A hack and slash action adventure, set in a fantasy pixel art environment. Play solo or co-op in this adventure from bottom to top of Castle Hammerwatch. Kill hordes of enemies with varied looks and features through four unique environments with traps, hidden secrets and puzzles.
Recenziile utilizatorilor:
Recente:
Foarte pozitive (50 recenzii) - 88% din cele 50 recenzii ale utilizatorilor din ultimele 30 zile sunt pozitive.
Generale:
Foarte pozitive (4,629 recenzii) - 90% din cele 4,629 recenzii ale utilizatorilor pentru acest joc sunt pozitive.
Data lansării: 12 aug., 2013

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Cumpără Hammerwatch

Cumpără Hammerwatch 4-Pack

 

Actualizări recente Afișează tot - (6)

1 aprilie

Patch Notes for 1.32 (April 2016)

This is just a minor release with some bug fixes.

  • Starting game should no longer take a very long time when you're subscribed to many workshop items
  • Fixed multiple musics playing at the same time in custom games
  • Several crash fixes

14 comentarii Află mai multe

Steam Greenlight

Despre acest joc

A hack and slash action adventure, set in a fantasy pixel art environment. Play solo or co-op in this adventure from bottom to top of Castle Hammerwatch. Kill hordes of enemies with varied looks and features through four unique environments with traps, hidden secrets and puzzles.

Key Features

  • 6 different classes, with unique features and skills
  • Character development through unlocks and upgrades
  • Hard, medium and easy of course
  • Customize difficulty with several different modifiers
  • Controller support, supports various different gamepads
  • Multiplayer COOP, for up to four players, online, LAN and local
  • PC, MAC and Linux support
  • Mod and editing support, make your own levels and change other things to your liking

Cerinţe de sistem

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minim:
    • SO: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Procesor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memorie: 1 GB RAM
    • Grafică: OpenGL 1.4 Compatible
    • Stocare: 300 MB spațiu disponibil
    Recomandat:
    • SO: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Procesor: Any dual core
    • Memorie: 1 GB RAM
    • Grafică: OpenGL 2.0 Compatible
    • Stocare: 300 MB spațiu disponibil
    Minim:
    • SO: 10.8
    • Procesor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memorie: 1 GB RAM
    • Grafică: OpenGL 1.4 Compatible
    • Stocare: 300 MB spațiu disponibil
    Recomandat:
    • SO: 10.8
    • Procesor: Any dual core
    • Memorie: 1 GB RAM
    • Grafică: OpenGL 2.0 Compatible
    • Stocare: 300 MB spațiu disponibil
    Minim:
    • Procesor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memorie: 1 GB RAM
    • Grafică: OpenGL 1.4 Compatible
    • Stocare: 300 MB spațiu disponibil
    Recomandat:
    • Procesor: Any dual core
    • Memorie: 1 GB RAM
    • Grafică: OpenGL 2.0 Compatible
    • Stocare: 300 MB spațiu disponibil
Recenziile clienților
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Recente:
Foarte pozitive (50 recenzii)
Generale:
Foarte pozitive (4,629 recenzii)
Postate recent
USteppin
( 28.3 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 27 mai
Really fun and entertaining Gauntlet-style game. Various classes to choose from. Contains 2 lengthy campaigns. Also supports Steam Workshop with a lot of interesting content to download for free.
drdouglasdark
( 2.7 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 27 mai
For those of us old enough to have enjoyed the origional Gauntlet 1985 this is a pretty close clone! For those of you who aren't I need not pity you because now you can play Hammerwatch! Please note this game has no watches and no hammers!
Milan Mree Frozen
( 16.7 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 26 mai
Even though my brother kept insisting we were missing a plank, I essentially just assured him that 'it can't possibly be that important'.

