Hammerwatch Review

Hammerwatch has a surprisingly simple combo system. To activate them, you need to quickly kill many enemies, and they can be developed in several simple ways – for example, to heal or deal damage around you. This game is built on the uncomplicated foundations of the action genre, and these foundations work perfectly.

To replenish your combo in Hammerwatch, you will need hordes of slain monsters – and the game is happy to provide them in any quantity: larvae, skeletons, angry eyes: all these standard fantasy enemies await you around every corner, crawling out of pits, decaying trees, mysterious fountains. Along with the regular attack, each character also has a special one designed for mass damage, so by moving from combo to combo, you can get into a good rhythm. Dive into trouble to become stronger, get into trouble to be able to get out of them.

A perilous adventure

The first levels are quite drawn out, and the enemies are not particularly diverse. The key is in their impressive quantity.

And this simplicity permeates the entire game, where you will briskly run through dungeons in the spirit of Gauntlet. There are four familiar character classes (for example, the paladin – a sturdy and powerful melee fighter, and the wizard – frail but skillful in controlling fire magic); a subtle hint of a plot (a bridge collapsed behind you, so why not just keep going?); the majority of the game consists of tightly packed dungeons, where you exterminate enemies, step on pressure plates to open passages to bosses or secret nooks, gather all the gold you can find, and use it to more effectively eliminate enemies.

Like in Gauntlet, everything here is designed for multiplayer, so be aware in advance – solo playthrough of Hammerwatch will be slightly tiresome. The levels seem long and the odds are not in your favor from the very beginning. The abilities sold by merchants require too much gold to acquire, and the bosses standing in your way will devour your lives at an incredible speed. In addition to this, Hammerwatch goes against the modern trend of procedural level generation, so you will repeatedly have to look at the same places.

Extra challenges await

The bonus levels are even more reminiscent of Gauntlet.

Of course, in the company of friends, all of this is not such a big problem. You rush through the corridors, destroying everything in your path with fire, sword, and bow, only stopping to drink potions and consult the map. But in the midst of the bloody massacre, you will realize how effectively the simple elements of Hammerwatch can create a sense of genuine panic.

For example, kiting plays a big role here. Most enemies, upon noticing you, give chase, forming a long, deadly line. It becomes clear why the best levels in the game are labyrinthine. Every dead end and dark corner poses serious problems, and the inability to shoot backwards turns you into a raging madman, pushing forward regardless. At times, Hammerwatch resembles a racing game (at least on a gamepad – keyboard controls are unusually inconvenient), as you speed past enemies, adding them to the crowd of your pursuers.

Crafting levels with the level editor

Anything else? There are survival and attacking wave modes here, there is a sophisticated editor, and the delightfully messy pixel graphics enhance the atmosphere of the same game, which serves as an obvious inspiration. Hammerwatch will not impress you with its depth, but its old-fashioned appearance and combat mechanics are worth getting together with friends or waiting for partners among the small online community.

Action, Adventure, Indie
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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