Friday, July 30, 2010


Hammerfight (formerly Hammerfall) is a physics action adventure game available for the PC on Steam. It is one of the most innovative games I have ever played, and that is saying a lot. The graphics are good, very good actually for such a small title. Additionally, it has a branching plot that is universally praised and adds quite a bit or replayability. The physics are great and quite a lot of the environment is destructible.

You play as a little battle copter thing, moving it around with your mouse, with a 2D side view. You can attach various battle implements to your machine {shields, swords, maces, guns, throwing weapons} and your main attack method is flying in circles at the right speed and angle to swing the weapon and hit your opponent. Their is a lot of skill involved; It is not easy to get the weapons swinging properly and their are different ways to go about trying to do so. Additionally, your weapons can be used to disarm your opponent or to block their strikes; Hitting an enemies weapon just right and with enough power can knock it off of their ship, giving you a huge advantage; And your weapon is the most sturdy and indestructible part of your ship and is excellent at blocking and deflecting blows. Also, instead of going for a strong hit you can try to push the enemy into a wall, damaging him and lining him up for a devastating attack, or another foe, damaging and entangling then both and throwing them out of position.

The main game consists of a series of area battles, some with hordes of enemies poring into the area, others with a few hard enemies, and still others which are boss battles. Periodically you are asked to make a choice, your answer dictates which path you follow; Additionally, how you do in some battles and challenges dictate your next branch. In addition to the main game their are a few very fun mini games, that will give you weapons and upgrades if you do well in them for use in future mini games or the main game. The most notable of these mini games is one modelled after a simplistic version of baseball and another similar to soccer. And if you are interested in multiplayer you can play with up to four mouses hooked up to one computer.

The weapons are very diverse and interesting. Not only can you add singing stones to add special attributes to your weapons, but all the weapons play very differentially to begin with. The swords are very sharp but short, you need to get closer to your enemies and will not be able to build up as much energy in your swing. While conversely the maces, in general, are connected to your machine with a chain (which enemies can pass though) and are blunt and heavy (in general) allowing you to give a huge punch to anyone in a wide circle around you. Multiple weapons/armour can be attached at the same time, the limiting factor is mostly their weight, the more you pile on the heavier and therefore slower you will be. The game is moderately loot/upgrade based, you can acquire weapons and upgrades by either winning them in a match, picking them up from your fallen enemies, or buying them. These weapons are stored in your own personal armoury, with a stop for one of every weapon in the game.

Note:  A "version" of Hammerfight (Hammer Wars) has been released on the PSP, by a different developer. This game has differences from the original and I have never played it. This review is based solely on Hammerfight for the PC.

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