Kirarin's Ratings and Reviews
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Hyper Metroid LLE by LexLuthermiester [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on May 04, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
82% in 3:10
Hyper Metroid, fun version.

Very surprised this one barely got downloads and mention here. This halfhack fixes my main beef with the OG Hyper; way too linear. Sure the map is large, but you find yourself gapped by Supers or PBs. Not here. World is free to explore. Combined with keeping momentum and all the other juicy Project Base's mechanics, this is a great, liberating experience. In the original, you were "free", but you never knew if you where on the right track. Mission Rescue and Redesign (to some extent) are other hacks that has this problem for the first half of the game.

The natural successor of this mechanic and "going fast in an open world" is Super Duper, for example.

The overall difficulty was toned down, but since you can go mostly anywhere, you might find the original or harder difficulty depending which route you go. Kraid is no pushover if you don't explore first. The "intended" way got a smoother transition for me.

I agree with the new placement of Gravity, because if you consider Super Metroid, you get it before travelling water zones and after (here, right before if you explore) "second" boss, considering the original Hyper route I guess. I always felt the original Gravity's location a bit counterintuitive.

The only abusive thing was Screw Attack; felt it should be available later (it's too OP). I'd change it with Speed Booster, to make the experience even more open while keeping Screw useful for Tourian. The platform to Supers is whatever, because you can always IBJ or explore a bit and get HJ if you didn't have that platform. And I think all supers doors are gone, so again, the change doesn't hurt the game.

There's some goofy things that this hack didn't address by opening most of the game. You might enter Botwoon from the wrong place, but since there's a save nearby and you can keep mashing right to leave the door if you go out of transition you're fine. The escape you might find a softlock depending where you go in Crateria after saving the animals, since the creator opened most stuff, which makes me think this is more a 4.5/5 hack, but the fun I had playing it and agreeing with most changes outweigh the occasional lack of polish.

Even hacks that took years to develop don't know how to connect their world to make the experience more smoother or lack balance in difficulty/reward for exploration, and with Hyper LLE, anywhere you go you're bound to find useful stuff. I didn't play Hyper in more than five years and I had much more fun with this one than the original. Recommended.
gossamer by neen [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on Mar 02, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 7:20
(Disclaimer. First playthrough took 2 and a half hours, 71% item progression. Explored a bit further and bumped my progression from 88 to 95.2, to finally 100%. Secrets are well worth a second playthrough)

Excellent, excellent romhack. I admit I started this hack thinking it would be super easy or a bit bland cuz I only heard the exploration part. When I entered the second area, came back to this page and saw the Veteran difficulty, I got the right mindset and things started falling into place.

Like those challenge hacks, there's quite some back and forth, but it didn't bother me because I liked the level design and palettes used. Most enemies got great recoloring.

There's a lot of suitless underwater, but I don't mind those. It's fine for me because the way the physics in this hack works, the jumps float better underwater than ground, at least until you get Space. The game even gives Spring Ball early to counter that.

This felt a challenge hack that didn't overstay its welcome. Fast paced, no item fanfare (great), rewarding exploration, nice usage of Spring Ball and the hack is not obvious, which is a good point for a challenge hack imo. It feels rewarding to figure out where to go next.

Overall, great puzzles. Puzzles at Ship were very creative. First time I kinda rushed my playthrough, so I didn't get Screw and some upgrades, like most e-tanks, but beat the game barely hanging. I guess if you go blind and rambo-style, this hack is in-between Veteran and Challenge, secrets aside.

The mood of the hack was very very good, I guess its uniqueness + being challenging enough+ keeping you guessing, but also allowing you to beat the game with some different routing is what makes me give this 5 stars. The hack starts as normal, but without revealing too much, you start sensing something is off. And the visuals + sound effects carry that feeling.

The final area is something I wasn't expecting, that's for sure. Terrific job.

I will say though, I feel this hack will be divisive because not everyone will like the lack of sense to where to go (even though the map and rooms you come across give you some clues where to go or when to come back). I'd have to think about it, but maybe this hack will benefit of an easy type for some things, or at least being a bit more obvious in some puzzles.

