The randomly-generated protagonist of Hatched Games' new semi-roguelike semi-RPG Hack Slash Crawl, is an engine: a perfect monster killing machine. All this machine can do is hack, slash and dungeon-crawl. But when you do only three things, you have to think that you should be able to do them well. Likewise, while Hack Slash Crawl is kind of shallow, and could stand some polish, it makes for a fun little click-fest.
Gameplay is simple: After selecting attributes on the fun character-creation screen, you move around the dungeon, using the mouse to click where you want to go. When you spot an enemy that needs thrashing, click on him to automatically start whaling on each other with your weapons. There are also spells to be used, either with the mouse by hitting the appropriate 1-9 [number] key and selecting the target area. Defeating enemies grants you XP, as well as various armor pieces and weapons equippable with a click of the inventory screen. You also collect mana pearls, though they don't seem to do anything besides acting as a score system. Health is regained by staying still and waiting... something hard to do with a monster on your tail. Usually a boss-baddie can be found near the opening to the next floor. After your sudden-but-inevitable death you will unlock a character title (think, "The Mighty" or, "The Cursed") to add on with a stat-boost to your next character. Gotta catch 'em all!
I have a feeling that Hack Slash Crawl may be a love-it-or-hate it kind of game. The lack of any real plot, or even a coherent goal beyond level-gaining, will turn many away. Even those who find the concept engagingly replayable will lament not being able to save a character from play to play. That said, the mechanics are easy to pick up (and indeed, might be good for young RPGers), the names and animations are amusing, and completionists like me will find it compelling to see the title board fill up with each play. Now, if you excuse me, Zullukerf the Deadly Werewolf Juggernaut has to go teach Gibud the Diabolical a lesson in what happens when sword meets tentacle.