The Glitch Witch is gone and she needs a favor. With a computer filled with many secrets, the well-known manipulator for the “fabric of the modern world” needs an apprentice. Can you fill in for her and navigate through the landmines inside her digital world?
In the recently released Beglitched by Hexecutable, you play as an apprentice hacker. Tasked with filling in for the Glitch Witch while she’s away, you maneuver through a network of computers brimming with items, enemy hackers, and countless secrets. Described as a mixture between Minesweeper and JRPGs, this portion of the game puts your deduction skills to the test as you try to access deeper levels by decoding symbols, collecting treasures, and avoiding enemies.
But there’s another side to this game. Faced with unavoidable hackers (represented by adorably cute bouncing creatures), you’re dropped into a tile-based hacker battle. Echoing the hidden “battle-grid” of Battleship along with the match-3 mechanics of games like Bejeweled, your role is to eject the enemy hacker out of the computer network.
To do this, you must find them first as they are hiding underneath the game tiles. To help you figure it out, there are certain game tiles (i.e. compass and computer tiles) providing hints on where the enemy is located. Be careful though, with limited health and moves, if you take too many hits from the enemy (since they too can attack), you might be the one ejected from the network.
Bucking the trend of the usual gloomy world of hacking-themed games, Beglitched unleashes a bubblegum-colored universe that makes hacking a fun, silly, and magical adventure. But don’t be fooled by the game’s cuteness. Underneath that adorable exterior lies an unforgiving puzzle game that grows increasingly challenging as you go deeper within its levels.
Created by AP Thomson and Jenny Jiao Hsia (the duo behind Hexecutable), the game’s early origins date back to 2014 during a Ludum Dare game jam. Initially a solo project by Thomson, the first prototype (then called Deepweb) looked like a stereotypical hacking game with a color palette reminiscent of terminal screens. However, with Hsia joining the project in 2015, the game was overhauled and revitalized with its now signature playful aesthetic.
“Originally, the aesthetic of the game was inspired by traditional cyberpunk stuff,” said Thomson in an interview with Gamasutra, “but when Jenny showed me a Tumblr she’d put together of computer stuff rendered in cute pastels, I was immediately hooked on the idea of a cyberpunk that wasn’t dark, green, and gritty.”
While some have criticized the game’s puzzle system as “overwhelming”, Beglitched’s “cyberpink” aesthetic remains the true standout of the game drawing praise from publications like Zam who saw the “cotton-candy sparkles” as refreshing and Rock Paper Shotgun calling the game as having “cuteness and puzzles in droves.”
A week after its release, Beglitched appears to have charmed players as well with an overall positive score on Steam with players lauding the game for its colorful visuals as well as its challenging but satisfying puzzles.