For me, I didn't find how to unlock at least 3 doors. Even after getting 100% one of them stood grey and the other is related to a puzzle (that red room) I haven't figured the solution yet.

Charge was easy for me to find. If you like to sequence break a lot and it's good with the game physics, you can get it much earlier than expected.

Finally, for some tips or improvements, I liked how the bosses don't have song, but the first ones would be nice to get a recoloring like Ridley did, and only Phantoon got different cries; I think Draygon and Ridley would benefit a lot with that to set the mood of the fights. Explore the sounds!! EDIT: Explored a bit further and found something quite hidden that fitted this last point. This was exactly the kind of stuff I was waiting for in this hack. Marvelous.

Again, solid hack. GG!
Super Metroid Short Charge Practice by XiaiBaiyun [SM Spoof], rated by Kirarin on Dec 27, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Work as intended. Very good to practice short charging and getting good at it. It was excellent training before playing Cliffhanger Redux and for future hard romhacks.

Super Duper Metroid by Metaquarius, Daltone [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on Dec 25, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
75% in 3:12
Finished this a couple of weeks ago, but I let it sit with me for a while before grading it.

For the stuff I didn't like or could be improved... Speed Booster should be available earlier or at the start imo; it's a waste having it locked where it is. The hack is so fun to maneuver when you have it! High Jump is super cool when you get it, and you get it early if you go the "intended" route, so Speed would make exploration or go fast much smoother.

Tourian could see some work, namely being too easy, but I can see why it's designed that way, because the game has more than one route to beat it, so I won't nitpick on it too much.

There's some problems with tilings, X-Ray and other things the others pointed out, so I won't comment more on that.

The hack is great. For me, it was super fun and rewarded my skills/exploration and game knowledge, which is enough to make it better than average. Couple with huge replay potential with inbuild rando + mirror mode and a nice low% route, makes going back to it more enticing than most of other exploration hacks. It's also designed for players of all skill levels imo. If you know some tricks and go fast, great! If you want to take your time, also great!

Recommended. Would say for anyone to play this at least 2 times, normal and a randomizer.
Tallon IV Tours: Phendrana Frolics by dewhi100 [SM Quick Play], rated by Kirarin on Dec 24, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 0:47
Very cool minihack!

Doesn't overstay its welcome, beautiful visuals, neat upgrades and upgrade progression. Hack itself it's easy with the last boss being not a pushover. The snow effects were stunning!

There was some jank sfx and jailbaited regarding some closed doors, breakable blocks and certain upgrades, but the mod is both satisfying to progress/rewarding and FUN.

For a minihack this good, full stars.
Cliffhanger Redux by Digital_Mantra [SM Challenge], rated by Kirarin on Dec 23, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
77% in 7:57
I debated a lot between giving this hack 4 or 5 stars. If it was a scale from 1-10 and broken numbers were allowed, I'd give it between 9.5~9.75, so I settled with five orbs.

I loved the hack's atmosphere, the music (or lack thereof) settled the mood for rooms.

It was a very hard hack, but I liked that most rooms either gave you time to do the puzzles, not a lot of cheap deaths or spike hells, puzzles were very interesting, hidden enough so you felt good by figuring them out and didn't need to spend hours looking for the solution. For the cryptic, very hidden puzzles, the game gave tips.

The back and forth didn't bother me. The hack was well-linked between zones, and getting new upgrades made the backtrack smoother. As the other user said, I felt my confidence getting a boost everytime I finished a hard area.

I also loved how the hack left me guessing what would be the next upgrade I should get, so item/order progression was never evident. I got lucky by bombing and figuring out where X-Ray was, so progress didn't get stuck since I could use the hint room and figure where Space Jump was (would never guess!). The "phantoom" area was nice, felt very expanded, a true labyrinth. Liked the vibe of that area and "Maridia". It was very rewarding going back to older areas and getting more lore, seeing magnificent room designs... Escape was dope. Spring Ball and Plasma appeared early, making the hack very fun. High Jump appeared later, and it was vital to finish the game.

