All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Hack 'n' Slash

Score: 95%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Steam
Developer: Double Fine Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Classic/Retro/ Adventure/ Editor

Graphics & Sound:

Longtime fans of 2D Adventures and Double Fine will be pleased with the look and feel of Hack 'n' Slash, as it feels much like something from the heyday of 2D adventures featuring a map-view camera angle akin to classic games such as the original Zelda or the like, but with higher resolution graphics. The nostalgia isn't accidental, and various things in the game, from the special effects to grid-based tiling in the environment, have that old-school look. This is true of the music and sound effects as well, and there is even one song that is made up of old modem handshaking sounds or an approximation thereof. Funny.

Speaking of sounds, there is a nice special effect done with the sound when using the artifact that allows you to change the speed of the game: the pitch is bent upwards when you speed things up and downward when you slow them down. This is in addition to the actual speed changing. It just feels right when you experience it, but since this is digital sound and not analog sound, that doesn't happen naturally; they had to add that in. Nice touch, Double Fine.

While the graphics and sound are pleasing, they, along with most everything in the game, are subject to your actions. If you find a sound effect you don't like, you can go modify the thing to use a sound from elsewhere in the game. (Not at the beginning, mind you, but you will, once you've played through the game enough.) This also goes for the appearance of things.


In what seems to be textbook old-school adventure background story, you - whoever you may be - wake to find yourself in a prison cell. Soon, you find a sword in your cell... unlikely, but probably not the first time. However, when you try to use your sword to open the cell's gate, the sword breaks in half, revealing what looks like a USB dongle, making the sword useless for slashing things, but actually useful for "hacking" things... especially any of the many things that have what appears to be USB ports in them. You can't hit things and damage them, but you could hit them to start modifying their properties and reduce their health points, change their faction to "Good" or even change the amount of damage they do to a negative number, making it actually heal you when they attack you. And that's just the beginning. As you proceed through the game, you will get the use of better and better tools that give you increasing ability to change the very nature of the game. From changing variables to going deeper into the code and viewing (and editing) the scripting language that the game is built of, you will gain a better understanding of what makes a videogame tick (literally) as you solve puzzles, disarm traps and generally bend the world to your will... and learn a thing or two about programming.


Hack 'n' Slash does a pretty good job of slowly increasing the difficulty as you work your way through the game. Having said that, there were a few points where I felt stumped... even suspecting at one point that the game might have had a bug that prevented me from progressing any further through the game. (As it turned out, I had failed to notice that when modifying the code inside of an object, the machines on the right side also can have USB ports. No, that doesn't make sense right now, but if you get to that point in the game, this info will help.)

Game Mechanics:

If you've ever wanted to learn about videogames and how they're programmed, Hack 'n' Slash provides an excellent way to delve down into just what's going on inside the game. And, if you wonder how "real" what you see actually is, the code that you see is written in something called "LUA" script, a scripting language that is used heavily by Double Fine, among others. If you were to apply for a job as a programmer with Double Fine, LUA is definitely one of the skills for which they'd be looking.

The way that the scripts that run the game are made viewable and editable in-game as part of the game itself is genius, allowing players to play around with the code without ever directly trying to teach them, per se. Players get to simply try mucking around with things to see what happens. If you mess something up beyond repair, you start where you just left off and can try something different the next time. Further, the saved game functionality saves off exactly how things were each time you move from one area to another, allowing you to roll-back to how things were at an earlier point in your game which, in this case, could have completely different code. This appears to be a built-in versioning system that works similarly to the software programmers use to manage their projects.

If you are a programmer and a gamer and you've never looked at LUA before, or you've always been interested in how games work behind the scenes, but you haven't ever looked at programming, you should check out Hack 'n' Slash. It's not edutainment; it's entertainment that you'll learn from. A lot.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP Service Pack 3, 1.7 GHz Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, Intel HD 3000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM, Version 9.0, 3 GB available space, DirectX Compatible Sound Card, Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3

Test System:

[Toshiba Satellite A665] Intel Core i5 M 460 CPU @ 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (4GB), Samsung S22C300H 22" HDMI LED Monitor, Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Logitech Z313 2.1-CH PC multimedia speaker system, Astro Gaming A30 Headset, Broadband Internet

Related Links:

Sony PlayStation4 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Windows Lili: A Child of Eos

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated