Platform Hack is an XBLIG title that weighs in at a paltry 80 MSP. The game features side-scrolling environments, upgrades, platforming and an RPG-like leveling system. Platform Hack seems like an absolute mess on the surface, but offers the promise of solid gamplay. Does this simple little title have what it takes to stand up to the high standards of an Armless Octopus review? Let’s find out shall we!
Let’s get through the un-pleasantries first. This game is ugly… really ugly. Here at AO we realize that indie games are held to a different standard and usually try to take that into account. In the case of Platform Hack, however, that threshold is quickly reached and surpassed. It’s important to note that even though the art is less than stellar, it’s functional. You can always tell where your character is and where the enemies are so the issue thankfully never really hinders the gameplay.
Perhaps the biggest mark against Platform Hack is that the game lacks overall production value. The game really feels like it could have benefitted from a few more months of development time to polish up its presentation. The story is cheeky and summons the occasional chuckle but ultimately is unnecessary. The upgrade system is another point of contention as the fact you even CAN upgrade is not clearly communicated to the player. The bigger issue with upgrades is that you can easily prevent yourself from progressing through the game by putting your upgrade points into the “wrong” skills.
In Platform Hack’s favor though, it’s actually really nice to see a leveling system in a side-scrolling action platformer. It breathes life into what otherwise might be a stark and simple game. That being said, there are a few more problems with the upgrades worth mentioning. There is a wall jump ability that becomes FAR more frustrating than it is helpful as it frequently activates when you don’t want it to. There is also an issue regarding the gun that the player receives early in the game. This gun can be upgraded, with minimal effort, making it very overpowered very early in the game. If Cthulhu used a gun, it would be this one.
Alright, now that all the bitching is out of the way; this is a worthwhile game. While there are a lot of problems holding this game back, the basic design mechanics are rock solid. The jumping works, the fighting is enjoyable and the levels, while lacking in imagination, are easy to navigate. There is some real fun to be had with this title, but you have to know where to look.
There are a lot of things holding Platform Hack back from being a great game. That being said, for 80 MSP this is a title worth purchasing or at least worthy of downloading the demo. Just don’t expect the game to be winning any beauty contests. Download the game, enjoy it and keep your fingers cross for an improved sequel.
Platform Hack was provided for review by Daydalus Studios. It is available for $1 on The Xbox Live Marketplace.