If Wes Anderson made a hacking game…
I'm typically wary of any title that features any type of hacking or coding, as they tend to be monotonous, but I'm so very glad I didn't pass up on Quadrilateral Cowboy. This adventure centers around a group of three women in the 1980s as they take various jobs hacking and stealing information.
The jobs start simple enough, only requiring connecting your devices to ports and pressing open, before quickly adding in coding, controlling robots, and even jump pads that launch you across the air. You'll be hacking in apartments, skyscrapers, and even in space. No two levels feel alike, which kept the experience feeling fresh from start to finish, which took me about five hours total.
If you've ever played Blendo Games other adventure game, Thirty Flights of Loving, then you'll quickly recognize the same boxy yet attractive art style, and hip Wes Anderson-like characters and color schemes, only this time mixed with lots of hacking. The hacking is done somewhat realistically via using various programs on a portable computer such as telnet and even remote control robots, though calling it hacking is a stretch as it is bit closer to basic coding, though that isn't a bad thing.
A majority of the game is spent typing in code to disarm alarms and lasers, opening doors, moving your tiny four-legged robot, and firing a remote gun turret. Each of these has unique code you'll have to learn, though you can quickly refresh your memory by typing 'help' when inside of each program. If you're not a seasoned typist, you may find the amount of typing here a bit annoying, but I didn't have any issues myself, especially since you can use the arrow keys to cycle between recently used phrases.
It isn't like you have to type all that much as most of the time commands will look something like 'door1.open(3)'. .Later stages may have you typing phrases such as 'blink 1 exit;aimbot;setpos 124 34 -137;fire;setpos 135 32 -137;fire' but that is around the longest phrase you'd have to type.
While the above code may look frightening or intimidating, trust me when I say that you're gradually introduced to each new function, and the game does a great job at making sure you're comfortable with each before it starts to challenge you. After unlocking a new tech, the next level always focuses on it, with each goal getting progressively more difficult to make sure you've mastered it before moving on. The only tech that can be a bit frustrating to use is the remote gun turret, as aiming it can require setting XYZ coordinates manually, though you're only required to do so maybe twice in the game.
I wouldn't say the game is too short, as its five-hour length felt just about right, but I certainly left wanting more. The levels themselves don't hold your hand or anything, but feel more like introductions to each type of tech, till the final level has you combining them all together to achieve your goal. I just wish there were more levels that took advantage of all the skills available in the game. Thankfully the game supports Steam Workshop so I expect modders will create more challenging levels that require a bit more mastery post release.
I absolutely loved everything about Quadrilateral Cowboy from the minimalist story told through playable scenes between levels, to the art style, the hacking, and especially the lady hacker main characters. Which is why it pains me to say I experienced multiple crashes with the build of the game I played, especially later in the game where a new mechanic is introduced that has the game replaying your steps in fast forward, which tended to cause the game to crash. I'd say this happened about four or so times in the few levels that use the feature. Hopefully, this is something the developers have fixed by the time the game goes live.
I can easily recommend Quadrilateral Cowboy, one of my favorite indie games so far this year, to anyone looking for an adventure game that brings something that feels fresh and new to the table and leaves you feeling smart as you've become a hacking god, or in this case goddess.