There are 2 things to get out of the way up front when talking about Hakkenkast. 

First, what a cracking title, Ronseal-like in its accuracy. You Hakk with your sword, and you Kast your spells. It's got all those Ks, for the full 80's Dio album cover aesthetic. Top work. 

Second, you gotta pay for it. No Pay-What-You-Want option here, Minilop want to get paid for their efforts. Not a lot, just £3, which could be anywhere from $5 to 50c depending on how many Prime Ministers the UK has had this week. On one hand, this will of course reduce the target audience to a niche within a niche, but on the other it does mean that this review can be as harsh as I'd like. As a reviewer judging free hobbyist games it's hard to be mean - everyone's doing their best, and no-one's making any money and we're all on the same side. There's nothing quite as much fun as an enthusiastically negative review, and now that there's money involved, the gloves are OFF!

Bad news then : Hakkenkast is pretty darn good.

In proper GM-forgot-to-prepare-a-story mode, the plot features a warrior mage hero by the nominatively-deterministic name of Hakkenkast, who has to to find 4 spellbooks in 4 dungeons. So off he goes, whistling all the way. 

Goblins, minecarts and a treasure chest. What could go wrong?

It's a top-down arcade adventure, like a slower paced Gauntlet. Controls are standard, with redefinable keys, but limited by the Spectrum's greatest weakness - only a single fire button. As a result, your sword swings are responsive to a single press, but to cast a spell you need to hold fire down for a moment - which can seem like a long moment when you're trying to keep a horde of skelingtons at bay. You then pick a spell from the menu, and there's another pause as Mr/Ms. H. says the magic words or whatever. Spell casting is also limited by your Mana levels, so you'll be doing most of your work with your strong right arm. And strong it is - a single sweep will knock back every bad guy in range.

As for the bad guys, there are  2 types per dungeon, plus various swinging axes, spikes and other environmental traps. In a nice touch, the normally slow-moving enemies will get propelled forward at high speed when they wander into the path of a swinging buzzsaw or axe, which can upset your plans in a big way. Individually, even a lowly zombie can ruin your day - if they get fully on top of you, you won't be able to defend yourself at all, and a controlled situation can turn in to a cascading death very quickly. This may well be frustrating at first, but once you know what to watch for, it's a manageable threat. 

Locked doors bar your progress as you move through the maze, but you'll get keys from clearing out rooms and from treasure chests, which may also drop healing and mana potions, armour and sword buffs to make your Hakken steadily more effective. You'll do a certain amount of backtracking as you explore, but it's never too much - and you might even enjoy drawing a map, if you like that kind of thing. If you do complete a dungeon and make your escape with a spellbook, you'll get a code that allows you to carry progress across to the next - each loads separately. 

Graphically, it looks great with simple but clear animations, and there is a suitably heroic tune playing throughout, on 128k machines at least. 

With 4 increasingly tricky dungeons, this is worth £3 of anyone's money, and more importantly, their time.

You can get it at https://minilop.itch.io/hakkenkast, so off you go, whistling all the way. 




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