PAX East Preview: Hacktag

Hacktag was dreamed up by a French husband-wife team. Their studio, Piece of Cake, is dedicated to co-op games exclusively. In Hacktag, two players join forces to hack into corporations. Partners must rely on each other, but they are also competing to nab the most data. The fast-paced action and tongue-in-cheek brand spoofs make for a gaming experience that is trés amusant. 

My husband and I played video games together on our 2nd date (Super Mario Bros. 3, to be exact), and it feels like we haven’t stopped playing together since. Gaming is part of our happy, nerdy life together. With a few exceptions (no one can deny my Catherine prowess), he is better at games than I am. We play competitive games, but sometimes I feel like the Susan Lucci of the couch. Luckily for me, we add new co-op games to our library whenever we can. In the past, we’ve enjoyed Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Overcooked. We recently finished Snipperclips. After trying the demo at PAX East, we’re both excited to team up to play Hacktag.

The 2017 PAX East Hacktag Booth.

Two anthropomorphic cat spies were available as playable characters in the demo, but there will be more to choose from in the full version. One player physically infiltrates the building, while the other hacks into the internal network. The player on the ground can move freely, but is at risk of being seen and held up by guards. The online hacker can enable/disable devices (such as alarms or locked doors), but can only move on a grid. Neither player can complete the level independently. If either player is caught, he or she must be rescued by the partner. If both players are confined at the same time, the mission is a failure.

Unlike the vast majority of stealth games, Hacktag has no guns, bombs, or bodies to hide behind file cabinets. The developers felt it was important to leave violence out of their game. It’s a noble effort in what is often a blood-splattered form of media, and I didn’t miss the combat element at all. Hacktag is a true stealth game, not an, “Oops, that guy saw me, and now he must die” game. As a result, it’s important as a player to be constantly aware of your surroundings as well as your partner’s. 

The full version of the game will have additional features that were not available in the demo, such as character customization, upgradeable skills, and online play. Hacktag was greenlit on Steam in March 2017 . There is no release date yet, but the members of Piece of Cake we spoke to are aiming to release this year. Personally, I can’t wait to get my paws on a copy.

For more information on Hacktag, be sure to check out Piece of Cake Studios website here and the Hacktag website here.