When I first saw images of Piece of Cake Studios’ Hacktag game, I immediately thought of one of my favorite graphic novel characters of all time called Blacksad, as the artwork is strangely similar featuring anthropomorphic animal characters. Upon playing, I found it to be a fun but tough stealth-action title that players who like to sneak around instead of fighting will want to tag with some friends.
Taking place in the year 2029 on a parallel world ruled by anthropomorphic animals, players get to control a mercenary group who sneak into and hack different corporations that are fighting to be the best and most profitable one out there. This is where you come in, as you select a character to sneak into various corporate buildings and make your way past security while also hacking into their systems to deactivate alarms, access areas, and sometimes cause some good old fashioned industrial sabotage. The unique thing about Hacktag is that it plays like two games in one, as you have to control your character sneaking around the building using an asymmetrical view while avoiding security guards, their field of vision and making sure you’re not making noise by moving too fast, and you also take control of the hacker agent that’s assisting you with hacking puzzles and mini-games. This can pose a challenge for those playing solo, but if you have some friends over or can find some online, things get a bit easier as one controls the field agent and the other does the hacking which makes sure communication is key for successfully completing missions.
If one of you happens to get caught, the other player/character will be able to rescue the other, but it’s game over obviously if both of the characters are caught. There’s some nice variety in the missions from stealing data to hacking into e-mails, but in the end teamwork is key and this is where both the best and difficult parts of the game come in at. If you’re playing with someone, you’ll have to decide who is running in the field and who wants to be the hacker, with most people wanting to be the field agent. If cooperation and communication don’t go hand in hand with players, you can expect to have a really hard time playing this one, and even more so when going at it alone. At least things look and sound pretty good as the character design is awesome and the audio has all the right music and sounds to keep you on your toes as you hack and sneak your way to the top.
While it can be difficult playing solo or with random people you don’t know online, Hacktag can be a fun and thrilling experience when everything is going like it should. As long as you and other players are willing to cooperate and can communicate (a good headset and Discord is your friend for this online) effectively, there’s a tough but good time to be had that you’ll find yourself hacking into more times than not.