|Publisher(s)||Fantendo Publishing Ltd.|
|June 24th, 2016|
| E10+ (ESRB)|
|Media Included||The V² optical disc|
|Available Input||The V² controller|
HACKED went through what's often referred to as development hell, having been started multiple times by Existence Software but ended up falling to bankruptcy, and therefore gave HACKED and its characters to TimeStrike to take charge of. TimeStrike tweaked on what was previously an RPG game into a simple, easier-to-approach title that actually requires critical thinking and problem solving in order to win, although comes with basic platforming abilities akin to ojumping.
Like with Metroid Prime, the player controls Jake in a 3D world with several different environments to explore, each created by the spreading mass of computer data as he searches for ways to defeat his self-created enemy, HAX. As he progresses through the game, he meets people and even extraterrestrials who were caught up in the wrath of it all, such as Autores and Beob respectively, whom often provide benefits for Jake in gameplay. Early on in the game, Jake gains abilities that allow him to surf the web and enhance his skills, to a point where he has a chance to end the corruption he accidentally begun.
It is currently unclear how HACKED will have a role in the Zaxinian Lifts, regardless of where or when it takes place.
The game's pace is at a rather slow speed, requiring that Jake solves puzzles and opens up pathways and obtains upgrades in order to progress forward. For every boss (referred to as a Keymaster) that is defeated, a new chapter of the game begins. As Jake goes, he also needs to battle off the malicious files that try to latch onto and attack him, such as Trojan Horses and generic computer viruses, and can be assisted by Autores who will follow behind him as a support fighter, although she can be controlled by a possible player 2.
The atmosphere is divided between the lines of reality and cyberspace. In the former, Jake has to rely on a knife in order to attack any enemies and has normal abilities, but can go towards "tears" in the real world that actually lead to other bits of cyberspace that HAX normally would block off. The enemies in the real world are much more dangerous and can kill Jake quickly if he isn't careful. Traveling to the real world is necessary at points as HAX blocks off some areas of the cyberspace with Firewalls, which can only be trespassed via the real world. Jake cannot use his data powers in the real world.
In cyberspace, Jake can create short pathways of data for him to walk or run across, or can transform himself into a computer file (alongside Autores when she is met) and travel along green data lines, which are often inactive and first require a switch to be triggered in order to be traveled across. On top of this, he can form a quick shield made out of computer data, which can temporarily block attacks if used just at the right times. Later abilities enable him to shatter the early-game obstacle known as Blocking Panes, Firewalls, and even destroy HAX's base defenses.
Jake can seek out Antivirus programs to help him, including famous ones like Avast! and MalwareBytes. When recruited, they will silently follow Jake, and will help him defeat enemies for a while, but will disappear when damaged enough. Some Antivirus programs have different effects, like Avast! will notify Jake on an enemy's weakness and McAfee has a fiery effect to its attacks. The Antivirus programs will not join Jake outside of cyberspace, but can pass through Firewalls and rejoin Jake when he enters completely different areas.
Jake has a "usage meter" for his data abilities, akin to Silver the Hedgehog's telekinetic meter from Sonic the Hedgehog (06). While this starts off short, it increases in amount as Jake collects upgrades for it. When Jake uses his data abilities like cyber paths, they drain, and if the usage meter is emptied, Jake cannot use his powers, meaning that he has to think carefully at times before doing actions. Once Jake gains more usage out of the meter, he can reach places that he couldn't before, which sometimes enables him to get to new areas of the story. The cooldown to using the meter again when it's emptied is about five seconds long, where it gets back to full charge.
Having been browsing online for games, Jake was surprised when he received a birthday gift...he uploaded the program to his computer, not thinking much of it, and ended up bringing apocalypse to the world by letting HAX free from his dimensions. It is unknown who gave Jake such a horrible gift, but as he was responsible for it, HAX took Jake into the cyberspace to kill him, although failed as he had forgotten that Jake cannot be defeated that way, and the teen got away...