So this is a game and it's a little like old gauntlet. It's not really that much reminiscent of it honestly, but it's still pretty close. Regardless it's quite enjoyable. I'd say that it can be a tad lacking if you're only playing singleplayer, but the four man online mplayer is pretty much where it will shine. I'd say that if you're considering getting it as a singleplayer experience you should make sure it's the type of game you want really.

I don't actually have many problems with the game in terms of it's mechanics and the like. It functions pretty well overall, but the 'combos' that some classes benefit from feel a bit awkward. At the same time you are kind of like 'man we need to keep this combo going!' so it can be a tad bit exciting. Still kinda awkward though. I don't really feel great about the lives system. I never really encountered it as being a problem per say, but when you can save and load it feels a little bit more of a second thought.

I like the abilities and the fact you can sorta 'spec' into things, but it feels like you are just going to spec broadly because of the exponential increase in cost. It's fine though I feel, just not amazing.

Overall the game is solid, but nothing to call game of the year. I'd still recommend it. Make sure you check a gameplay video out before buying!
EvanBread
( 14.6 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 24 mai
Product received for free
Very fun game. Even more fun if you have a group of friends to play with. 10/10.
Foxtrot
( 28.2 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 24 mai
Sweet game. I really had a lot of fun playing this with my friends.
Boomhauer
( 83.4 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 23 mai
If you like easter eggs and coop dungeon crawling

This is the game for you
Der_Teufelshund
( 11.1 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 21 mai
Just a good romp with friends. It feels like an old game, but with the smoothness of a modern game. Worth.
kozlek
( 1.5 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 21 mai
Game control is awful. I don't want to play with keyboard. Steam contoller support if broken. I didn't succeeded to host multiplayer game - it's impossible to access all the options. Or may be possible by some contrintuitive way. So, very bad. Deleted. Don't recommend to buy this game. Don't support bad products.
Zelacks
( 19.4 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 18 mai
its great, play it please
Cubicles
( 17.5 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 13 mai
Fun game 10/10 , would die 100 times across the entire campaign again.
Urko
( 7.1 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 10 mai
Awesome pixel type dungeon crawler game.
firstamazon
( 10.2 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 10 mai
Play with your friends and each can be a character. It's so fun and addicting that it was the only thing I played for months. It's a classic arcade RPG game, and you should really try it before going to Gauntlet, its "modern" version.

Tips: when with friends, do not go alone. If you are alone, take a quick look before rushing into some area. And DO NOT forget the planks! If you do... well, you'll just have to play it all over again to see the end of the game (seriously).
Admiral CrazyMarcel
( 1.7 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 10 mai
Product received for free
Very nice Indiegame ;)
Buy it and fight against bugs and worms :3
Aidan
( 19.0 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 8 mai
I had more fun playing this game than i was expecting, extremely challenging at times but in the best ways possible.
Hawns
( 20.2 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 7 mai
Hammerwatch is a good game, the main story has 12 floors and 4 bosses, I believe, and the second story is more open world. With that said, there is still a lot of content to do, as there is the main story on all modes, as well as no mods, and then the new one with no mods. This can get repetitive, but there is lots of new aspects that improve the experience.
hitt.william
( 16.3 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 6 mai
Hammerwatch (at least the core game) is quite a fun time. I enjoy the twitchy nature of the gameplay, the reflexes, and the strategy that goes into tackling some of the more difficult rooms. In addition, I love the palpable feeling of becoming more powerful as you accumulate upgrades from vendors. I have a couple of gripes about the game, however. One is with the bosses in the game. The planning that goes into tackling some of the difficult rooms seems to go out the window during boss encounters. These often become more "bullet-hell" types of affairs. My co-op partner and I are currently stuck on the first boss in the Sun Temple expansion, which is an absolute incomprehensible nightmare. Secondly, I find that the gameplay does get a little stale. Many of the rooms in the game are very similar, and since I used only two skills with my Priest, there sometimes wasn't enough variety in attacks or in enemies to keep me truly engaged.
Sadie
( 0.1 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 6 mai
Hammerwatch looks like it's all about that co-op pixelly stuff. I voted for this to be Greenlit cos I thought it looked tech as and i'll probs play it one day :)
Larkhainan
( 6.9 ore înregistrate )
Postat: 5 mai
Good quality dungeon crawler that actually ends up having much the same tension as playing a retro FPS game. Think Doom, but played from above! Slashing and shooting scores of enemies while strafing around their vast legions.
+Solid visuals
+Excellent music
+Easy to pick up and play
+Love that oldschool feeling of hunting for secrets
+Good choice for MP with friends
-A bit too grindy
-More shallow than it needed to be
-Some elements feel poorly balanced in terms of risk vs reward
-VERY minor niggle but I wish gold had a bit of a 'magnet range' if you know what I mean. Picking up scattered coins can kinda slow the game's pace unnecessarily.

