Digerati Indie Bundle
Switch version tested
Review code provided
With the Digerati Indie Bundle: INK & Hacky Zack for Nintendo Switch you get two indie games in one package, just at a slightly discounted price. Earlier in the year I favourably reviewed INK giving it an overall rating of 8/10, here are the highlights –
INK sets itself out as a fast-paced action, puzzle platformer with a difference, every level is initially invisible which is quite a daunting concept. Players take control of a square-shaped character, reminiscent in style of Thomas was Alone, who must splatter brightly coloured paint around each level before it can be seen. This is a really different take on the genre and the game mechanic works by hitting the jump for a second time causing a paint explosion. The fallout then hits previously hidden areas making them visible and giving a view on the escape route. INK is the world’s first splatformer… if you like. Although this is the core mechanic there are different ways in which you can reveal a level, as mentioned the key is the double jump but wall sliding or squishing an enemy additionally creates splashes and splodges. Even failing in this game is useful because when your character dies, and I did a number of times, you explode in a shower of colour again helping to paint the surrounding area. It certainly is a helpful technique in getting a greater field of view as the paint remains on each attempt, some levels I was that bad at it was like my brain purposely wanted me to kill myself in a bid to reveal the way.
I really got into INK but found it best played in short bursts as getting stuck on a level became super frustrating at times. I often knew what was required but had to keep practising to hit that perfectly timed jump sequence. The game mechanic and minimal art style can organically produce some pretty sights which will no doubt offer a variation on how each player views the game. My main gripe would be with the inability to record video as some of my greatest escapes and fails will never be shared, unless it can be added via an update… please! Overall INK is an enjoyable experience and comes highly recommended.
Now we shift our focus onto Hacky Zack, a game I am going into totally blind and probably would have completely skipped if not part of this bundle. You play as Zack in the ultimate game of Hack Sack, not just a clever name then! This is a physics-based puzzler that has you play through 100+ levels with the aim of each being to simply get the ball from its starting position to the end goal. Although this is a simple premise, as usual, there are a whole heap of obstacles perfectly placed to try and upset progress. Each level contains a collectable that unlocks a counterpart target mode stage. In target mode, you race against the clock to collect all of the items on a level for the best possible score. Often the best way for success is to indeed mimic a game of Hacky Sack and keep the ball moving in the air as to avoid any of the pitfalls.
Hacky Zack controls and feels responsive which is vital for the skill and precision required later in the game, the difficulty ramps up quickly. It is insanely difficult in places and some levels I had to retry over and over and over and over and over again. I often gave up only to return later and have another go. The game’s visuals are bright and simple with a cute pixel design, its a fun looking game but the backgrounds are by far the standout pieces on show. The in-game sounds and music are acceptable but ultimately forgettable. The game also allows the user to control Mym, the female counterpart of Zack, but this is purely a cosmetic change and doesn’t have an impact on the gameplay. Playing multiplayer I found enjoyable with the added bonus of being able to split the Joy-Cons but even with a friend the challenge was just as hard.
The Digerati Indie Bundle: INK & Hacky Zack is a good starting point if you are interested in both of the games because ultimately it saves you a little off the standard price. Out of the two INK is the far superior offering and Hacky Zack just didn’t do it for me. One of the biggest issues I had with the bundle is that once you have picked a game there doesn’t seem to be a way back to the main game selection menu other than quitting out completely. For me I would just stick with INK on its own, my score is based on my previous trail of thought and the bundle offers little in addition to help knock it up another notch.
Beard Score 8/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Nintendo Switch