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28 Oct 2020

REVIEW: Hammerting (Early Access) on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
"Hammerting is a vertical dwarven mining colony sim with RPG elements."
That is how the game is sold, and it sounds pretty good, you are in charge of a mine, you have control of dwarves, you build, craft and fight. Surely this is Dungeon Keeper for 2020 right? Not quite.

So, the basic story is that there is a war going on overground, dwarves are working underground to help their allies overground, you start with just a few Dwarves but you can then hire more, you upgrade them, and so on. When you click on the door to the mine, you see a map and are able to choose challenge to accept. This all sounds pretty simple doesn't it, and if it was simple, then I would love this game, the problem is, that it is not simple its overly complicated and confusing.

The first hour of gameplay I was literally trying to figure out how to get a dwarf to just do what I wanted it to do, you see you can't actually tell a dwarf to do a specific task, you have to instead queue up tasks and then the dwarves will decide themselves what to do, the problem is half the time they just seem to stand about idle, or do not go where you need them to, and this is not on purpose either. The game is full of bugs, and because you can't physically tell a dwarf to do something, you will soon get massively frustrated by these bugs.

Another problem with this game is that it is a vertical builder, but you mine into the wall you are looking at, so despite you having what should be a 2D area that you are interacting with, you actually end up with 3 layers, which just adds to the confusion. It also doesn't help that the tutorial to help you start is utterly useless. Remember how I mentioned Dungeon Keeper earlier? Remember how each level you would be eased into things, gathering gold, building, mining and so on, this game just kind of throws you in there.

The layout is also poorly designed, for example I knew that I had to access the inventory, but there is no inventory button anywhere on the screen, after giving up a few times and then emailing the PR person promoting the game, I eventually figured out that each room you build has it's own inventory that is a box to the side of the pop up window when you click on it. 

I can moan about this game for ever but I will stop here, the game is still Early Access, and it has lots of potential, the team who are developing it are quick to reply, they are open to listening and trying to improve the game. There is also a free demo you can play, I advise you to check out the demo, and if you like it and want to stick with it and watch it grow, then go for it. But for me, even if this game was perfect, I don't think it is worth £20. This could be a browser game. Dungeon Keeper it is not.

Such a shame as just the description of the game had me so excited. Maybe after a few months when the bugs are all fixed, and they improve the interface, and make the game more playable, then I might come back and give it another go, but even after trying so hard to enjoy this game and putting a solid 6 hours into playing it, it just doesn't work for me.

But don't take my word on it, download the demo, give it a chance, remember this is early access, and hopefully will improve over the coming months.

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