If you have a special someone in your life, today would be a good day to engage in some… activities together. And if you don’t, you could try finding someone on the internet – or even do it on your own, but that’s not quite as satisfying. After all, breaking into highly secure facilites and stealing data to bring down huge corporations is best enjoyed à deux, right? In other words, it’s a good day to play some Hacktag, the co-op two player stealth game which has just snuck out of Early Access.
With one player taking over the role of hacker and the other player acting as “stealth agent” in the field, Hacktag’s gameplay feels somewhat asynchronous. The stealth agent gets to do all that nifty sneaking around in the field, avoiding guards and directly accessing terminals.
The hacker, on the other hand, is manipulating cyberspace, opening doors, setting off phones to distract guards, or brewing some coffee for the stealth agent. Damn you, internet of things!
Most importantly, you’re doomed to fail if you don’t cooperate. If you try to do everything alone, you’ll be stopped by a locked door or some nasty antivirus within seconds. Hacktag’s challenging levels are built in a way that utilizes both players’ talents, and you can bust each other out if one of you gets caught.
There is quite an intricate story to uncover, but even the procedurally generated missions you’ll be taking on inbetween story missions can feel pretty exciting. They supply you with experience which unlocks new skills, as well as cosmetic items which let you dress up your anthropomorphic animal agents some more.
This is elegantly handled and a whole lot of fun – especially when you’re able to directly communicate with your co-op partner. You can also try to play this alone, switching between your characters at the press of the button, but that is incredibly stressful and requires some degree of mastery that I clearly do not possess. Besides, it’s always more fun to commit crimes together!