I like Hammerwatch, but I don't love Hammerwatch
Cele mai utile recenzii  În ultimele 30 zile
7 din 7 oameni (100%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
23.4 ore înregistrate
Postat: 4 mai
I can't quite put my finger on what it is about Hammerwatch that I love so much. The endless dungeon crawling should get tedious, but it doesn't. The lack of variety in enemies should get boring. The oh-so slow grind of upgrading powers should be faster. The huge difficulty spikes of boss battles should be frustrating.

But somehow, Hammerwatch manages to be more than the sum of it's parts, and provides an answer to all of the potential failings I've mentioned. The lack of variety in enemies is offset by the fact that there's an enormous number of them, which come at you in various combinations, and the interaction with the level design keeps each encounter fresh. While the character upgrades are very slowly drip-fed, that means that you have ample time as the player to master nuances of each before having more powers laden on. The boss difficulty spikes are offset by the fact that the game provides you plenty of extra lives, notably handing you a stack of five at the end of each boss fight, presumably to make up for the slew of them you lost during said fight.

It's that balance that only starts to shine through a few hours into the game. Hammerwatch rewards and demands careful, smart play. Wade into a battle without an exit strategy in mind and you'll quickly be swamped by 50 enemies. Get surrounded, and you're toast. But go in knowing that you've cleared the hallway behind you so you can retreat that way, kiting the enemies into a more manageable grouping, and that you can trigger a combo with one power and use a combination heal/AoE with the other. and you'll stroll through the encounter.

The only possible downside is that once you've got your build mastered and your careful approach strategy down, the challenge can slacken off (with the exception of the punishing boss battles). Though to be fair, there are harder difficulty levels that I've not yet explored that may solve that issue.

I'll also note that I haven't even tried the co-op, which I expect will change up the feel of the game dramatically.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
3 din 4 oameni (75%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
2 oameni au considerat această recenzie amuzantă
Recomandat
17.5 ore înregistrate
Postat: 13 mai
Fun game 10/10 , would die 100 times across the entire campaign again.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
Cele mai utile recenzii  În ultimele 90 zile
32 din 34 oameni (94%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
96.1 ore înregistrate
Postat: 9 martie
Excellent game! Has that old school rpg look while incorporating smooth and responsive modern day controls. I'm sure this is a good game to play solo. Though I'd highly recommend playing it with a friend. As any shared experience is always the more fun one. And with this game dropped down to £1.74 on winter/summer sales. There really is no reason not to treat a friend to this game (Though you're really treating yourself to a more enjoyable experience).

Hammerwatch currently has six classes with ranged and/or close quarters attacks. With each having a magic spell or ability and other ones unlocking later in the game. Multiple upgrades including health, mana, armour, damage, and many more. Seven dungeons which include multiple layers and have seven challenging bosses to go with each. This game has all of the tell-tale qualities of classic dungeon crawler with a few secrets & Easter eggs thrown in there to.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
6 din 7 oameni (86%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
28.9 ore înregistrate
Postat: 8 aprilie
Hammerwatch
2D Dungeon Crawl Action RPG
Developed and Published by: Crackshell
Released: Aug 2013


General Impressions:
Hammerwatch is a well crafted and entertaining traditional top down 2D action game in the style of Gauntlet. Alone or online with up to three friends, choose one of 6 different classes and work your way through Castle Hammerwatch, filled with traps, secrets, and of course thousands of monsters to destroy, while spending your hard earned gold on upgrades for your characters.

