Release Date: 25 August, 2022
Platform: Windows, Switch, Android, iOS
By Chris Picone, 31 March 2023
HAAK is a recently published metroidvania with what I guess you might call a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk theme. It starts gently but doesn't take long before you've picked up the early power-ups and once you're dashing and reflecting the story really digs in and you're hooked.
Gorgeous pixel art - most of the creatures and obstacles in-game are fairly simple but the the backgrounds and characters are absolutely to die for, really stunning. There's plenty of special effects and those nice little touches that make the movement feel really natural and the world come to life. Tons of polish, it's a real looker.
The game features a very gentle learning curve, so initially you're just running and jumping around, then you find a weapon, then you pick up all the classic abilities like grappling hooking, dashing, super attacking, and so on. There's also an ability to deflect bullets back with your melee attack Jedi-style which is pretty fun. All the classic metroidvania type moves and attacks feature, and after that point gameplay's pretty much as expected - explore the world, fighting off baddies and dodging traps and finding secrets, uncovering the story bit by bit as you go. After you've unlocked a few new abilities, it pays to return to earlier areas to see what new areas you can get to that were previously out of reach. What really sets this title apart from other metroidvanias is that is features a number of levels, each of which is its own self-contained metroidvania-style map. That makes for a pretty damn hefty game.
HAAK is a superb metroidvania. It starts off fairly easy although it does have its challenging moments and there's around 20 hours of gameplay. Very polished, a very fun experience overall, an excellent addition to one of my favourite genres.