Hacky Zack

Hacky Zack (Switch) Review

Game: Hacky Zack
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Spaceboy Games
Publisher: Digerati
Age Rating: 3+ (UK & EU) | E (US)
Price: £8.99 | €9,99 | $9.99
Release Date: 28th August 2018
(The game is also available on Steam)

Overall Feeling: I like it!

Review code kindly provided by Digerati.

Time to kick a ball around and into a goal! Simple enough right? Nope! Not when there are doors and walls in the way, environmental hazards to avoid and plenty of gaps for you to fall to your doom; precision is key for success!


Hacky Zack is a game like no other; a platform game where the puzzle aspect is kicking a ball around and into a goal. To make it even more fun you get to perform stunts; scale up walls, do double jumps and pretty much look awesome in the process of kicking around the ball. Overall; Hacky Zack is very much about precision, timing and skill to overcome the puzzling levels – good reaction skills come in handy too! 

The game has over 100 levels, along with optional unlockables, two different game modes and even a local multiplayer option.

Throughout the game: there are doors to open by hitting switches with the ball (must be quick as they do close again). Hazards that will destroy a ball (and you) on impact. Platforms the ball can bounce on but you fall through (you can double jump – which comes in handy).

The main challenge is maneuvering around walls and platforms with the ball; some levels require leaping off walls to kick the ball up onto a high platform (timing is crucial). Certain levels have a different type of ball; adding more variety to the game play and throwing in another challenge for you to tackle.

Goal mode is about kicking a ball into a goal; sounds straight forward, but the location of the goal, the obstacles in the way,etc make it challenging. Once you unlock a world, you are able to play any level in that world; if stuck on a level you can hop out then re-enter Goal mode and select one of the other levels. It’s a good aspect for the game to have; allows you to try out other puzzles if you are having trouble with one.

There are stickers to collect in Goal mode (if you want to) and majority are not easy to obtain – a good test of skill! Collecting stickers unlocks new Target mode levels as well as new characters  (you start off with only Zack and Mym). The unlockables give the player an incentive to collect the stickers, while also adding more length, variety and even replay value to the game (if you like unlocking goodies that is).


Target mode has you kicking the ball at diamonds as fast as you can. A timer counts how long you are taking to complete the level and the faster you get all the diamonds; the higher rank you are given (3 stars being the highest rank). Target mode is good if you like challenging yourself in time trials, or like to see if you can beat a friend’s time. There are no online leaderboards though – so if you want to compete against friends; you will have to talk to them (oh the horror 😛 ) or play along aside one another.

Hacky Zack doesn’t offer any training/tutorial, or any tips, guides or anything that would help the player in knowing how to proceed with a level. It is a very trial and error based game and will result in many failures – no hand holding, just throw you in and let you fend for yourself (much like a lot of retro games). There are video walkthroughs online, but I find discussing with friends and showing one another how to complete a level and get stickers; is far more fun. 😀

Alternatively, if unable to finish a level by yourself; playing local multiplayer can make it easier. If one player dies, the level doesn’t restart like it does on single player; very useful, especially when trying to get those stickers in tricky places –  as long as one survives and kicks the ball into the goal; victory! 😀

Graphics, Designs & Soundtrack

Hacky Zack has a cute and colourful, pixel graphic style. It is nicely designed; cute characters with interesting backgrounds and level designs, with just enough detail to make all aspects recognisable (even while darting around with a ball).

The soundtrack is great to listen to. The tracks have a really nice balance of calmness and a rather mystical/other worldly sound, but also has a nice beat and energy to keep it interesting and engaging. Players are likely to fail at levels a lot and the soundtrack helps ease the frustration a player may feel when failing again and again.


Additional Comments

When playing the first level of a world, you are greeted by a single word. For example: world 1 = “Isolation” while world 2 = “Denial”. They just seem like titles for the worlds, but I certainly found the reasoning behind them intriguing, as they are quite serious sounding while the game is rather cute and colourful.

Hacky Zack is (currently) priced at £6.99 on Steam but it does not have multiplayer or the portability that the Switch version has – so the £2 more for the Switch version is brilliant I think.

You can purchase the games soundtrack via Steam or Bandcamp, and the composer Vincent Rubinetti currently has it uploaded to youtube. If you want to listen to Hacky Zack’s soundtrack, I have added it below – it’s great to listen to, even when you aren’t playing the game.

Overall Opinion

I like to say Hacky Zack is an acquired taste; a rather unique and challenging game with an unusual mix of gaming aspects. It offers no training or help at all; which makes playing it more difficult than perhaps it should be. However, once you do get into the game and get to grips with it enough; it is still difficult (lol), but a lot of fun! 😀

There is a charm that the game has; it may not be picked up on straight away (and not by everyone),  but it is cute (and a little weird at times), with a great soundtrack that adds to the enjoyment of the game.  The difficulty can be a little frustrating at times, but it’s great for pick up and play; so you can pace yourself and have a breather when failure starts to become a bother.


Hacky Zack is challenging with a unique combination of gaming elements; it’s a puzzle game (but not in the traditional sense), a platformer (but the main objective is to get a ball into a goal), you kick a ball around and into a goal (but it certainly isn’t football (soccer) ) and you can perform stunts (but that isn’t what the game is about).

I will say this: Hacky Zack is an unusual mix, but it is surprisingly brilliant and charming in it’s own little way. If you want to try something a little different and want a challenging platform/puzzle game; give Hacky Zack a go! 😀

I like it

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