Hammerwatch is at its normal or hard difficulties a punishing, yet rarely unfair game that gives a real sense of mastery as you get better, but it also has an easy difficulty as well as custom mutators you can set to tailor your game experience exactly how you like it.

The game is presented in simple top down 2D sprite graphics that have a retro feel to it, which may be offputting to some but I personally adore the art style. The controls are simple, the action is fast and the Castle itself is very well designed with tons of secrets and puzzles to solve between all the killing.

I'm having a great time playing this game, at time of writing having finished the main game in a private co-op group and just getting started on the (free) expansion. While the game is fun if you're going it alone, it definitely shines the brightest in multiplayer, especially if you want to play a melee character as certain situations are very, very tricky to pass without proper ranged damage.

While I haven't looked at it myself yet, there is also a level editor included and the Steam Workshop has a whole bunch of community created adventures you can play, potentially adding a heckton of hours to the longevity of the game.

If you see the game at a discount somewhere I can safely recommend a purchase if you like some throw back, uncomplicated dungeon crawling action. Especially so if you have a few friends you can pass around 4 pack copies to and drag along for the fun!
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
1 din 1 oameni (100%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
17.1 ore înregistrate
Postat: 13 martie
A little bomb ! Been playing it since it came out and before and the devs really did a great job on this !
This game is everything you want about gauntlet !

Choosing between this or the gauntlet of arrowhead is quite difficult but in the end I would still chose this one as
-The graphics are lovely pixel arts
-The characters do have a progression system unlike gauntlet
-Levels, boss and monsters have more varietly
-Classes are fun and well thought
-Finally, the modding support adds a lot to the game :)

Only thing the gauntlet of arrowhead has is
-Daily challenge stuff and so on which didn't really hook me.
-More action oriented
-Price :/

Definitely pick it, , it's cheap and way fun with friends! You'll never regret this investment !!!
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
1 din 1 oameni (100%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
O persoană a considerat această recenzie amuzantă
Recomandat
2.8 ore înregistrate
Postat: 27 martie
good ol' fashion doodoo fun
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
1 din 1 oameni (100%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
10.2 ore înregistrate
Postat: 3 aprilie
Unique, challenging, and a blast to play. Great game.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
2 din 3 oameni (67%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
43.2 ore înregistrate
Postat: 28 februarie
Hammerwatch is a successful tribute to an old arcade classic : Gauntlet (1985, Atari). The game is very similar with a top-down view (in a nice pixel art), waves of enemies to defeat, and the usual keys, doors and treasures. There is also a lot of rewarding secrets and puzzles. A blast from the past !
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
2 din 4 oameni (50%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
12.6 ore înregistrate
Postat: 7 martie
This game is cool!!! Yea!!!
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
Cele mai utile recenzii  În ultimele 180 zile
11 din 12 oameni (92%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
15.8 ore înregistrate
Postat: 29 ianuarie
A straight-up homage to Gauntlet that scratches that co-op, top down, dungeon crawling, loot collecting itch.

A couple of observations:

1. This game is way better as online co-op than living room co-op. With multiplayer on the same screen, you're always forced to stick together, but online you can split up and join back together through the multitude of passages.

2. All loot collected is shared! Hooray! I don't have to hate my partners, a la Four Swords, for stealing all my treasure.

3. This game brings back the "bad end" from the days of Ghosts n' Goblins and Bubble Bobble, and is too repetitive to crawl through twice. It should be more upfront on the importance of a certain item.

3. Re-map the autofire trigger to your main attack button, so it is both attack and autofire simultaneously. Your cramped hands will thank you.

