Hammerwatch Nintendo Switch Review

Developer: Crackshell

Publisher: Blitworks Games 

Review copy provided by Blitworks

Release Date: Out now

Price as of Article: $9.99 £8,99

Story

This is a great introduction as it’s one of the most simple stories you will ever see and sets things off perfectly. Your friends are stuck over the other side of a bridge. You cannot get to them and they cannot get to you. That’s it, everything else is left to your imagination. You start your adventure in the Hammerwatch castle and your goal is to escape.

Audio

The musical score is excellent in this indie game the game starts off with a great dramatically piece which instantly draws you in and  for me at least I could not wait to get started. Each of the two campaigns has a great piece of music which doesn’t get repetitive too quickly. The survival mode and hero defence modes each also each had their own musical pieces and all were very good. The music in game was something I enjoyed and it’s something I would expect from a more expensive game. Sound here effects do the job.

Visuals

Let’s be straight this is not the prettiest game to look at. Even compared to other dungeon crawlers you could say there are prettier games out there of this sort for sure. Everything is quite pixelated and this will either be to your tastes or it won’t be but it’s certainly retro and old school which for me is fine. I played hours and hours of dungeon crawlers so for me unless your comparing to Diablo the graphics are not what your here for. The visuals do have some nice lighting effects, the classes look decent and I like the enemy designs but everything is quite basic. The game ran smoothly in both docked mode and handheld whether playing solo or with a party of players. This is certainly not a game which is going to push the switch.

Hamerwatch maggots
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What I did find odd was the excessive loading times. If playing survival mode it took forty seconds to load which is way too long for this sort of game. I did also encounter random crashes from time to time which while not a deal breaker can be quite annoying if you have not saved the game at a save point.

Gameplay

This is a game which has quite a bit in common with games such as Diablo and Gauntlet which are both games I loved. Diablo 3 is a game I played with friends often online. This game should be looked at one as playing with friends because that how the game is most enjoyed. Over the Christmas period I had the pleasure of playing this locally with 3 others and then for a prolonged period with my channel partner James.

There are seven classes to choose from listed below and each have their strengths and weaknesses and some are more fun to play than others. Each has a health and mana metre which of course need to be topped up.

  • Paladin.
  • Wizard.
  • Ranger.
  • Warlock.
  • Thief.
  • Priest.
  • Sorcerer.

I have always enjoyed playing ranged classes like Wizards or Rangers. In this game the ranger is probably best for beginners and to play solo as it allows you to take out enemies from afar. Priests are great as long as you play in a party of players as these guys are essential for healing up. You can of course play this game solo and I am certain some will enjoy it like this. The difficulty is adjusted dependent on how many are playing and you can adjust the difficulty in the title screen if you want a sterner challenge. I will say though that the game for me was certainly more fun in a party of two, three or four. If you are looking to purchase this for the solo experience then bare in mind it is quite simple game made up of two basic attacks and can become repetitive. It’s just way more compelling with friends.

hammerwatch castle
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Each class has two basic skills one of those is usually the main attack and the second if your a Paladin is a dash, the ranger it’s the ability to leave a bomb which explodes after a couple of seconds. The beauty of this game when playing with pals is getting the balance of your chosen classes right to get as far into the game as possible. You will have a number of lives for the group. If one of you dies then the group loses a live which is quite a good system but really frustrating when a lesser skilled played let’s the side down.

There are 2 campaigns to choose from and two other modes , one which is survival where you have one life to try and free the haunted Crystal Mines and Hero Defence where you have to defeat wave after wave of attack. These modes are nice to have once you have completed the two main campaigns and can be played with friends also.

There are also a number of NPc’s you can visit through out the Castle or the Temple of the sun which was the expansion added to this game as it has been out on PC since 2013. It’s all about collecting coins to upgrade your characters so they become stronger and more skilled. One of the mechanics within the game is the combo meter which can be unlocked by purchasing it from an NPC. However, you will also need enough coins to buy the special power which works with the combo metre otherwise the combo metre is utterly useless. This system works fantastically well if your playing solo but in multiplayer it was very hit and miss as the player getting the hits would activate their combo metre but then other players would find it more difficult to do so.

Another issue is the game when playing in a party doesn’t always feel like the balance is always quite right so you will have to experiment with the classes. Once you lose all of your lives you will have to start the whole thing again which can be a little frustrating. The one saving grace is if you saved the game before death you can start from that particular point but you may have may be at a vulnerable state already so it may just be worth starting again. In some situations everyone in the group may perish but one is able to stay alive. If this person finds some lives then the rest of the group revives which is nice to see.

Killing enemies is certainly satisfying and at first you may think there is little variety but things soon get more interesting. Once you get to your first large boss then the difficulty spike may surprise you! it does jump up in difficulty quite a bit and my worry is some players may give up at that point as they won’t want to grind through all over again.

The controls here are of a duel stick nature, one stick to aim and the other to aim your attack. Right trigger is used for your main attack and left for secondary. It also supports single joycon play but it’s certainly not the best way to play this one. The controls work well and are responsive and it’s great that anyone could pick this up and play without worrying too much about complexities.

For me personally despite some of the issues I mentioned, this is a game I enjoyed but more so with another player who is of a similar skill level to you. There are traps to traverse and puzzles to solve as well as killing mini bosses, bosses and big bosses. There are secrets to find also and two big dungeons to explore which is going to give you hours of fun. This is not a procedural generated game like many others we have seen and so once completed you may lose interest unless you want to try a differing difficulty. If playing with friends though it’s always great to load up.

This review was written by Juan Romero for his owned website SwitchWatch

value

This game is priced on the money, for £8.99 or $9,99  there is no complaints from us. If you enjoy Dungeon Crawlers and want to play with friends locally then don’t hesitate. There is an option for online on the menu but this is not live yet which is a bit of a tease as I would have loved to have played this with friends online. I think once this launches it will give the game an extra string to it’s bow which will make it even easier to recommend.