For the negatives, it was a linear hack and sometimes it could be confusing to know where to go next. I took multiple breaks (started playing it in September) so I wouldn't burn out. As the user above said, the rising water room in eldridge... For me it was the only questionable part of the hack. I'd either make it require less input precision or get rid of the damaging spikes early on, or put the health refill earlier, making the trial and error less tedious.

DMantra's hack are exceptional, and this one made me feel I learned a lot of game mechanics. Recommended.
V E R T I C A L I T Y by Tundain [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on Apr 27, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 5:26
I have to agree with the user(s) above, the teleporter took the joy out what would be a close to 5/5 for me (for version 1.0). More on the criticism later. But don't let my rating fool you, this is a superb hack, go play it.

First, this is the most impressive hack graphics/mechanic wise in the recent years, easily. It blows Ascent and Subversion out of the water. In general, this is a superior hack from the ones people will consider mainstream for me, aside Vitality and Super Junkroid. I'd say I prefer Super Duper, but mostly because what "problems" I have with that hack don't cut the joy of playing it, different than this one. Beautiful new sprites, sprite effects, new items, bigger enemies, customized bosses. Lots of love put in that department.

The overcharge mechanic was whatever for me, but it was good to have; I figured out fast which enemies were more vulnerable and would be useful to use that. The new charged super is awesome, and you get it just in time to smoke some bosses!

The shinespark opening doors (very useful) and most of its puzzles are great. This hack gives a run of its money for Super ZeroMission for best speedbooster usage. I like the puzzles more here, and the thingies to change shinespark's direction were a nice puzzle. Very well done! I remember Ascend having this kind of puzzles/ideas with shinespark, but this hack does it so much better.

Unfortunately, and I'm sad by saying it, because I really, really wanted to give this one 5/5, the hack felt in some traps of being quite repetitive. I didn't mind a lot being vertical, but it got tiring fast. Most rooms had the same or similar layout, and backgrounds weren't that different, so as you explore, each region of the map feels a bit bland and repetitive. Vanilla is more creative in making you think the game has very different rooms. If you compare each main region (Crateria, WS, Brinstar etc), the hack is very pretty, but inside each region, there's not a lot of variation in background and room design.

Most rooms feel too big, too. Maybe it's the effect of the hack going the vertical route.

The hack is very linear; not a lot of sequence breaking to do unfortunately. I felt like the way Draygon was locked was the creator trying to spin things up to make the hack not so linear. Which brings me to another point: In general, the hack is very predictable after you get speed. You quickly realize which upgrades you need and you get them quite soon after it. Only the suits come out of nowhere and you have to put work to get them.

Speaking of suits, the physics change were great in making the hack feel fast and smooth to play, except in Maridia. The water sections were quite bad for me. The bubble risers didn't work as I want and it were the second most frustrating mechanic for me. Finding Gravity after I was done with almost all of water sections didn't help too much, aside being able to enter Draygon... Physics change are quite personal. I see a lot of people complaining when hacks restrict the physics, but in this one, with "smoother" physics and higher jump, but also having Maridia being a chore to walk around made it glaring the fun and unfun parts of the hack.

The easily, and my main reason I can't full grade the hack, are the teleporters. Most of its puzzles feel unrewarding, and I loathed when I saw a puzzle involving those things was next. It doesn't help most of the hard puzzles involving them are right of the bat. They should've been better balanced, leaving the harder ones for later. Also their hitbox was like the usual spikes, meaning no room for error. It was very frustrating. Their hitbox should have a bit of leeway or remove one teleporter from each side of the ceiling, to give some leeway. It feels most of those puzzles are input perfect or very very punishing if you don't have near perfect movements.

I'd rather dealing with 60 damage spikes puzzles than the tedium of going back and forth.

Again, there's a lot of work put here, and this hack is the most impressive for me in terms of new items, upgrades and shinespark puzzles. It easily beats most of the "famous" ones for me. Still, those flaws were quite glaring for me and made me unable to full grade this one.

Finished, recommended. Have patience with those teleporter puzzles!
Volta by FirePhoenix [SM Incomplete], rated by Kirarin on Dec 24, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Very good vanilla hack. Shame it wasn't finished. One thing I noticed it had usage of multiple layers for gameplay/you get to play in a different layer than expected in the Sanctuary. I don't remember this being done in Cliffhanger OG. Was this done in Redesign? If not, this hack got it first. Very impressive.

