Developed By: Crackshell Published By: Blitworks Categories: Roguelike, RPG, Retro Release Date: 07.30.20
Do you like Diablo or the Gauntlet series? Heroes of Hammerwatch might be up your alley then. Dungeon crawling, large, almost absurd hordes of enemies, loot, loot, loot. While Hammerwatch did release on Switch in 2017, Heroes of Hammerwatch is more of a definitive release of the game releasing three years later.
Roguelikes, going deeper and deeper into dungeons collecting equipment is probably something that you’ve heard before. The game’s Gauntlet influence is what draws me in to play more. Very much like Gauntlet, you are constantly surrounded by large hoards of monsters, usually with very little to no slowdown. At times, it can get overwhelming with just how many you get bombarded by, but it only makes it more satisfying to completely plow through them and destroy spawn points, even more so if you’re strong enough to take out anything with one hit. Once that’s all done, just find your way to the exit of the floor to go to the next. Throughout all of this and beyond traps you’ll find gold, ore, keys for treasure chests you’ll find, and a variety of items that can give you either an ability, often a some sort of side attack, or general stat buffs. After three floors like this, you’ll find yourself at a fourth floor, holding a boss. These bosses are tough, the first time I faced one I was destroyed. I found myself frustrated with the game because of this, I felt powerless and roadblocked, I could level up if I grinded a bit, but my currency would dwindle to nothing This stopped becoming a big issue when I discovered the little stations you’ll find on a floor that sends everything back up (unfortunately taxed). Ore is everything in the overworld. While money can buy you upgrades to your armor, attack, speed, or even a critical hit chance, even how potions work, Ore is required to open up the shops to get these abilities and to upgrade the shops further and further, which you’ll be needing for the journey ahead. Even after these early upgrades, the game became a much smoother experience…until the next boss that is, rinse and repeat.
At a point however, it does seem to hit a grind with ores and gold. You’ll get a decent amount just in dungeons, but it’ll take quite a bit of time. This is where the Colosseum comes into play. A horde based area, with powerups just thrown at you to combat the even larger number of enemies. Killing monsters in dungeons was fun enough, but in the arena, with nothing in your way, and an obscene amount of powerups you can stack, it becomes something I found myself and a friend spending hours attempting, or just replaying to get Ore, experience, and Gold.
Throughout all of this, I did find some parts in particular to be quite tad too difficult though, while a friend had little to no issues doing the same exact missions I was doing. While I also had succeeded in ways he did not. At the beginning of the game when making your character, you’re given the option of class. Paladins, who hold shields and are adept at up close combat, Rangers who take the long ranged route, Sorcerers and Priests using offensive and defensive magic respectively, and so on. As a Paladin, I could block many ranged attacks, including arrow traps, making some obstacles for treasure chests a breeze. This also meant I had to really get up close and personal to enemies and bosses, putting myself in harms way, leading to very swift deaths at times. My friend chose playing the Ranger however would struggle with specific traps, as he couldn’t just barge his way in and block the arrows, he would have to maneuver around them. He however could just stay from away and shoot arrows at enemies, remotely safely. None of this is a bad thing, it just means that different classes offer different experiences and challenges. This also incentivizes you to play cooperatively.
I’m not sure what to think of the game’s online functionality. It took many attempts to get a successful online session working, almost an embarrassing amount and we were ready to just give up for the night, but it finally worked and when it did, it worked well. I didn’t notice any latency issues once we were actually playing, and it felt practically like playing solo, just with another person. For reasons that were discussed previously, it makes playing co-op a much better experience than solo, the strengths and flaws of each class compliment eachother, and just having more firepower can help with those overwhelming sections.
I wouldn’t say that the graphics are bad, but they’re awfully basic and nothing to write home about. It’s serviceable . The music feels the same way. None of it’s bad, but it never left much of an impression on me, it purely does it’s job. It’s rather safe to say that anything that isn’t related to gameplay feels like it’s just there, almost secondary. I did enjoy my time playing Heroes of Hammerwatch though, especially with a friend, which I would ultimately recommend the way you play the game, if you can get connected. However, if you don’t really care for the Gauntlet style of monsters just flowing at you, you might want to look elsewhere, as to me, it feels like a defining aspect of this title.
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*Game Download Code was supplied for review purposes