Bentley’s Hackpack is a minigame collection released alongside Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time. Developed by Sanzaru, the very same devs behind Thieves In Time, the Hackpack gives each of Bentley’s hacking missions from that game an additional 20 levels. All three minigames feel like Sly-themed versions of games we all know and love, from R-type to Geometry Wars. During Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, these hacking missions were fun when you encountered them, but are they really enough to support a game of their own?
System Crackin’ Fun
Out of the three hacking minigames available in Bentley’s Hackpack, two of them are a lot of fun. Those delightful games are System Cracker and Alter Ego. Both of these games wonderfully capture that old-school, simplistic arcade feeling we simply don’t have enough of these days.
At its core, System Cracker is a simple dual-stick survival game. You use the left stick to move around and point the right stick where you want to shoot. When you’ve got hoards of enemies spawning and coming at you, this little minigame gets the adrenaline going and does a great job of capturing the old-school, arcade, survive-forever-and-hopefully-get-a-high-score feeling.
But when you survive the hoard and things slow down, each level also has a few puzzles to solve. These include fun little challenges like getting a key to a door or finding a panel to change your ship into one of its two other modes to blow up a wall or open a path.
The other really fun minigame, Alter Ego, feels like an old-school side-scrolling shoot-em-up. This brought back a lot of memories from Super R-Type, which was a game I completely forgot about for a while until now. Although I’ll admit this game was much easier then Super R-Type. Either that or I’m just an adult now, and played a lot of Super R-Type when I was seven. Who knows?
This minigame is far more simple than System Cracker. You control a buff, Rambo-like Bentley with a jetpack. Again, you use the left stick to move and point the right stick towards things you want to blow up. So, instead of having exploration elements, this game is pure fighting to survive and hoping you make it to the end of the level.
What really made this minigame fun – and also how it brought forth the most R-Type memories – was how the power ups worked. When you collect enough power ups, your gun will level up in some way. Maybe you’ll just shoot bullets faster, maybe heat seeking missiles will start firing automatically, or maybe your stream of bullets will turn into three streams. Either way, it is always fun to feel powerful. But the element that makes it interesting is that every time you get hit, your gun levels down to the previous power level. After powering up a few levels, you really don’t want to get hit, not just because of your health and actually surviving the level. It all quickly takes a backseat to just wanting to keep your big gun.
A Lot of Sly-Themed Unlockables
All 60 of this game’s levels have 5 different mission objectives and each objective will give you a coin. Some of these objectives are consistent from level to level, like collecting five Sly Masks or getting a high score, while some others only pop up once in a while, such as collecting every power up or completing a mission with full health.
If you stick with the arcade theme of Bentley’s Hackpack, there is only one logical place to take these coins you’ve been collecting: a prize wall full of great Sly-themed collectibles, my favorites of which were pixel art versions of the main characters. These all give you a little bit of a reason to keep playing and the prize wall was a really nice touch.
Sixaxis Is Back!
As much fun as System Cracker and Alter Ego can be, Spark Runner is awful. The problem with this game is simple: Sixaxis control. You need to turn your Vita/PlayStation 3 controller side-to-side and all around to control the game.
The game itself is a solid enough idea. You guide a little spark through a maze, hoping to get to the end before time runs out. If you need more time, you can pick up some power ups. Or, you could if the controls worked like they should. This is especially annoying if you are playing on your Vita. Waving the same screen you also have to look at just isn’t fun. This minigame being a once-in-a-while thing in Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time was alright, but it is literally a third of Bentley’s Hackpack. And that just isn’t okay.
Gets Old Fast
As much fun as two out of three minigames in Bentley’s Hackpack are, it just isn’t enough. Clearly none of these games were made to be played for anything longer than short bursts. Even all the unlockables (that I did want to see) weren’t enough to make me go on. It just gets boring after a couple of hours.
Ultimately, when you consider that you get the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions for only $2.99, this game is fine. We all knew it couldn’t be a masterpiece. If you played these games in Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time and really want to play more of them, feel free. Enjoy yourself; you know what you’re getting into. But Bentley’s Hackpack can’t really be recommended for anybody else.
Review Platform: PlayStaion 3 and PlayStation Vita