Hacktag

Game review by
Marcia Morgan, Common Sense Media
Hacktag Game Poster Image
Co-op espionage game hindered by communication, bugs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Teamwork, communication very important to complete objectives, help each other succeed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Between stealth agent fresh out of jail and hacker recruited into network of hackers and thieves, neither character is a positive role model. Most missions revolve around stealing confidential data.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn, some mini-games; tasks could be explained better.

Violence

Players fail mission if they're unable to get out of jail. There's no fighting, weapons, violence. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hacktag is a downloadable game of stealth and espionage. Players team up in local or online co-op as a stealth agent or hacker to complete missions revolving around stealing confidential data. While teamwork and communication are positive skills required to succeed in missions, the characters aren't the best role models. Despite it being about hackers and thieves recruited to carry out illegal tasks for corporations, there's no violence in the game.

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What's it about?

In HACKTAG, players team up either online or locally and play as either a stealth agent or a hacker to carry out a variety of espionage missions. Three different corporations struggling for leadership have recruited your team to carry out their dirty jobs, which revolve around hacking into computers to steal confidential data. You'll turn off security cameras, distract security guards by setting off phones or coffee machines, and help your partner escape when that partner inevitably does get caught. You'll also level up to gain skills to aid your character on missions and online challenges as you work your way up the leaderboard.

Is it any good?

In today's technology-riddled world, we all know it's better to be the hacker than the one having all your sensitive information stolen. Hacktag gives players the chance to team up for some espionage as either a hacker or a stealth agent, helping infiltrate corporate offices. Teamwork is a huge aspect of this game. On the ground, the stealth agent helps the hacker access certain areas that require hands-on assistance. Some objects, such as locked doors, require physically typing in codes that you figure out as a team via a fun mini-game. As the hacker virtually helping out, you can brew a cup of coffee or make an office phone ring to distract patrolling guards long enough for the stealth agent to slip behind a closed door or piece of furniture undetected. While the missions are plentiful, with more maps being added steadily, the tasks are pretty redundant. This could get boring for some people, or could be perfect for those who love mastering maps as the difficulty ramps up.  

Hacktag is perfect for couch co-op with a friend, where you can discuss strategy, but this is where the online play falls short. With teamwork being such a huge aspect of this game, the two characters must rely on each other, making communication a priority. The fact that online play has no chat system outside of four generic comments (e.g., "Well Done," "Help Me") makes it difficult to complete time-sensitive aspects of missions. This is where some sort of online voice communication would be a great addition, especially for goals that require precise timing, like turning off security cameras for a few seconds when a guard is out of range. The game also has a number of random bugs and glitches that can affect play. For example, some menus aren't fully fleshed out, the tutorial was inaccessible for weeks, and some doors that were required to fulfill some objectives would not open. Some of this is understandable because of the Early Access state of the game, meaning gamers can play while the developers are tweaking and updating these issues. Finally, and perhaps because the game is still looking for an audience, finding players online to team up with seems to be a major issue right now. But if you can deal with these hiccups and are interested in entering this fast-paced world of espionage, bring a friend along for the fun, at least until the online community expands,

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss the difference between ethical hacking and cybercrime. The characters in this game are stealing confidential data, which is a cybercrime, but can you think of some situations where hacking can be considered ethical or helpful?

  • Talk about the importance of teamwork and communication. In this game, you have to use good communication for your team to succeed; what other situations can you think of where the help of a friend or family member is needed?

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