Co-op games don't just rely on 2 players – it's as good as the surrounding game can make for them. Helping each other is fine, but if controls are bad, it doesn't matter how awesome it is working together, you're still not going to win no matter what you do. Hacktag proves, despite a bunch of good ideas, a game only goes far as how much was put into it.
You are in a world of animal people (think Zootopia but more human), and you and your partner need to sneak in to certain places to steal/take/hack certain things. There's....really not much to it than that. You get mission briefings and everything, but in terms of plot, it never goes outside the bonds of “Steal this thing, don't get caught.”. It's a fun story, but thin and repetitive.
The controls were a bit weird. It was kinda like a Postal 2/Fallout 2 type situation looking out at a 45 degree angle, so you think controls would be fine. For those sneaking, some of the controls didn't make much sense, like certain options around rooms, and it hindered you. It was worse for hackers – going in computers with a myriad of non-uniform options also hindered things. It took awhile to get used to, and even then it always took some effort to use effectively – and it wasn't a skill thing. It was honestly hard to figure out how to get on with the mission.
Gameplay is divided between two of the animal characters – a hacker and the spy on the ground. The hacker goes through computers, and you need to work with them to get around. And the spy moves about, getting help from the hacker to get through. Essentially one of you is Tom Holland Spider-Man, and the other is computer chair guy Ned. That part is fine. It's just very repetitive. Once you know the challenges and know how people like the Rhino guards react, it's playing the same thing over and over again. Needing to work with a real live person as your partner adds a bit of a movie-quality to it, and is fun, but it doesn't change the fact that, besides layouts and new guards, it's the same thing each time.
Hacktag's graphics are what I would call adequate. The animal characters are unique, and I appreciate the different color palettes for hacker and spy. But offices look almost exactly the same, there's a LOT of copy/paste going on and animations can be jerky at times. Watching guards walk around made it look like they were on a tiny lag. I mean, the things themselves were pretty impressively decorated, but based on the colors and designs, they went a bit more for style over quality.
The music was typical spy music – think early James Bond mixed with Mad Men orchestrals and Get Smart. It was actually quite enjoyable, with some of the flute parts bringing me back to days of sneaking around in Nightfire. When you were caught, then it gets action-y. It goes from soft Bond to all-in Bourne/Matrix. Not a bad thing, and I'm glad to see it's a whole mix of spy pools for a unique yet familiar sound. Sound itself is pretty basic – think about what noises are like in similar games and you got it. Over all, above average.
The frame rate was a little weird at time. It seemed to be running with no trouble, but it also seemed seconds behind, with characters being a bit jerky. Just a smidge off. AI was also a little bonkers, either not seeing me in plain sight, or spotting me despite being hidden at random points.
Overall, Hacktag has some good notes, but overall there seems to be better games out there than what it is. There are better stealth and better 'hacking' games for sure, and even with co-op play, it often doesn't gel because of a little hindrance somewhere. I did like some of the game, and if you're patient, this is a pretty fun game. But it's not the best. I saw a lot of typos in the game, and it should have been a little red flag – lots of good ideas, but you can see the problems.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.