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Video Game / Hack 'N' Slash

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Hack 'N' Slash is a Puzzle Game (but not a Hack and Slash, despite stylistic resemblance) by Double Fine, in which a young woman and a red sprite (With default names Alice and Bob, respectively) attempt to overthrow the wizard who has corrupted the land. Alice's first (and primary) "weapon" in this quest is a sword that allows her to hack into the variables of various in-game objects.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alien Geometry: The Infinite Woods are the most obvious example, but the Library seems to exhibit this in a similar way.
  • Badass in Distress: The Princess The reason being, she was very quickly catching on to the Wizard's plans and learning his methods, and he needed to make sure she couldn't be a threat. And even then she manages to kickstart the events of the game.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The game makes sure that every named character is visually distinct , the one exception being justified as a literal 'copy' of another character.
  • Cheat Code: Averted. It's possible to do pretty much anything you would normally use a cheat code for through normal gameplay. For example, avoiding damage is not a major part of this game. This is because very early on you can get an insane amount of health by using an easily-obtainable artifact to reset the variable that says a one-time event in which you receive 10 HP has occurred, so you can do it again and again. This is not a glitch like it may sound, but rather something the player is expected to do.
  • Cloning Gambit: Florentine manages to put a stop to the wizards plans by duplicating her own code to create Alice. She knew that Alice would come and rescue her, because that's what she'd do.
  • Combinatorial Explosion: By manipulating code, you can do practically anything.
  • The Cracker: The Wizard uses the same powers as Alice, but for malevolent ends.
  • Cypher Language: The glyphs that you see whenever you use the hat or the opacity artifact are a simple substitution cypher. There is a puzzle later on that replaces the glyphs with proper letters, but there's nothing stopping you from decoding them yourself which is easy once you guess a few words such as "Alice", "Bob" or "Fireball".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alice and Eve, though Bob gets his moments occasionally.
  • Decoy Getaway: The first part of Alice's escape when imprisoned by the Wizard.
  • Formulaic Magic: The Game. Everything Alice can do involves programming, be it changing variables or outright meddling with the game's scripts.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • There's an In-Universe example: The Wizard weaponizes them, causing the game to crash at certain times.
    • There's also a straight example, and the situation makes it really nasty. Specifically, if you resolve the first fight with the wizard in the wrong way — by skipping straight to calling the victory function, which seems like an obvious solution — then when you encounter him again in that room, the game will hit a fatal bug and crash. Worse, it happens right as he says "the code must have a bug in it!", so it looks like it's an in-universe example. It isn't; while it's theoretically possible to find and fix the bug in question, doing so isn't something any player without significant experience in programming is likely to have a shot at, and it's not intentional. Thankfully, it can also be fixed by quitting and restarting the game.
  • Game Mod: An rare in-universe example, in that you solve puzzles by making minor modifications to the game's actual code. It also supports the traditional type of mods through Steam Workshop.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The library contains the source code to the entire game.
  • Hacking Minigame: You get to walk inside the bytecode for all functions in the game, being able to tweak things.
    • Unlike in most cases, behind the abstraction provided by the game (the algorithm rooms) there actually is real hacking going on—that code you're looking at is the actual code of the game.
  • Hearts Are Health. Health is called hearts.
  • Heart Symbols: Blue ones are used as your Life Meter, at the bottom left, depleting from right to left, until you have too many hearts to display, where the display turns into just a fractional representation of your Hit Points instead.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Alice is the protagonist's default name, but the player can input what they like. Changing it later is the intended solution to a puzzle.
  • Infinite 1-Ups / Meaningless Lives: Fairly early in the game there's a way to expand Alice's heart capacity as far as the player has patience for. Against late-game enemies and traps, her heart count is irrelevant, though. The Automaton sets the player's speed to 0, the Wizard deals infinite damage, and several traps just intentionally crash the game.
  • Interface Spoiler: You will stumble upon code meant for a later part of the game sooner or later.
  • In the Hood: Alice starts off with one. She uses it to complete a decoy as part of her escape, revealing a USB port in the back of her head.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here The final act takes place in the castle, in which you climb up to the top.
