Saturday, July 10, 2021

July 10, 2021
Are you looking for a unique roguelite?

Heroes of Hammerwatch may be worth your consideration. Don't confuse it with Hammerwatch (which was released 5 years earlier) the coop dungeon crawler. Heroes of hammerwatch is basically the same game with all the neat quality-of-life improvements and near infinite replayability added. It's still a dungeon crawler, it's still coop or singleplayer - but, it's now a roguelite instead of roguelike.

Classic feel repolished

If you've played Hammerwatch, you'll quickly notice Heroes of Hammerwatch looks and feels quite similar in many ways. Including the stages, traps and monsters. The interface has changed and other elements have been kicked up and polished just enough to feel a little smoother. Controls now include the mouse (hammerwatch did not), a redone gui, icons and various other graphical tweaks and improvements. The main game still features a big tower to climb, punishing bosses and the same cooperative (4 player) team with which to get through the trap filled tower.

More skills

Your basic left mouse button attack, right mouse button to perform a skill are still there, but have been expanded with a mouse3 and mouse4 skill. Aside that, each class has access to a few unique passives. The BIG difference with the original Hammerwatch is that you can upgrade all your skills. Also, there's now 7 basic classes (up from the original 6) as well as 2 more classes from the DLCs. Which puts the total up to 9. You can find the DLC on steam, not on Humble for some odd reason. And they're cheap, only a few dollars.

As you progress up the tower you'll find ore, and gold. The two basic ingredients with which to upgrade the base town. Every upgrade increases the number of available tiers worth of class upgrades, skills, items, you name it.

Some vendors may need to be found as a random event (like the inn, or the sorcerer), but once found they will be available for any future playthrough where you host the game.

As you kill monsters your character will grow stringer (level up!). Since this is a roguelite - you keep your levels after a death. By default the game has a level cap of 20 - but your progression does not end there by any means. You can go up 5 extra levels each time you beat a new game plus, or plus plus plus plus. The growth all scales up for many months worth of playthroughs.

Upgrades to infinity

Once you cap out the town, finish your levels and skills, there's something else to note. All the classes give perks to your other classes. For example if you beat the first boss with the archer - all your other classes gain +2 weapon skill. Permanently, free of charge. If you were to do the same with the Paladin, they'd all gain a permanent +2 armor. The second, third (and so forth) bosses all improve this global benefit. And this benefit extends through the ladders into New Game plus. This ensures you have a reason - and get a benefit for all future playthroughs as different classes.

Aside boss kills, just about everything else is tracked as well. Gold found, gold spent, items bought, items gambled. "A lot" does not begin to cover it. These give achievement points and increases the overall fame of your "guild". As the guild (your collection of characters) grows in game, so do your rewards. New characters start with higher skill points.

As mentioned there's a few DLC for the game. One is just (cheap) a new class - the witch hunter. The other two add new areas. In particular the City of Stone, and the Path of Sorrow. Higher level dungeons each with new bosses, enemies and items to find.

The City of Stone in particular has an interesting mechanic where you may construct a statue that boosts your stats. Currently there is no known limit to the level of these. So you could continue upgrading this statue at an increasing cost all the way to infinity.

Fight the boss

The first two bosses are a pushover. Easy by comparison to the later fights. Yes you will die - a lot. Bring friends, or better, bring three friends. If you get killed a friend will be able to resurrect you "once". After getting resurrected you will become soul-linked. Which basically means your fates (life/death) are linked together. The next time either of the two of you gets killed, you will both snuff it. If you have more friends, you'll have more chances to repeat this mistake. There are only two ways to remove a soul link, death, or finding a graveyard. At the graveyard you may clean the soul-link debuff and be "reborn". Ready to fight, or die again.

The later fights will push your cooperative skills to the limit. Below is the fourth boss. (Not so much a spoiler) He will mess you up good.

If you've beaten a boss (every 3 floors initially), the next time you reach the first floor of a biome, you are given the option to skip that biome by entering a red portal. Nothing comes for free though, you will have to defeat a growing horde of enemies before you are overwhelmed. As a bonus for skipping 3 floors and a boss, you're given 8 random items to improve your power for this run. Items are lost between runs however - but you'll find great synergy in them with your other skills.

Heroes of Hammerwatch was released in 1 March, 2018. It features three DLC at the time of writing:
- Witch Hunter (class)
- Pyramid of Prophecy (new zone and bosses)
- Moon Temple (new zone and bosses)

The game is cheap, especially during a sale. And the DLC even more so if you consider the added playtime they provide you in a game that's already hours and hours of fun.

Since it's a pixel art style game, the system requirements are very mild:

- Windows 7+, Intel core duo, 2 GB ram, OpenGL 3.2+, DirectX 11, 500 MB disk space.