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Debugger 3.16: Hack’n’Run Early Access Review

Debugger 3.16: Hack’n’Run is a very unique game which stands out in the platformer genre.

Developer:  Spiderwork Games
Publisher: Spiderwork Games

Release Date: 20th June (Early Access)

Platforms: PC
Reviewed on: PC

 

Players take control of a debugger inside a video game which is being prepared for release. The aim of the game is to debug this fictional video game so it can be released. Naturally, doing this isn’t quite so simple.

There are a good number of video games available about hacking but this one seeks to do something very different. The game aims to teach players how to code through playing the game. Coding is the main feature in this game and players have a wide variety of commands at their disposal. More of these commands are collected and earned as the game progresses.

The commands range of leveling up abilities to manipulating the environment itself to progress through the game. It may sound a little complex but in reality, this is very simple and works brilliantly. Players must first access the coding panel in order to access the different commands and must manually type in lines of code. Each of the different commands can be accessed while typing lines of code which is perfect for players who aren’t too sure about coding. It lets players look back and forth easily while typing in code. This system is very useful for players with a limited knowledge about coding and allows anyone to play the game without become frustrated.

When the player gets the code wrong, it will flash red and highlight the wrong piece of code so players know what to correct. It’s  great to see a mechanic like this in the game as it’s very much needed for inexperienced coders.

Away from the coding, most of the game is focused around getting past screens filled with enemies to reach the boss room. Enemies are killed with a blast which takes time to recharge before the player can attack again. As a result, some of the early combat can be a little be strategic as the player must avoid touching the enemy also. However, this is a way to decrease the recharge time through the coding mechanics. To be able to perform this, the player must collect different items dropped by enemies when they die. While this is nice, it does result in the player backtracking through the levels quite a bit to collect enough upgrade points.

Boss battles in the game are quite engaging and require a fair amount of strategy. During the first boss battle, death has no real consequence. The player can die as many times as they like without being forced to start the battle over again. Dying will cause the ‘developer’ to come back and give the player full health once again so there’s no real need to increase health points during the early game. This is a little frustrating to see but at the same time, it’s very useful during boss fights as the enemy can deal massive damage per hit.

Debugger 2.16: Hack’n’Run is a unique and very promising game with a developer who is intent on improving the overall experience. They are currently holding a “bug finding contest” on Steam to stomp out all of the bugs in the game (not the enemies however). Anyone with a slight interest in coding should be able to appreciate this game and how simply it teaches coding to new players. It’s a great system when is worth checking out.

 

Pros

  • Teaches players about coding
  • Great use of coding mechanics
  • Entertaining boss fights
  • Nice art style

Cons

  • Simple plot
  • Lack of penalty on death
  • Waiting for the weapon recharge is a pain

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