Unhack
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Team up with your AI partner, Weedy, and take on the 5K Worm that is rampaging across cyberspace. Unhack is a short, but the unique blend of visual novel and puzzle game that features an interesting story and great voice acting. Although it only features ten levels that can be completed in an hour if you are good, it is definitely fun while it lasts and worth trying out if you can find it for cheap.

Gameplay: Short, but sweet.

Graphics: Not the best, but serviceable enough.

Sound: The soundtrack is good and so is the voice acting

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Unhack

Developer: InvertMouse | Publisher: InvertMouse | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Puzzle | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Unhack drops you in the shoes of a brilliant unhacker who works for a firm called Smash Security. Along with your AI companion, Weedy, makes cyberspace a safer place. Unfortunately, a new virus known as the 5K Worm, is infecting machines across the world and it seems like nobody is able to stop it. Acting upon instructions from Weedy, the unhacker enters the systems of ACME Antivirus, and this is where things become really interesting.

There isn’t a whole lot more that we can reveal about the story as Unhack is a very short game, but manages to pack quite a few twists and turns in its ten levels. The focus of the game is stopping the 5K Worm, but along the way you’ll encounter some new characters that will either help you or try and hinder you in your quest. As for the actual game, it is an interesting cross between a visual novel and a puzzle game. The visual novel side of things is kinetic, so you are not given any choices and there is only one path through the story that leads to a single ending. Fortunately the puzzle side of the game is a little more interactive and, depending on the difficulty level that you choose, can actually pose a challenge.

Each level in the game basically consists of a number of mazes that you have to navigate in the form of a glowing square. Your square can only move in four different directions and you can only move from one node in the maze to an adjacent one. The levels are all pretty straightforward, so the real challenge comes from the obstacles in your path. These start out simple enough as you grab keys to open doors, but eventually you will have to deal with lasers, teleporters, traps and even the 5K Worm. All of the obstacles tend to be lethal, but on the default setting you have unlimited lives, so this isn’t much of an issue. Bump things up a bit though, and your lives become limited, which means you can’t afford to be too reckless. No matter what difficulty you choose, each maze also features a couple of special nodes with flags, which serve as respawn points if you reach them.

Despite the very simple gameplay, Unhack actually manages to be a lot of fun and each level introduces some type of new gameplay mechanic. Overcoming most obstacles tend to be a matter of timing, but you’ll also encounter the occasional level where you have to defend cores from the 5K Worm or defeat bosses. Since your glowing square doesn’t have any means to directly attack or defend itself, you mostly need to focus on avoidance and reaching certain switches that can trigger attacks.

Visually, there’s not much to say about Unhack, apart from that the graphics are basic, but decent. The puzzle sections are just flat, 2D mazes that consist of white lines and colorful icons. The visual novel segments fare slightly better as all of the artificial intelligences in the game are represented by cute anime girls. They have a wide range of expressions and also tend to be present on the screen during the puzzle segments. Unfortunately, Unhack doesn’t have any type of widescreen support, so you are stuck with large black bars on the side of the screen. This could have been avoided by playing in windowed mode, but unfortunately the game doesn’t support this feature either. In fact, the only options that the game offers is for adjusting the audio or turning emoticons on and off.

While the visuals could definitely have been better, we don’t have any qualms with the audio for Unhack. The game features a nice soundtrack by Matt Hamm from Brainfed and owners of the game can even download it for free from Steam. In addition, all of the girls in the game are fully voiced by very talented voice actresses. Xanthe Huynh, who voices Weedy, along with Skyler Davenport, Aimee Smith and the rest all do a great job with their characters and help to draw players into the game. Along with the visual novel sections between levels, the girls will also sometimes talk to you while you are playing, which can be a bit annoying as it is easy to accidentally skip their dialog by moving past the node that triggers it. At least it is easy enough to go back and see what was said if you missed it the first time.

The controls for Unhack are as simple as the game and all you need to do is press the WASD keys or numeric keypad to move in one of the four directions. Strangely enough, the arrow keys are not supported, which could be a nuisance for some players, but at least the mouse can also be used to move by clicking on the different nodes. The save system for Unhack is not the most intuitive that we have seen, but since the game is short enough that it can be completed in a single sitting, this can be overlooked.

Unhack isn’t the longest or most challenging game on the market, but it makes up for it with interesting characters and a fascinating storyline. The actual gameplay isn’t bad either and making your way through the mazes is quite addictive. The voice acting is definitely the highlight of the game and helps to make the characters more endearing. We would have liked to see more than just ten levels that can be completed in less than an hour, but the game doesn’t waste any time when it comes to the story. Although Unhack is not going to be something that you play extensively or keep coming back to, it is a nice enough game to kick back and relax with if you are in the mood for something short and sweet.

System Requirements

  • OS: XP or above
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 960
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: OS X 10.6
  • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 960
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Storage: 200 MB available space

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