Heroes of Hammerwatch: Ultimate Edition (XSX) Review with stream

A top-down twin-stick roguelite, Heroes of Hammerwatch: Ultimate Edition is a bit of a hidden gem. Although I am exhausted of the insane amount of roguelite titles released in each for the last few years, Hammerwatch managed to separate itself from the overcrowded genre by offering a tough-but-fair gameplay loop coupled with intuitive controls and fun co-op dungeon crawling. This Ultimate Edition also includes the previously released DLC at no additional charge.

Starting in a worn town, it is your job to venture through the caves to collect ore and gold, killing all sorts of monsters and creatures along the way. Ore is used to slowly upgrade your town, introducing new features to the players like increasing the number of shops available, while gold is used within those shops to buy and upgrade your gear. Never short of things to buy or upgrade, having a carrot constantly dangled in front of the player is the main gameplay hook that sticks deep.

Essentially a Gauntlet or even a Diablo-like clone, the top-down dungeon exploring gameplay is always a pleasure.  Be warned, however, as playing solo is a difficult venture as you can often get overwhelmed by enemies if not careful and traps can take you out before you know what hit you. Each character on screen, friend and foe, are tiny specks but that just means the player can see more information at one time.  Since these dungeons are often large and windy, it is nice to see everything all at once although it can make nailing that bad guy a little harder. Worry not though as the twin stick control is intuitive, thoughtful, and fluid.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem isn’t actually with the game itself – it is the player base. Designed around a 4-player online experience, there were literally zero players when I tried to find an online game. Each night I would try to find someone, anyone, to play online but came up empty each time. This is a shame because this quest is designed to be played with others and loses a lot when played solo.  If you can find an online friend or two, it will probably be pretty awesome whereas individual players will need to watch his own back which is rather difficult.

Even though I am tired of roguelike titles, Heroes of Hammerwatch rejuvenated my enthusiasm for this congested genre. Although I am bummed I couldn’t find online companions to take my side, I still enjoyed my time dying-and-trying-again thanks to the thoughtful gameplay loop of constantly questing for better gear and upgrades. I think a game like this would do much better on a service like GamePass so it can immediately become available to more players so maybe one day the Hammerwatch and receive the recognition that it deserves. 

SCORE: 8/10

Not To Be Confused With: Heroes of Mana

Not As Epic As: Heroes of Might & Magic

Don’t Forget About: Heroes of the Storm

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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