Game Title: HammerWatch
Developed By: BlitWorks
Published By: BlitWorks
Released: December 14, 2017
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG, Other
ESRB Rating: Everyone for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
Number of Players: 1-4 Players
Thank you to BlitWorks for this review code!
I remember a couple years ago playing HammerWatch on my PC and loving it. I always thought it would make a great handheld game, and years later, we have it on the Nintendo Switch. This game is just awesome! It has multiple modes, quick action, dual stick controls for combat, multiple characters and a future online mode. There is enough content there to keep you entertained for hours on end and I recommend you play this game now!
There are two campaigns, one where you are in castle Hammerwatch and work you way up the castle floors and one in the dessert. There are about four acts and each one can take several hours to get through. In the Temple of the Sun campaign you must kill Krilith. The locations are very nice in the campaign’s as they are distinct from each other. One has a castle setting, one is in the dessert. In these modes you will battle it out level after level. You start by selecting one of several characters. There is a paladin, wizard, ranger, warlock, thief, priest, and a sorcerer. These are all unique characters with their own stats, attacks, and skills. As you progress through a level you will acquire gold, which you get from defeating enemies, boxes, creates, and secret passageways filled with treasure chests. All this gold will be spent on upgrading your character in different ways. You can upgrade your health, defense, mana, attack power, your dodge chances, and combos. When you get multiple kills you start a chain, and later in the game you can upgrade this so once you get that chain or combo going, a burst of energy will shoot out, or you will be able to heal yourself, etc. You will be able to buy potions, that can revive you when your dead, or heal you. There are plenty of things to upgrade and spend your hard-earned cash on. I picked the ranger class when I started, and I think is my favorite because you can move and attack at the same time. Most of the other classes you stop when you attack, which changes the way you play and what you upgrade. Secrets abound in each area, with multiple hidden rooms, which will reward you with gold, or a new merchant to spend your money on. There are even teleports to other areas of the castle, or they warp you to a bonus level. In the bonus levels, there are lots of gold to collect if you can survive and exit the level. Walls can be broken, there are hidden switches; it is amazing how many secrets there are. This makes it so much fun to explore every nook and cranny of each level. You will be rewarded. Each level is filled with enemies bent on killing you. In the first act it was mostly beetles and worms, some were more powerful versions of themselves. There are boss fights at the end of each act that prove a challenge. Later, you will battle skeletons, bats, etc. It’s surprising how many enemies appear on screen at once and it can feel overwhelming.
There are two other game modes called, Survival and Hero Defense. In Survival, you must free the curse of the mines. Once you run out of lives it is game over and you must start over. This mode is challenging, and I haven’t gotten very far. Yet it gives you a break from the main campaign which is nice. The last mode is a Hero Defense mode, where endless waves of enemies will rain down on you and you must try to survive if you can. You have a life bar on the side of the screen, that will drain each time an enemy makes it to the end of the arena, though you get a thousand gold each time an enemy gets by you, but it also is killing you. Once you run out of life it will be game over. You can upgrade all your stats in between waves. There is online play, though it is coming in a future update. I am not sure what this entails, but even being able to play all the game modes, online with friends would be awesome. As of now, you can play locally with other people only.
There are ways to customize each mode. You can choose between easier, medium, or hard. You can also add modifiers to make the game easier or harder. There are challenge modifiers like: No Extra Lives, 1 HP, Shared HP Pool, no HP Pickups, No Mana Regen, or Reverse HP Regen. These will add a crazy amount of challenge and will test even the best at this game. There are other modifiers called crutches which include: Infinite lives, HP regen, Double Damage, Double Lives, 5x Mana Regen. These can be mixed and matched to your hearts content.
The graphics are cute and are detailed in the pixel art. There is detail in the levels with moss and mold growing in the dungeon, the lighting, the way enemies explode. It is all fantastic and looks great. The music is what you expect in a dungeon, RPG, twin stick, adventure game. The controls are great, and it runs well on the Switch. There was a bug I ran into, where the music seems to just cut off into the next track, and one time this enemy sound kept playing over the music until I completely restarted the game. There are some graphic glitches sometimes when moving to different areas, only in the corners. None of theses issues break the game and I am sure they will be sorted out in the future.
Hammerwatch is an awesome game! You shouldn’t wait to pick this up, and is a steal at just under twenty dollars. There is enough content here to keep you gaming for hours on end. Pick it up today!
Score: 88% Fantastic!