Pretty palettes, nice progression. Recommended if you're feeling to play a quick romhack.
Super Metroid: Rebuild 5 by JAM [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on May 21, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
74% in 1:54
I was expecting much worse. Decent vanilla halfhack considering it was made (allegibly) in 2009. If this was from 2014 I'd rank it 1 star lower.

The gimmick of enemies being destroyed only by a certain weapon doesn't matter that much. Pretty sure all bosses could be damaged with the main source of damage you got by the time you got them. So, no need to do jank stuff like kill BT or SS or GT with Bombs.

The tiling in this one is quite bad. A certain room in Maridia lags out sooooo much. Also, some enemies don't align properly with the ceiling.

Bosses are buffed, but in most cases, either fair or make the fight long af. Croc is in interesting take on the arena change, and you got plenty of ammo by the time you get to it if you explored. And the reward for beating it was great. GT was also chill.

SS and Botwoon are the ones giga buffed. They're freaking UNITS. It took me ages to kill Botwoon. But again, felt rewarding for killing them considering their major.

There's some layout changes that you think "why?". Stuff made just to waste your time. But some are decent; they allow you to get in a lot of places early, which makes for interesting routing.

Pretty sure that's the reason I'm giving this a 3 and not a 2 (and considering this is from 2009). Most places you go you get rewarded. Ammo is plentiful. If you're a bit clever, you might start with main ammo upgrades very early, which opens up the hack a lot. Spring Ball is also available early, which really helps for the suitless part of Maridia.

Also giving this a 3 because it was the first hack I saw the frozen animation of some bosses. Never seen that stuff before!

Watch out for a random big Metroid ambush! And do Ridley before Draygon if you feel the fight it's taking way too long.

Recommended if you feel like playing a halfhack with interesting routing, somewhat open beside the questionable room changes and not trivial bosses. Just don't play it in one sitting. Your fingers gonna be toasted.
Super Metroid: So Much Hell Apocalypse "Q" by The Monster of Surrealton [SM Challenge], rated by Kirarin on Jan 11, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
90% in 4:05
Yes, this hack has a lot of jank and people (me included) usually despise spike spam romhacks. But, but, but, the way I consider challenge/expert romhacks, either they have to deal with difficult or obscure puzzles and game mechanics, and/or the game is bullshit hard, like this one!

Did exploration felt rewarding? Yes. Since is a halfhack, you know where most items are, so you can counter the bs difficulty by having game knowledge, this lends you the suits, extra (required) e-tanks... In a way, this is like some hard hacks out there, starts stupid and very hard, then it gets chill until two certain boss fights as the user above said.

I have this 3* because exploration was useful, despite being hard as hell, could beat it without needing to use difficult tricks, aside playing very very well, rng on my side and knowing Crystal Flash, and the palettes and room design fitted the hack well imo. I did enjoy this hack better than SMI, for example. This was beatable, different than some super hard romhacks on the site.

Still, Botwoon and Draygon are ass and super ass, respectively. Only recommend this if you're feeling playing a bs-tier difficulty halfhack.
Super Metroid: Ascent by Benox50 [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on Dec 30, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
78% in 4:17
Impressive art throughout the hack, physics and pacing were smooth, great to control Samus in this hack. First zone is perfect, had a lot of fun with it. Anywhere I could go there was an upgrade. The zone was well connected. In general, puzzles of the hack deserve praise, too.

I didn't enjoy most of the color scheme, especially starting Zone 2. Sometimes it felt like a fever dream, others I thought the hack lacked a bit of identity, being a mesh up of different rooms and ideas. The coloring got my head scratching for minutes in zone 2, where I thought doors were all locked by Power Bombs but were just locked by regular missiles.

Most of those are just stylist choices and nitpicks, so I won't bash the hack for this. However, playing it it got less fun and I thought it dropped a bit in quality starting Zone 2. Getting upgrades was more required, but the world didn't felt as rewarding as the previous zone. Most puzzles there won't stick with you for long after you best the game.

