Review: Hack Grid – A Mind-Twisting Retro Puzzle Game

Review: Hack Grid

Developed by Daisy Games, Hack Grid is a unique puzzle game that will remind you of the early years of DOS gaming with its unique UI and Sound Blaster 16 soundtrack. Coupled with simple gameplay mechanics and a visual style that is really pleasing to the eyes. I was a little too confident when I started playing Hack Grid however the game quickly teaches you not to take it lightly because some of the puzzles in the game are really tough. This is our review of Hack Grid in which we move some tiles and solve some cool puzzles with a retro UI.

Hack Grid has two main playing modes. One is the normal puzzle mode where you can take your time and solve the levels. There are 60 levels and as you progress in the game, the levels start to get more difficult. Each level is more difficult than the previous one and after a certain progression, you are introduced to new puzzle mechanics that drastically change how you have been solving the puzzles so far. The second mode is the Speedrun mode which further toughens the game up however it is completely optional and if you do not care about times and speedruns, you can easily ignore this mode.

Review: Hack Grid

In the Speedrun mode, there are no save points in the game, and you have to play through all levels in the same sitting. An in-game timer keeps a record of your speedrun, and this timer includes all-time including your restarts and the levels switch to the next one instantly without any delay in the middle to keep the consistency of the time. This gives you very little time to quickly adjust to the new puzzle and start solving it. At the end of the run, it will give you a cumulative time of your entire playthrough. Playing the original mode before the Speedrun mode helps in this mode immensely.

The gameplay of Hack Grid is really simple however there are a few mechanics that you need to learn in the game. To play the game, you have to move colored tiles around a level. The colored tiles can only be moved to another tile of another tile and you cannot move a tile over another tile of a similar color. Also, the movement is only allowed on tiles. You cannot move on spaces that are empty and do not have a tile. To solve puzzles, you are presented with multiple numbers of tiles and as you progress, you unlock more tiles in the game that come with their own unique rules.

Certain tiles cannot be moved around the level and some of the tiles can be moved around freely wherever you want. Some of the tiles come with advanced rules as well. These include tiles that cannot be moved freely and must be broken by hitting them with tiles of the correct colors and some tiles that change color when you move them over certain colored tiles. Each of the tiles in the game has a unique color and its own set of rules and you must move them around by dragging with the mouse. You win when you have only one color on the level so you need to follow all the rules and remove all other tiles from the level.

One of the most notable features of Hack Grid is probably its UI that looks simple enough and really captures the vibe of the early DOS games where you had the actual game screen in the middle with multiple text-based boxes on the sides and icons representing various game mechanics. In Hack Grid, you have the details panel on the left side of the puzzle where you can see what are the rules for each of the tiles that you have selected in the game while on the left side, you have icons for opening the menu or skipping the level and also setting the soundtrack of the game. In the middle, you have your puzzle and no matter how big the puzzle becomes, the UI of the game remains pretty much the same.

Review: Hack Grid

Hack Grid also features a brilliant retro soundtrack that closely matches the sound produced by the early Sound Blaster 16 sounds. The soundtrack plays an important role in the game as it keeps playing in the background immersing you in the game. Since there is not much happening in the game, the in-game sounds are also next to a minimum, so the soundtrack is important and plays it role to keep you in the zone for solving the puzzles. The ability to set a custom playlist also is a great mechanic and you do not have to go back to the main menu to do so as well making it even better.

Overall, Hack Grid is a brilliant puzzle game. It takes its inspiration from the early DOS games, features pretty much the same UI with minimal gameplay mechanics and a decent soundtrack. As far as I can remember, I just had to download around 60MB for the game, and for that, it gave me around 60 levels of increasingly difficult puzzles, a Speedrun mode if I want to see how good I am with the game and an awesome CRT display filter to jump back to the DOS era. Hack Grid ticks all the boxes of a great puzzle game and should be in the library of every puzzle game lover.

Final Verdict:

Hack Grid might look like a simple game with little mechanics to play around with however the puzzles it offers will have you scratching your head for a decent amount of time. For its small size, the developer has surely managed to include a decent number of unique puzzles, brilliant retro visuals, and an amazing soundtrack that keeps you in the mood. Everything from the visuals, to the soundtrack and the gameplay, blends together really well to deliver a solid puzzle-solving experience. While I still have to complete all of the puzzles in the game, I can easily recommend Hack Grid to puzzle lovers as this offers some really tricky ones to solve.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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