A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
10 din 11 oameni (91%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
4 oameni au considerat această recenzie amuzantă
Recomandat
15.4 ore înregistrate
Postat: 21 februarie
Don't forget the planks.

I'm serious.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
9 din 11 oameni (82%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
62.9 ore înregistrate
Postat: 22 februarie
While exploring a castle dungeon, the collapse of a bridge have left you (and a few friends) stranded on your own. With the main party lost without your presence they decide to wait for you to find your way back to them. So off you embark on a journey of fortune and glory as you travel deeper into the dungeons of Castle Hammerwatch.

Set in a beautiful pixel-art world, Hammerwatch provides a challenging hack and slash adventure offering a fun solo and local co-op experience with a nice selection of classes to choose from, each with different abilties and playstyles. With plenty of hidden secrets and Easter Eggs, there is plenty to explore. With an extended campaign to the Sun Temple as well as user-created campaigns with the workshop, Hammerwatch offers a fun, but challenging experience.

Pros:
+ Beautiful pixel artwork
+ 2 campaigns as well as workshop support
+ Several classes to choose, each with their own abilities
+ Character progression
+ Hidden secrets and Easter Eggs
+ Controller support for a great couch co-op experience
+ Different difficulty modes (as well as extra challenge/help settings)
+ An auto-attack toggle in the settings (I found out about this way too late)

Cons:
- The main campaign's level layout is always the same (can be considered good and bad)
- The Sunwatch Temple campaign has pretty unfair bosses that may cause some frustration (while soloing at least)
- Online co-op community is quite inactive
- The Millionaire and Genocide achievements can be quite grindy

My Score: 7.5/10
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
7 din 9 oameni (78%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
8 oameni au considerat această recenzie amuzantă
Recomandat
41.4 ore înregistrate
Postat: 31 decembrie, 2015
2/10 can't hammer watches
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
1 din 1 oameni (100%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
12.1 ore înregistrate
Postat: 25 februarie
Excellent old school RPG best played with friends. Does get repetitive after a few runs. The dungeons would be better if they were shorter.. Plan 1-2 hours per play session to get past a single dungeon. Great game for $5, wait for it to go on sale.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
2 din 3 oameni (67%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
15.2 ore înregistrate
Postat: 1 ianuarie
FREAKING LOVE THIS GAME

if you just looking for a game to chill on this is the one for you
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
2 din 3 oameni (67%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
30.9 ore înregistrate
Postat: 19 februarie
Pretty good game.

Liked the DLC a lot more than the main story.

Things you may not like at first but will get used to: controls, repetitiveness.

Also community is very nice. It's possible to join others multiplayer game.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
2 din 3 oameni (67%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
3 oameni au considerat această recenzie amuzantă
Recomandat
40.5 ore înregistrate
Postat: 28 decembrie, 2015
Kill monsters, collect money, kill monsters, collect money, upgrade stats, repeat.
Kill monsters, collect money, kill monsters, collect money, upgrade stats, repeat.

Oh, a plank!

Kill monsters, collect money, kill monsters, collect money, upgrade stats, repeat.

Boss fight.

Kill monsters, collect money, kill monsters, collect money, upgrade stats, repeat...

Although it all sounds really boring and repetitve, I can assure you that the game mechanics are very addictive, so if you're into simple hacking and slashing, this game is definitely for you.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
3 din 5 oameni (60%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
5.7 ore înregistrate
Postat: 9 ianuarie
I have played multi-player for about 3 hours with my brother and I played solo thru the first dungeon defeating the first boss. I have tried all the classes for at least 10-15 minutes. So far, it's been a really fun game. If it's on sale, no brainer, buy it. It'll be worth your money and time. If it's not on sale, buy it if you like the original Gauntlet or any twin-stick shooter (for the record, it is NOT twin stick, but it's very similar).

