Hack ‘n’ Slash Leaves Early Access, Brings Source Code

One of the best ideas in videogames today, Hack ‘n’ Slash, has broken out of Early Access and is running amok on Steam proper. It’s a Zelda-like 2D adventure with the ability to modify the code of many of the objects in the world. This is used for, in equal measure, puzzle solving and comedy, able to unlock doors or make NPCs endlessly rotate on the spot. This release version also brings the last chapter of the game, filled with new puzzles and mechanics, as well as updating previous areas with more content. Naturally, a game so meta also shipped with the source code and now has Steam Workshop support, letting us dig deeper into its innards.

Craig called the Early Access version “great” back in May, saying while it was never teaching him coding, it did make him feel smarter. I’ve been hankering to give it a shot, holding off only due to the in-development tag. The three trailers that accompanied the first release are particularly interesting, showing off the items that turn the game from adventure to hackathon. One of the best parts of following modding and speedrun communities is seeing the ways they find to exploit older and simple code, and that’s basically the entire game here.

Hack ‘n’ Slash is 33% off on Steam until Tuesday, down to £10.04 from the usual £14.99. A Humble version’s on the official site for £12.40. Here’s the launch trailer, showing off what the mod tools can do:

The translation kit has already been uploa-BZZT


If you’re seeing this it’s because you’ve been identified as one of our especially tasteful and clever readers. This is a short reminder that Double Fine are also remastering Grim Fandango and you should be very, very excited. Here’s the PAX panel they did about it, and the first two parts of their documentary series. Oh, the joy!


  1. Sagan says:

    Does anyone know what you actually do in the game? It’s cool that you can hack things but what is the goal? Why would I want to play this other than to mess around with turtle stats?

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Think Zelda. Evil wizard and all.
      If you havent played Zelda games, think, errrr, emmmm, transistor? No bad example.
      Just Zelda.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      I’ve played through the early access build of this so I think I can answer it pretty well…

      You start out with access to a sword which you can use to change the variables of stuff around you, as long as it has a port. This is kind of fun for a while, but it immediately shows that this is going to be a freeform puzzle game to figure out how to hack your way around obstacles, not really a fighting game. Examples of early puzzles are:

      1) There’s a block you can’t push. Hack it to increase its remaining pushes.
      2) There’s a block blocking a chest. Change its push distance from 1 to -1 so that when you push it it goes backwards instead of forwards.

      And it basically gets more complex from there based on what variables you have access to.

      But then you start getting access to even cooler stuff, gradually as things progress.

      Cool thing 1: A special hat that lets you see debug mode when you wear it, which gives you information that helps you get around puzzles
      Cool thing 2: A device that slows time, to make it easier to nagivate certain obstacles.
      Cool thing 3: Areas where you get access to a visual representation of actual program functions, so that you can change the actual program logic of how a particular obstacle works in various ways. A lot of the final challenges in the demo were based around this.

      At the end of the Alpha, you get access to Cool Thing 4, a ‘Breakpoint Bomb’ which you can use to break open the code of pretty much any object in the game and mess with it much like in cool thing 3, but in a lot more detail.

      The final level now in the complete version, is designed to test all the things you learn and skills you gain. But I haven’t played that yet!

      The extra-cool thing about all this is that none of it is fakery – when you mess with something in the game, you are genuinely messing with the code that drives it, so there’s potentially very creative ways around puzzles, although the final tower is designed to guard against the obvious.

  2. mechabuddha says:

    I’m loving this game so far, but am finding some of the puzzles frustrating. Namely, figuring out the first password (I could guess the first half but couldn’t figure out the second without cheating) and escaping past the guard who knows your name (I was able to brute force my way past him, but missed out on a treasure chest and I’m pretty sure there must be a better way).

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      I got out by changing my name so he wouldn’t recognise me. I still missed a chest in a locked cell though. I’m hoping I can go back and get it later once I can open doors without ports on them.

      Also, worth pointing out, while I got it on Steam yesterday, it’s cheaper in today’s humble summer sale.

      • mechabuddha says:

        Okay, this confirms I missed a bunch of stuff. I got past him by slowing down time and speeding up my movement speed, speeding up day/night cycle to regenerate hearts, and crossing my fingers…I never found a way to edit my own name.

        • somnolentsurfer says:

          I hadn’t even realised there was a day/night cycle!

        • Nixitur says:

          I think that might be important later on, so I’ll give you some hints.
          You need the help of Ida (the prisoner in the castle) and Halcyon (the genie).
          You won’t be able to understand Halcyon unless you’ve got the glyph translation or if you’ve learned to read them, although the latter is quite hard.

          Ida lets you search for variables and stores their location.
          Halcyon lets you change a stored variable.

          Halcyon gives you only very few wishes, but there’s a way around that.

  3. gunslingerfry says:

    So…. what exactly am I missing here? where is the source code? I cannot find it downloaded anywhere.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      I think it just means the game files… Whenever you change anything in the game it tells you the path of the file you’ve modified, so just look there. Pretty sure the engine in Moai, which is open source anyway.

      • gunslingerfry says:

        I didn’t realize that Maoi was open source. This is what I’ve learned. The early access game had bytecode files for the scripts. The 1.0 release swapped them out for the Lua scripts themselves but they are, as you say, inside the [Steamstuff]/HacknSlash/Data/Scripts folder. I haven’t had a chance to delve into them yet since prior to yesterday I had very cursory knowledge of Lua but it looks like it’s all there and much easier to read than their visual interface. First potential mod, display/edit the source code in game.

        • somnolentsurfer says:

          That’d be well good. It’d need to preserve the sections that are and aren’t editable somehow, so the puzzles still work. But something that replaces the coloured diamonds with something readable, and lets me edit with my keyboard rather than their nonsensical visualisation would be very much welcome.

  4. death_au says:

    Just an amusing note, on steam it’s $13.37 USD. Best price ever for a game about hacking.

  5. Gog Magog says:

    And then I introduce it to Cheat Engine and the universe nods in approval.