers to mess about with the code underpinning the game, tweaking variables and behaviours to change how everything from enemies to blocks work. At the simpler end of the scale, for example, enemies can be made to harmlessly spin in circles, deal no damage, or explode in a shower of health pick-ups. Getting cleverer, you’ll need to do things like change the code which procedurally generates a broken bridge.

There’s something very pleasing about brazenly exposing the behaviours which underpin game systems. We come to have a feel for how games work by playing them, discovering the ‘tricks,’ but this is always felt-out, intuited, and guessed. Hack ‘n’ Slash showing this so explicitly may help players understand the cold, hard logic and shape our understanding of game systems in general, forever changing how we relate to games. It’s a nice fanciful idea, at least.

Do be aware that this is very much an Early Access release, still missing the final dungeon while Double Fine wait on player feedback to tune the puzzles. They also plan to add optional extra puzzles for puzzlemaniacs, and mod tools with Steam Workshop support.

Here, watch this trio of trailers introducing you hacking gadgets:

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14 Comments »

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  1. shaydeeadi says:

    I really like how double fine is making all these quirky games and not just ramming full bore into a major project at the moment, looking forward to Massive Chalice (which I backed) and will be picking up this and also probably SBDF9 when they are closer to completion.

    • Convolvulus says:

      I wish they’d take a break from these quirky games and fix some of their older ones.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        Forward ever, backward never

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          jrodman says:

          Is this a sort of battle hymn of the east india company?

          • shaydeeadi says:

            It actually used to be on Helter Skelter flyers in the 90’s.

      • km3k says:

        Which ones? Last year they brought a bunch of their older games to Mac and Linux and pushed out bug fixes. As far as I know, Psychonauts, Costume Quest, Stacking and Brutal Legend occasionally still have bug fixes pushed out on Steam. They may still have some bugs, but they haven’t abandoned these games yet.

    • rexx.sabotage says:

      SBDF9 could really use more love, at least the blog now has more that an average of point five updates a month :\

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    golem09 says:

    Another game I won’t touch in early access. But I am excited to read how the concept turned out.

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      DrScuttles says:

      Yeah, my worry about early access games is similar to that when I thrust my face into a Yorkshire pudding I just made only to discover a charmless, wet eggy centre. Something about them not being properly cooked yet but you’re just sat there thinking how awesome it could be and a bit sad about the whole thing.

  3. Lemming says:

    When it’s finished I’ll buy it and not before.

  4. SillyWizard says:

    This looks fucking insane. (In a good way.)

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      thristhart says:

      Having just bought it and finished the currently available content, I can confirm, this game is fucking insane in a good way!

      Minor “you can do that?!” spoilers below:
      Towards the end I gained the ability to modify the game’s code – which included modifying the structures that I use to modify the game’s code, and it was more than happy to allow me to massively break the game. Awesome. I’m excited for the full game!

  5. The Random One says:

    They did actually name the protagonist Alice! And she has a companion named Bob! That is excellent.

    And so is the game. I’m now only worried that the game will be either trivial with all the stuff you can do, or super hardcore requiring you master all the code to complete it. (Although I wouldn’t mind the latter, come to think of it.) If they have mod support when it actually comes out – which is a small stretch considering what the regular game look out – I foresee some outright insane things coming from the community.