Published on May 12th, 2014 | by JC Richardson2
Hack, Slash, Loot Review
Hack, Slash, Loot tries very hard to please, just in all the wrong ways. Let’s delve deeper and explore the problem in more depth…
HSL is a pretty typical rogue-alike in most respects. You choose a hero from the usual tank, ranged and magic classes, then you explore vast dungeons in the usual turn-based way. Nothing you haven’t seen before, except that a large chunk of the screen is taken up with a panel containing your character sheet, a mini map, a set of options buttons and a separate pane for examining objects that are in range. It’s way too cluttered and fiddly on a seven inch tablet, so god help those of you playing this on ‘phones. You can alternate between having the clutter at the top of your screen or the bottom, as preferred. There are permanent on-screen options for sounds on/off, grid on/off, zoom in/out, change clutter orientation, main menu and two different ‘examine’ buttons. Who needs to instantly change the floor from grid to plain repeatedly? What kind of obsessive-compulsive needs that option permanently to hand in a game?
Another problem crops up when you examine a piece of loot. If you can pick it up, it appears in the object pane, where you long-press on it to see what it is. Fine, except you can’t pick anything up without using it, so effectively there’s no inventory here. You find a scroll, get a vague description, pick it up and instantly use it – regardless of what it does or whether or not you need it right now. Crazy? Possibly. But not as crazy as a rogue-alike with no character progression. Your character never levels up – they just get gradual stat boosts from scrolls, and it’s highly unsatisfying.
The levels are huge, but don’t flow together in any way. You just choose your level at the start, clear it out then rinse and repeat with other similar looking levels. My experience of the Mask Of The Boy King stage was spending an hour wandering around killing the same three enemies, two of which were skeletons. The other was rats. Because there’s no way to carry and sell items, the place ended up looking like a badly-organised charity store, the floor littered with rejected articles and trinkets. It gets old very quickly when you killed your fiftieth rat and rejected yet another necklace of electrical resistance. You won’t need it for later – neither rats nor skeletons are electric.
Summary: Hack Slash Loot takes the best bits of the rogue genre and disregards them completely. There’s no sense of progression, the enemies are repetitive and dumb, and the lack of depth quickly results in boredom. Overpriced and disappointing.