  • Large Ham: Christo just can't help but ham up every scene he's in.
  • Life Meter: Blue hearts are used to represent your number of Hit Points until you have too many, where it turns into a fractional representation of current health / maximum health.
  • The Maze: The Infinite Forest.
  • Meta: You can, and eventually will have to, hack parts of the hacking system itself.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Wizard-Bat.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Wizard isn't this at first, but takes his first defeat by Alice... poorly.
  • Playful Hacker: Alice herself probably fits, Isis definitely does.
  • Procedural Generation:
    • The algorithm rooms are generated on the fly for each function that you enter.
    • Likewise, the code file rooms are generated on the fly based on the contents of the file.
    • The library is generated from the directory tree of the game source code. It doesn't cover quite everything by default. You can change the root folder with an optional artifact.
  • Puzzle Reset: Messed with the code too much? Just use the amulet to reverse time. The game will even use it for you should you manage to break reality. (a.k.a. cause a runtime error)
  • Reality-Writing Book: The library holds books containing the source code to everything. That includes yourself. And the library.
  • Red Is Heroic: Alice. Red hair. Hero. It's all there.
  • Rewriting Reality: Alice's abilities are all variations of this, and the Wizard can do the same. Florentine can as well, although she's trapped in an encrypted room for most of the game.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The final boss takes place on part of the castle roof.
  • Save the Princess: The wizard banished her for one reason or another.
  • Save Scumming: While there aren't really any random occurrences that can be exploited through this method, autosaves are taken every time you change maps, even if you've visited the area before. Early on in the game you are given a magical amulet that enables "time travel", which is really just the ability to load old saves, shown as branching timelines.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: He ultimately traps himself in a book meant for you.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • An inevitable possibility in a game that lets you modify its code. But even before you get to that point, it's still possible at points.
    • For example, by a certain point the developers assume you have solved a puzzle which lets you understand the glyphs that appear when using the magic hat. The intended solution to the warden puzzle requires that you change your name using a mechanic that the player will only understand if the glyphs have been decoded. However, you can also get past the warden by hacking your own movement speed, as allowed by one of the artifacts, or by simply knowing from beforehand or online that you're supposed to enter and then change your name, as it still works even if you haven't decoded the glyphs. This can lead to some confusion when Alice demonstrates an ability to understand the text displayed by the magic hat later on, as it will still appear as glyphs to the player. Thankfully, however, the time-traveling amulet makes backtracking very easy.
    • Even before that, you can actually skip Act 3, as well as about half of Act 2, entirely. This of course means you won't get the magic hat at all, nor any of the other items in the dungeon (besides the sword, because you start with it.) All you need to do is remember or look up the correct path through the Infinite Woods, and go that way before you enter the dungeon. You can still go back to the dungeon later though, and bring the bombs with you to hack your way past obstacles in even more ways.
    • Possible invoked, as the game begins at Act 2 instead of Act 1, and all that really changes is the numbers of the acts.
  • Shout-Out: To a disassembler application, of all things: one character is named Ida, after IDA Pro. (which stands for Interactive Disassembler.)
  • Stealth Pun: Isis' cat is named Script. So that makes it a Script kitty. Badum-tss.
    • This is also possibly the reason the developers used the term "sprite" to refer to the fairy-like creatures.
    • We can't forget Halcyon, who is a 'game genie'. He even does the same task: editing the game memory.
  • Three Wishes: Upon finding the magic lamp, the genie Halcyon will give you three wishes. As the wishes are made by specifying one of the game's internal variables and something to change it to, it is also possible to wish for more wishes.
  • Unwinnable: It is possible to cause this in many, many ways. While sometimes it won't be obvious what caused it or how long ago you did it, the game autosaves frequently and keeps all previous saves, so it's not too bad.
  • Wishing for More Wishes: The game has, to say the least, a unique mechanic for making wishes. Fitting with the theme of the game, a wish is made by literally specifying one of the game's internal variables and something to set it to. While the game initially only gives you 3 wishes, the variable that stores how many wishes you have left is not immune to this mechanic.

Alternative Title(s): Hack And Slash