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A jam submission

Hack AttackView game page

Play as an elite hacker in this drag-and-drop programming roguelike.
Submitted by plasmastarfish — 2 hours, 17 minutes before the deadline
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Hack Attack's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Roguelikeness#14.0004.000
Aesthetics#14.0004.000
Fun#23.6673.667
Overall#43.5563.556
Completeness#113.6673.667
Scope#263.0003.000
Innovation#403.0003.000

Ranked from 3 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous and shown in a random order.

  • Well done everyone, the game feels polished and balanced. The aesthetics are cute and the enemy movements animatedly telegraphed. I would have missed out if I hadn't played this. The editor is a clever twist on the usual mechanics but my only minor issue was figuring out how to use the editor until an enemy eventually dropped an action.

  • The game's pixel art looks fantastic.  The "jumping" animations and movement/attack patterns are inspired by Crypt of the Necrodancer.  The core mechanic of creating combo moves is interesting and creates some neat strategies later on.  Combat is deterministic and each enemy type has a unique feature to work around.  Has all the qualities of a true roguelike.  The game feels very polished and bug-free, but hints at features that may not have made it into the game.  All the characters appear to play the same and are only a different sprite.  There is no score or perceivable goal.  There is no indication of floor/depth.  The UI's ZXC panel hides important information on an already-limited screen.  Really great music but gets repetitive over the course of a game.

  • Aesthetically one of the better entries.  Hack Attack immediately grabs the players' attention with a jaunty chiptune loop and a choice of four bouncy geeks to play.    The character choice is cosmetic and the music never, ever ends, but game is pretty fun and quite technically solid, a well-scoped 7DRL that even features unique attack sounds for all the actors to complement the nice graphics.  It all creates an excellent atmosphere to fish in the player.

    The gameplay model is strikingly fair.   No healing but, provided you are paying attention and carefully plan your moves, it's unlikely you will take any damage (though this gets increasingly hard to do the further down you go).  This makes the choices very meaningful.    But its unique gimmick, the building of macros of three moves, didn't really fish me in.  I had a hard time finding times in which it would be applicable, and I sort of feel like it could use a bit more variation than "move" and "attack."

    Overall, a very solid experience for the time in which it was created, which makes it a pretty good 7DRL in my assessment.

    • Completeness - 4 (No music toggle that I could find, in-game help display, or persistence.  However, other than that it's a pretty complete project.)
    • Aethetics - 4 (Better than average, no mind blowing animations but excellently stylized assets that features interpolated movement on bouncy sprites.  Even if it does get repetitive, that music is pretty good!)
    • Fun - 4 (Very solid and fair, gives the player reason to think.  The macro building that replaces the progression didn't really fish me in, but the predictability of the varied enemies makes strategies naturally intuitive and play out well.  Later levels are a bit overkill in difficulty.)
    • Innovative - 3 (The hacking is a neat twist, but maybe not a great replacement for proper RPG mechanics.)
    • Scope - 3 (Very well scoped for a 7DRL, includes a good mix of enemies and whatnot.  Granted, this was a team effort.)
    • Roguelike - 4 (Procedural maps, and the tactical interplay between actor and enemy was identical to what I expect in a roguelike game.  But the lack of a proper inventory, items, and RPG mechanics is a little less roguelike than would entail a 5.)

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Comments

Jam Judge(+1)

A really great looking game you've made here!  The pixel art is really well done, and I *love* the music track, although it got repetitive after a while.  Is there any difference between the characters?  

The UI seems to take up too much of the screen, hiding enemies in the corners.  I larger vision in general would be very nice because the game could be played faster if you didn't have to worry about a new monster appearing a few tiles away after every move.  I do realize that the screen is the size it is for balance reasons though, since enemies aggro when they enter the screen.

Maybe I didn't get deep enough, but I had a feeling of "aimlessness" wondering if I'd hit the end at some point or if the dungeon just went on forever.  I have a feeling it actually does end here, but even a one-line message at the begging to shed some light on the plot/goals could go a long way.  Also a floor indicator would be very nice.

Was the lack of health drops a balance decision?  Mistakes are very punishing but I assume that is by design, especially with the deterministic combat system.

Is there are reason there are no combo pieces for left and right movement?  Or did I just get really unlucky with finding them?

It would be nice to start with a few combo pieces or get a few guaranteed on the first map.  It was confusing to figure out how the system worked, especially because most games don't seem to find a piece on the first map.  Maybe even just an indication on the combo edit screen that tells you to find more pieces first  :-)

Overall, a great looking and well-polished game, but I'd love to see a little more to give the player a sense of purpose instead of just dropping them into the dungeon.

By the way, I got the starting map below which was very annoying.  You can use a combo to escape the spikes, but if you don't have the pieces or if the other side is blocked by the wrong combination of enemies, then you will probably take a decent chunk of damage.


Developer (1 edit) (+1)

Hi,

Thanks for the playthrough! It was a fun project and I'm glad you found some parts you enjoyed.

A lot of the pieces you mentioned (health drops, spike spawning, and level counter) were points we noticed but ran out of time to fix. Our team was primarily two people, and we're engineering students full-time.

I definitely agree that a cohesive story would add a lot, and we've discussed adding boss floors and actual plot elements --- we actually had some idea of a story, none of which ended up in the game or Itch page in full.

Sorry to hear you didn't get left/right combo pieces, it's all on a random number generator! Making the first few levels deterministic would definitely make that system feel a little nicer.

Once again, thanks for playing and for the feedback! I think we could have gotten away with less polish for more features, but it was a fun experience and we got the opportunity to make a thing.