I will say this: have a good graphics card. The system requirements say Open GL 1.4 minimum, but I could NOT get it to work on my laptop which meets the recommended requirements except for the Open GL 2.0. I would say minimum requirement is 2.0. Further, the graphics are really good if you do have the graphics card to support it.

Last note for this game and honestly for Steam and PC gaming in general if you like retro games... buy a game pad. This game absolutely requires it. I played on KB and controller. And the difference is huge.

Thank you and I hope this review helped you decide to buy it or not.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
3 din 5 oameni (60%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
Recomandat
12.8 ore înregistrate
Postat: 11 februarie
My biggest complaints are the lack of enemy diversity (imo the biggest flaw), their A.I and movement speed that takes away the potential threat they could be, aswell as no random/procedural generation. Otherwise, i had fun on it, in MP, and it delivered what i had expected, a retro-styled hack'n'slash roguelike-ish dungeon crawler. Maybe the game could use a bit more depth and be less repetitive/tedious at a time, but if you like the genre, you'll probably enjoy it. Grab a friend though, it improves the experience. I see a good potential in the moddability of this game. If you're highly critical of details or expect an RPG, you should probably avoid the game. At least i was happy finding that i can bind autoattacking on the same key as regular attacks. If devs could try and improve the few issues i've mentionned, it'd definitely make the game much more fun. Still good so far, and the workshop can increase the game's lifespan.
A fost această recenzie utilă? Da Nu Amuzantă
5 din 9 oameni (56%) au considerat această recenzie utilă
2 oameni au considerat această recenzie amuzantă
Recomandat
3.2 ore înregistrate
Postat: 1 ianuarie
The story of Hammerwatch truly is a modern masterpiece in storytelling. As the campaign begins, the line "The small bridge broke behind you...there is probably no way out!" is displayed.

And that's it. That's the plot.

Hammerwatch isn't the type of game that really needs a plot, however. The fact that the bridge broke and there is probably no way out is actually a decent introduction to the game as a whole: a light-hearted, if not a bit shallow, romp. In addition to the campaign, there is also a wave-based defense mode and the inclusion of a level editor for creating custom levels.

Doing its best to harken back to classic Gauntlet, Hammerwatch is a cooperative hack-and-slash action game. There are four classes to choose from: Paladin, Warlock, Ranger, and Wizard. Each class starts with a regular attack as well as a special attack that drains a certain amount of magic points. More special attacks are eventually unlocked, though it takes a bit too long to actually earn them. In my experience, nothing comes close to the effectiveness of a Ranger since their default attack pierces through enemies -- continuing its trajectory to harm even more enemies -- and their bomb special attack is perfect for kiting and killing large groups of enemies at a time.

It's also possible to strafe while moving, which is perhaps the most important thing to take away from this review if you buy Hammerwatch, as it’s not immediately apparent within the game. Mastering the strafe-and-attack is crucial for any class' survivability, since moving diagonally while attacking is so freaking useful.

There are a handful of secrets, puzzles, and obstacles that don't necessarily require fighting at all. Hidden rooms permeate each floor, and if the player keeps an eye out they should be able to find just about all of them. Puzzles are never too difficult, and in fact sometimes they are insultingly easy. These variants do a good job of breaking up the monotonous wave-clearing gameplay that makes up most of Hammerwatch.

Playing alone feels hollow, since a large part of the difficulty comes in the form of more and more of the same types of enemies being thrown at the player -- a challenge that's far easier to enjoy when in the company of friends. Single-player reveals the game's shallow mechanics; movement and two attacks don't really make for the most compelling gameplay.

Progression comes from a variety of vendors throughout the levels. Early on it is a very linear progression since only certain vendors are available. The first upgrade is the ability to combo, which allows players who kill at least 10 enemies in a row very quickly to gain a temporary boost to their stats. Later upgrades will build off of this, making it easier to combo and giving better benefits for comboing. By the end of the second act, players will finally have access to more special moves as well as having a little more open-endedness to their character's build.

