HAMMERFIGHT / KranX Productions / PC
 
 
Hammerfight in a nutshell - intriguing idea, but oh my god what the hell is even happening with this gameplay.

The concept is fantastic. You're in this world that's like medieval Arab/Prince of Persia style, but with steampunk technology. For some bizarre reason, combat in this world is largely conducted with flying ramshackle wood peda-copter type things that have various weapons hanging off of them. The game is entirely controlled by mouse, and you fly the copter around, trying to use momentum and gravity to swing your weapon into a foe (while they usually do the same to you.)

Supposedly the game actually has a rich story, branching paths, etc. All of which means absolutely nothing when it slams you into a wall of over-difficult, confusing, hard-to-control gameplay literally as soon as you start it up.

The game bizarrely explains to you what a mouse is (see screenshot) before then throwing you into Pedacopter Arena against your first foe with no further explanation. First off, having to scrape the mouse around constantly for movement is a terrible design decision. If you don't have the desk space, or a very good mouse, or are using a trackpad on a laptop or a tablet or something, you simply aren't playing this game as there's no other options. The very first battle is also downright mean. The first foe charges right at you, but unbeknowst to you as it was hidden by text displays just prior to the battle's start, there's a rock wall both right above and below you that will take off massive health if you follow your natural reflex of flicking up or down to dodge the guy. The very first dude also has ridiculous amounts of health that you have to whittle away, while simply crashing into a wall accidentally a couple of time smashes your copter to bits and forces you to restart the battle. And it doesn't get any easier from here.

Honestly I didn't get very far in this game. One of the selling points is that you can eventually customize your Death Copter to make it either a slower and heavier damage-dealer or a lighter and nimbler blade weilder that does less damage but is much more manueverable. The only problem is, apparently it's hours into the game before you can even choose your type of copter, and you're stuck with clunky shitty ones until then.

No adjustable difficulty or any other modes besides struggling through the insane story challenges means there's simply no way to ease into this game and come to grips with it, it's a constant trial by fire. Gamers have easy access to literally thousands of games now at their fingertips; it really doesn't matter how many wonderful qualities your game has if it's all locked away until you come to grips with godawful gameplay, because most people are just going to do the sensible thing and move on to something else rather than beating their heads against the wall for hours trying to adapt to and compensate for poor design decisions. Like I'm doing right now. Hammerfight has been out for two years now, so I wouldn't expect any significant post-release improvement at this point either. Just avoid.
 
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