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Heroes of Hammerwatch Review: Shoot Your Shot

/ Feb 10th, 2021 No Comments

Heroes of Hammerwatch review

The beautiful thing about video games is how hard a good one is to put down. The roguelite genre can make the game even harder to put down with its “run” structure. By putting the pressure on you to succeed or die, you get a confluence of challenge and addiction.

Heroes of Hammerwatch takes that confluence and runs with it. Not only is a fun solo experience, but it gets better when playing with others. The game has a depth of content to explore creating a ton of replayability.

Bringing Coal Back to Kentucky

Met well, intrepid mercenary! It sounds like you want to help out. Welcome to The Outlook, a town fallen on hard times. Our latest directive from Mayor Michael…when he arrived 30 minutes ago is to make The Outlook grea…restore The Outlook to its former glory!

We have a foolproof plan to do that…retaking the mines! By getting the ore back from the mines, we’ll be able to fix this town up. The real question is, mercenary…are you brave and strong enough to bring ore back to The Outlook?

Heroes of Hammerwatch review
Cool…sure thing, Mayor!

The most elegant part of Heroes of Hammerwatch is how A to B its premise is. You, a mercenary, are tasked with going down into a mine and killing monsters with the express purpose of bringing ore and gold back up to the surface to rebuild the town. 

As with all good premises in video games this mission creates a wonderful symbiotic relationship between gameplay and story. Killing monsters helps you get ore (and it’s fun as heck). The ore you bring back to the town and use to rebuild it confers upon you upgrades in various forms that are directly related to what parts of the town you improve. By improving the town and getting upgrades, you’re able to go deeper into the mine, kill more monsters, and get more ore! Simple, effective, and addictive.

Heroes of Hammerwatch review
Boss fights come after grueling floors full of ravenous enemies.

What makes this relationship even better is the roguelite nature of the game. Every trip down into the mine is one shot. When you die, you’ll find yourself back in The Outlook. If you’re smart you sent some ore and gold back to town while you were in the mines. If you got too cocky and didn’t want to pay the tax then you’re broke. Now the town won’t improve and you can’t buy anything useful to continue making headway.

While you retain any experience you earn from killing monsters, grinding out experience alone won’t help you get deeper into the mine. The key is to restore parts of the town, collect gold, and buy some permanent upgrades. Fortunately, there is always another run. Heroes of Hammerwatch has a perfect “one more run” structure. The best part about the game is it doesn’t feel too daunting because you can still make some forward progress even if a particular run wasn’t great.

I Walk Alone or With Friend or a Stranger

While Heroes of Hammerwatch can be played solo, it really comes alive when playing multiplayer. The same great gameplay gets extra dimensions when playing with another player(s). Be they friend or rando, the cringe cliche of teamwork makes the dream work rings true.

Heroes of Hammerwatch review
There is a lot of game to enjoy in Heroes of Hammerwatch.

The mine is a perilous path, but with a partner(s) you can make it further than you thought possible. The best part about multiplayer is the ability to save a downed ally and for the game to continue as long as one player is still going. 

What’s cool about this aspect is you get that dope glory spot of saving the game when you’re the last one left. It’s like playing solo, but the stakes are extremely high. This isn’t simply your run you’re worrying about, it’s everyone’s run. So no pressure!

Overall

Heroes of Hammerwatch nails the roguelite “one more run” formula. It’s a testament to how engrossing the gameplay is that even after your umptenth death, you still want to move forward. Thanks to a ton of content, you can keep going for “one more run” for a good long while!

Heroes of Hammerwatch was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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HEROES OF HAMMERWATCH REVIEW: SHOOT YOUR SHOT

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall82%

GAMEPLAY8.5

Heroes of Hammerwatch’s combat feels great! It is easy to grasp, but deepens as your hero levels up and enemies get tougher.

GRAPHICS7.5

Heroes of Hammerwatch has a very functional look, but has good dungeon design and a great sense of scale.

SOUND7.5

Heroes of Hammerwatch's score does the trick when you're doing run after run!

REPLAYABILITY9.5

Thanks to a ton of content, a great multiplayer, and strong roguelite sensibilities, you’ll find a lot of reasons to keep playing Heroes of Hammerwatch.