Hammerwatch was released in August 2013 and has taken Steam and the genre by storm, created by Jochum Skoglund and Niklas Myrberg of Crackshell it’s a Action Adventure, Hack and Slash 8bit Dungeon Crawler that brings back that original feel of those major players of this game type such as the original Gauntlet or Diablo. The game came to Steam via there Green Light project and sold 12,000 units in the first 24 hours of sale with 2500 from pre order.
I started my adventure as a bow wielding Ranger (the beginners class) but there are a further 5 to choose from (Paladin, Wizard, Thief, Warlock and Priest). I decided on Medium difficulty as Easier wouldn’t have tested my Skill and Hard would have been a struggle. I chose the main quest path of Castle Hammerwatch.
The version i received had the expansion pack of the Temple of the Sun pre installed so could had started down this route if I had wished to. I would imagine I will go back to this at a later stage. After pressing start you realise you have been separated from the main group after a bridge collapse and instantly my arrows were killing bats, bugs and grubs that were all intent on attacking me. Arrows also break open boxes, crates or pots to reveal copper coins that are scattered across the levels awaiting collection. Food stuffs such as apples, oranges and the occasional slab of meat are ready for the eating to replenish you health bar. There are also blue crystals that are absorbed to refill the mana bar which can be easily depleted when facing an mass onslaught from your enemies. Otherwise your time is spent avoiding the many traps placed to eradicate the starting two lives you have been given.
This game is fantastic and is seriously so addictive. You must hunt the levels for keys that come in Bronze, Silver and Gold to open a progressive door based path to complete the level. Finding hidden rooms or pathways gives you chests filled with a wealth of monetary goodies or permanent character stats like damage/armour or health. The first vendor in the game gives you the opportunity to purchase the Combo Skill allowing each kill to fill a growing pink bar that once full can give you more health, damage or prolong the Combo depending on you choice.
The holy grail however is finding Vendor Coins that lower the price of upgrades at the vendors/merchants within the world that gives your character progression or the elusive 1up that adds an additional life to you ever dwindling pool. Hammerwatch implements a great checkpoint/save system, which involves finding and standing on a pressure plate with a floppy disc symbol engraved on it. This will be the place you return to once you’ve been killed (and you will be…..a lot) or when you reload the game from the main menu.
I could spend untold hours playing this game and at time of review was on the Steam sale at £1.74 which is mind altering value for money but even the original £6.99 is well worth it. The game also features 4 player co-op and Steam offer a discounted 4 pack, an enterprising idea i truly find a god send in the ever evolving world of gaming. Additionally the game features full controller support allowing for much better gameplay and an inbuilt mod/editing software that allows you to create or fully customise a level both you and your friends can enjoy.
The game is an easy to score 9/10 it is everything you want in the genre and much more, i guess the only downside would be the eventual repetition especially as there are two Steam Achievements, Kill 250,000 enemy’s and Get 1,000,000 coins which may prove a bit of a grind.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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