The level design being open was awesome for the first zone, but for the second zone onwards didn't felt as rewarding to explore. Also, the hack had quite emphasis on shinesparking, but getting SB upgrades was a bit tedious and the puzzles, for the most part, weren't as interesting. I had more fun and thought that hacks like Super Zero Mission, Super Duper and to an lesser extend, Hyper and Cliffhanger Redux did the speed booster gimmick better.

This is a very good romhack, but I still think navigation and hoarding upgrades starting the second and third zone weren't as fun. I applaud the dedication to craft the hack, still. Recommended.
Super Metroid Funfar 2 - Funfarrer by Noxus [SM Vanilla+], rated by Kirarin on May 05, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
65% in 3:20
Very mid halfhack. Interesting routing (but saw some stuff similar/more clever before), but unfortunately it has kinda the same problem as Super Metroid FL and a bunch of other halfhacks. After a certain point, you notice the creator ran out of content and the areas after the hack's main gimmick are 99% unchanged, with maybe major items switched around at best.

This hack reminded me of JAM's Nightmare and Dark Nightmare concept, where it's very restrictive and you have to take a certain path at least two times (but not as obnoxious as the last two). I think the only reason I give this one a higher rating than FL is because it doesn't force you in hellruns and you can beat the game at different moments of your progression (G4 is optional).

If you know how to take a damage boost and shinespark, as soon as you got speed and 6+ etanks you can beat the game. You need to either have that, or a Gravity jump or Space Jump (pretty sure the last two require grapple). If you're clever and take the "repeated route" once, you'll figure out what I'm talking about.

The hack was a mixture of Beginner/Vanilla difficulty at parts because the creator toned down some zones and enemies, but it was Veteran/Veteran+ at others by having parts where the save point was somewhat far away and a wrong movement and you'll get acid bath. Try to get early PBs if you can. Also it's a good idea if you know how to IBJ.

Felt like a 2.5/5, but can't bring to 3 due to how repetitive and obscure it was at times. Could've beaten the game 1 hour earlier if I paid more attention. Avoid.

SPOILER1: You can access Vanilla's Gravity location despite a certain room being changed and making you think you can't go there.

SPOILER2: If you suck at the escape, Mama turtle got you.
Super Metroid: Shadow by Acheron [SM Unknown], rated by Kirarin on Mar 11, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Very ass.

Pretty recolors, not bad tiling unless you pause in the big pink Brinstar room, the water bugs and you can't see stuff. You can reach WS, but the hack is 99% Vanilla by that point. Can get Gravity if you IBJ.

Super Metroid: Subversion by TestRunner and AmoebaOfDoom [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on Dec 29, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
72% in 7:18
I kept thinking with myself while playing this hack: It is challenging? No. Some bosses are vanilla or easier, SS and Croc are quite easier, but their arena or killing method was a bit obnoxious. The puzzles (aside grapple gimmicks) weren't hard, but some were just trial and error or bad designed. I felt relief instead of accomplishment when I finished certain puzzles.

Is the progression rewarding? Imo, hard no. Getting rid of ammo upgrades except 1 of each means the devs killed sequence breaking. Further, the game has a lot of back and forth, but there's barely any shortcuts and no warps as far as I could tell, so exploring the planet was a chore. SZM, Escape 2, Mission Rescue, a bunch of older and 3* romhacks had warps, how they designed a world this big, where there's barely any sequence break, with so much backtrack and didn't put shortcuts? The original SM's world is better connected. Symphony of the Night, pushing 30 years old, got warps. If this was a challenge hack, where knowledge and execution is important, I'd gloss over the navigation being a chore, but since the hack is easy, everything else felt boring.

The hack deserves praise for its neat usage of grapple mechanics and wonderful visuals, also smooth controllers, but that's pretty much it. It doesn't feel rewarding exploring, I couldn't sequence break or go where I wanted with a big map... While the screens are super pretty, the world felt very disjoined, like I was in a Mario or Dark Souls 2 world, except those eventually get better or are better interconnected...