Jake is intelligent and courageous, and can come off as affectionate towards others, but is often sarcastic and somewhat pessimistic, and can be described as anti-social. He is also fairly lazy and only does things when he really feels like it, but will rise to the call of adventure when he finds it necessary. It is pretty hard to hurt Jake emotion-wise, as he's essentially a champ of taking anything critical remarks that's been sent his direction. His more sadistic personality has slightly changed when he has entered the virtual world, which has exceeded his expectations, even for his wide imagination, although retains small bits of each personality while becoming more quiet and humble as the adventure continues.
Considered the deuteragonist of HACKED, Autores is one of a few people Jake met upon exploring the just-exposed virtual reality to him. She was originally a pirate working under Strike Maulers Inc. She lived a rough life that was fully about survival and endurance in the open seas, and was just brought to safety upon a "virtual tear" forming right where she was fighting a shark alone, the beast having died soon of a lack of water. However, when Jake came about, she joined him under the fact that "I really have no choice, don't I?"
Autores, like Jake, is courageous, but is considered brave and hard working unlike him. She tends to look down on others as most have not lived the rough life she has as a pirate, and initially doesn't like Jake at all having prematurely judged him by his attitude, although she opens up when Jake just barely saves her life from a terminal explosion. While Jake is often pretty chill about others criticizing him, Autores will not take it as silently and will often engage battle with others who have tossed words at her. When she suffers defeat, she tends to be silent for a while, disappointed by her loss, regardless if a fatal loss or not.
One of two final Fuzzfliers, Bob and his brother Boeb are the only survivors of an implied massacre by HAX that killed all of the twenty-five other Fuzzfliers, and joined Jake upon sight, thinking that he could save them from starvation, hoping that there would be a way to repopulate their ridiculously small population. As he travels with Jake, he goes from being extremely annoying to much more civilized, to the point where he copies Jake's sarcastic traits, although continues to help him.
One of two final Fuzzfliers, Boeb and his brother Bob just barely survived an apparent mass attack launched by HAX that killed what remained of their family, and they both joined Jake when he discovered their torn area. While he was initially annoying, he went from being that way to being more sophisticated, and became a pirate in training under the influence of Autores, and became hasty and annoyed when anything tried to get in his way. If Jake shoots him a dirty glare, he'd give one back immediately.
The main antagonist of the game, HAX was a "death present" sent to Jake on his birthday by an unknown identity, and ended up breaking the world slightly on release. A fourth-wall breaker that's also angry and infuriated with his status as a polygon with eyes along with shapes circuling around it, HAX has brought the area into his control, stopping all threats and putting them into his control, and now threatens Jake and his friends as his presence becomes extremely clear to everyone. He spends most of the game in hiding, but creates Firewalls to halt the progress of his team and is lazy and stays in his self-sustained base.
HACKED's boss battles generally lock the player within a small playing field, with a boss often awaiting at the center of it. Bosses have more health than enemies do and usually require a strategy to be beaten, such as hitting at a boss' weak points until it exposes its crucial one, in a similar way to Wario: Master of Disguise whereas Jake has to switch between abilities in able to hit the different parts of the bosses. The bosses are often large in size and can crush or take a lot of health out of Jake if they hit him.
Bosses often signify the end of chapters, and are often fought at the cores of worlds or at the very ends of them, whereas they await Jake to come. Before Jake can fight the bosses, he needs to collect five keys which he can use to pierce open a Firewall that blocks him off from accessing them. When the bosses are defeated, Jake gains a giant Key which will help him unlock the giant Firewall that HAX created to stop him and his friends from moving forward in order to defeat it.
The soundtrack was composed by Koji Kondo and Toru Minegishi, who were notable for their work on some of The Legend of Zelda games' soundtracks. Most of the themes in HACKED are either orchestral and atmospheric for the normal world, or techno and quick paced for the cyberspace atmosphere, and the ones that aren't are slow-paced, light metal themes against the game's boss battles. Depending on the time of day in HACKED's levels, the music either becomes louder and more upbeat for daylight, or quieter and more subtle for nighttime.