The problem is that the end of the second act is a decent chunk of game away -- especially for players going it alone. While the level design is very open-ended and non-linear, the character progression is the exact opposite and takes way too long to become interesting. It can feel like forever when slogging through the seemingly endless waves of enemies with the basic attacks, waiting for something cool or interesting to happen.

At the gnarled and gore-encrusted heart of Hammerwatch is a combo system of pleasing simplicity. To trigger it, you must kill a bunch of enemies very quickly, and then once it's in motion, you can upgrade it in a number of straightforward ways - to deal 360-degree damage, say, or to heal. You can build it, too, by killing more enemies. It's action game design at its most basic, and it works.

In order to feed the combos, Hammerwatch needs to ensure that you have plenty of enemies to massacre at all times - and this is a favour it's very happy to grant. Grubs, skeletons, wandering eyeballs: these standard fantasy baddies wait for you in packs around every corner, spawning from pits or rotten tree trunks or mysterious fountains. Along with a standard attack, each character has a special that can generally be counted on to do a lot of damage at once, and so, as you move from combo to combo, a pleasant rhythm settles in. Throw yourself into the fray to power yourself up. Get into trouble so you can get out of trouble again.

1
The early levels drag on for a bit too long, and enemy variety is weak throughout. The thrill comes from the sheer numbers.
Around this central relationship is a game of equal simplicity, a straight-up dungeon-crawl in the spirit of Gauntlet. There's a handful of familiar character classes (the paladin's a melee tank with a deadly dash, for example, while the wizard's low on health but just look at the flames he can conjure); there's the lightest trace of a backstory (the bridge has collapsed behind you, so why not keep going, eh?); and the bulk of the game consists of working your way up through a series of stacked dungeons, eviscerating baddies, standing on rune-splattered pressure plates to unlock secret areas or open the path to the boss, grabbing all the gold you can find, and then using your spoils to make you incrementally better at eviscerating baddies.

Like Gauntlet, the whole thing's designed around multiplayer, of course, and you should know in advance that if you're soloing Hammerwatch, it's a bit of a slog. Levels are longer than you might expect and the odds are stacked heavily against you from the off. The perks you buy at vendors scattered about the maps take a little too long to get entertaining, and the bosses present roadblocks that will eat through your remaining lives with astonishing speed. On top of that, Hammerwatch goes against the current trend of procedural generation, so you're going to trudge across identical early levels over and over as you get better.

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Bonus levels make the homage even clearer. Gauntlet forever!
With friends, of course, none of this matters: you bundle around the corridors and arenas in a bait-ball of chaos, letting rip with melee, ranged and specials at anything that presents itself. You'll stop only to glug a potion or to check the map, and in the midst of the carnage, you'll start to realise that Hammerwatch's simple pieces are surprisingly effective at generating moments of proper panic.

This is the kiting-est game ever made, for example. Most enemy behaviour is tailored to give chase, so foes quickly form huge pursuing crowds - and this might explain why the best levels on offer turn out to be mazes. Dead ends and blind corners present glorious risks when you can't shoot backwards over your shoulder, and they tend to bring out the best in you as a result - they transform you into the frantic, cornered hero, determined to blast a way out of trouble no matter what. At times, Hammerwatch almost feels like a racing game (at least it does if you're using a pad rather than the surprisingly wretched keyboard controls) as you steer through wandering fiends at speed, gathering a pack of nasties in your wake.

Beyond all that? There are wave-based and survival modes and a rather daunting editor, and there's the delightfully grubby pixel art to take in throughout, which offers just the same kind of mead-splattered ambience as the game that so obviously inspired it. There's precious little depth lurking in Hammerwatch, then, but if you've got a few friends handy or are willing to wait around online for the worryingly small community to make itself known, this is genuine old-fashioned skeleton-bashing with a gloriously tidal approach to chucking in the enemies.

7 / 10
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