Finally, seeing when it was made, most of the custom stuff doesn't look impressive. Visor? A hack from an year before did it, and did a fight in the same manner. Speedball? Plenty of hacks did it before, even one from 15 years ago. This hack deserves a play because of the pretty visuals, and I guess it has a legacy by bringing a new game editor to the hack scene, but if you been around and played a bunch of other hacks, you won't get mesmerized by the game's mechanics and upgrades. If you're new and never played romhacks, yeah, this might look the best thing ever. Can't grade this one higher if the hack lacks two things that makes SM great, which is exploration and great level design.
Metroid RBO GR2 by GR2 [SM Challenge], rated by Kirarin on Dec 27, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I had a lot of issues with this hack.

I figured there would be a lot of back and forth, this being a true RBO. It's mostly not so bad because the SM world is well connected. The item order (until where I played) was interesting, some design changes and puzzles were neat, and for the most part the author was balancing well the maps, making sure there was enough e-tanks or health refills while you did countless hellruns.

However, some stuff was puzzling to say at least. Ridley taking at least 60 missiles considering how much energy you have is quite obnoxious. Got stuck there for hours, because if you take a hit it's very difficult to win the fight. Even if you're good at dodging her, you still have to connect all missiles while dodging her and on a time limit (heat damage). It demands great execution. Imo the fight should be easier, maybe requiring less missiles, because this being a true RBO, I wouldn't mind if the other bosses were BS uber strong if Ridley was easy, like in the original were Kraid is very easy and you can take your time.

When you beat her, you still need to work your way for the fight reward, and when you want to leave lower Norfair, the game puts you in some sections that you need to farm red seahorses for small health (takes forever. Why not put an e-tank there instead of 2 missile expansions?), and in a future room (just before the lower Norfair escape), pretty much need dumb luck or look in smile to see how to get an e-tank in that room and not die.

It would be difficult, but still possible, but Maridia managed to be even worse. First, you have to do continuous walljumps inwater between two walls to progress, and on the very next room I got stuck. I don't know if it was my rom version or it got bugged somehow, but Samus couldn't escape the sands on the second room before Draygon. There's a grapple block there, but not enough room to do a grapple jump.

Seeing how frustrating some rooms were for me, and how unbalanced Ridley was for a true RBO, where you can't grab 10+ e-tanks, crystal flash, if you take a hit from her you die, if you do it without savestates you need damn near perfect movement to beat her and refill on the way back, and not die to spikes while climbing back to save, and then getting stuck at Maridia, I didn't find the challenge in this hack fair or giving enough reward for the work I was putting. Golden Torizo was balanced, hard but not impossible, and some item progression were the only nice things to see on this hack. Not recommended.
Metroid Depression by Silver Wing [SM Exploration], rated by Kirarin on May 04, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I'd rather drink my own piss than playing this again.
Super Metroid FL by crimsonsunbird [SM Unknown], rated by Kirarin on Mar 11, 2024 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This is more like 1/4 of a hack, and the 1/4 only lasts until you get Bombs to be fair. I'd consider giving this two orbs if it move more progression around, but after the "changes" end, you get 75% of the game exactly the same, but with buffed bosses and late Gravity. From what I saw, that's a common thing with Pedro-tier hacks and at least they exist to educate users to not make a little bit of the hack "edited" and leave most of the hack vanilla. At least the hack is not offensive compared to other of his "works".

The hack is very linear, and if you played challenge hacks, you're used to back and forth. In this hack, you have to travel to Forgotten Highway and enter Brinstar from the other side. Beat SS, grab the reserve after Forgotten Highway and some E-tanks to make a hellrun in Norfair. Grab Supers there, beat Croc, which opens the door to speed. Now you can get bombs.

And there, the hack is done. Everything else is mostly vanilla, aside some item locations, like Screw and Gravity, and some bosses that were buffed.

The thing is, challenge hacks usually keep a varied routing through the end and don't keep the hack Vanilla for 75% of the time, and them usually are a bit/very hard or require tricks. This one is not hard execution-wise, nor requires complex tricks. At least what's edited the visuals are not terrible, and I expected more softlocks (only got two)

Even if you wanted to kill time and play something of questionable quality, run away from this hack. It's not worth it.