Hash


DanTheArcher HashThe level starts. You maneuver a little to the left, a little to the right, just to get a bearing on how strong your gas jets are. Perfect. Without so much as batting an eye, you fly off the starting platform and hover through a tunnel coated in remorseless spikes, top and bottom. Weaving between mines in the air that detonate but a hair's breadth from your back, you eventually come face to face with a lightning fence that activates every few seconds. Waiting patiently for the electricity to dissipate, you know full well that a little too much gas or not quite enough will result in you becoming a permanent part of the decor. Is this "Extreme Jumpjet Fighter 4," you might ask? No, this is Hash, the latest arcade-style dodgefest from Ali Maunder's Alternative Indie Games.

Your character, the titular hash mark, moves around the levels via gas jets that are activated with the [arrow] keys. Either [Esc] or the [P] key will pause your game. Every level is populated by a number of glistening dots, which bolster your score should you collect them. Of course, as the levels progress, some of those dots will be tucked inside tight rings of mines, or in enemy-infested territory, or even within grids of those nasty, aforementioned lightning fences. Whenever you've picked up enough dots or just plain had enough, touching down on the glowing diamond in every level finishes your stay.

Analysis: The game's minimalist graphics work well, especially when coupled with the old-fashioned arcade objectives and the lively music, which sounds like an 8-bit tune being hammered out by the guy who plays "The Entertainer" in Western saloons. There's a frenzied energy that powers the whole game, from the jittery main menu to the ever-shifting background colors. It's constantly urging you to move, to react, to blast right through that next obstacle with a smile on your face. Unfortunately, blasting through that next obstacle isn't always that simple.

It's certainly modeled after arcade games of yore, which means the difficulty level is scaled accordingly. Most of the early levels aren't too tough, but just you wait until Level 18. I promise that after Level 18, though, things get easier again (for a while, anyway). There's a sharp discrepancy in challenge between the player just going for the exit in every level, and the player painstakingly trying to collect every dot. Sometimes, it just plunks the exit down, virtually in front of you, and you can either hop right on through or attempt an agonizing roller-coaster of dexterity trying to get all those dots, nestled comfortably in a jungle-gym of game-restarting spikes. So, it all boils down to how hardcore you are about getting the high scores. It might have been nice to offer some other reward for the earnest player, but if this is the kind of game that really revs your jumpjets, then the visceral satisfaction of the high score is probably all the reward you need.

Play Hash

10 Comments

The lights! The sounds! The pixels! Oh my god it's awesome!

This reminds me of something that could have been on the commodore 64... I can't get enough of it!

Thanks for another great review :). I'm looking forward to reading what everyone thinks.

I imagine there's something I'm missing here, but is it meant to be this hard to control?

Sometimes the little hash guy will just suddenly zoom off into orbit for no particular reason, and other times he doesn't respond at all.

My computer is a bit useless, so that might be why, but I didn't want to write the game off right away in case this terrible lack of control is, like, a design feature.

Great music though!

A truly great game! My favorite casual game in a while actually. Simple concept that isn't that unique, but very smooth gameplay and graphics. Really had fun playing it. Also, the background pattern looked suspiciously like the "Game of Life" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life), but maybe it was just random.

Woah, where can I download that music?
After a while, I stopped trying to get all of the diamonds/pieces of seizure energy because, well, there were spike walls. Lots of spike walls.

Fun game, until level 18. Extreme tapping of the keys is needed to pass.

Am I the only one who gets a flashing blue alillm logo? I assume this is some sort of loading screen, but it's taking forever.

The mines caught me off guard, that was a loud beeping sound

Now that's what I call fast-paced! There are levels where the jets keep going all the way through. For some reason, I didn't find Level 18 all that hard: in fact, I passed it on my first try! Level 14, on the other hand, made me give up the perfect score.

very reminiscent of JOUST. but not as good

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