HammerHelm – Preview
Follow Genre: RPG, Town Management
Developer: SuperSixStudios
Publisher: SOEDESCO
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

HammerHelm – Preview

Good: Entertaining enough to pass time
Bad: Barebones and lacking
User Score
6.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

HammerHelm is a somewhat unique game trying to combine two genres: RPG and town management. While this combination is not completely new, it has been done before several times, it’s not as saturated as other genres. That said, it is very arguable to which extent it works well in HammerHelm.

There isn’t much story to talk about in the game, the player is a dwarf, banished after suggesting the race could live above ground. After wandering for some time in search of fertile land, a place has been found to start a town. After this initial bit of lore, the game doesn’t bother expanding much on it; anything else that could be considered story would be the little bits of setup for side quests.

The graphics are nothing praiseworthy either; they are reminiscent of classic WoW or an HD version of Old School Runescape. While this is most likely intentional to bank on nostalgia, it is no excuse for the absurd amount of texture reuse; everywhere the player goes they will see exactly the same assets used over and over. This applies to trees, the sky, the sea and even enemies. Luckily enough, at least the trees have several possible appearances and tiny variations from one another, which can’t be said about NPCs or enemies.

All of the NPCs look the same, just with different colors. The player is no exception either; after a “character creator” where a few things such as haircut, beard shape and colors can be changed, the player character looks like any other NPC. All of this applies to enemies as well, though even worse since they only have a pair of different colors if at all. The only outliers are bosses and unique NPCs, but these are few and far between.

To stay in trend, the sound department isn’t particularly good. Even worse, out of the three parts of the game mentioned up till now, sound is the least developed. The so called soundtrack is comprised of a few songs that loop eternally in the areas they play. The open world has a song, dungeons another, so on and so forth. SFX are no good either with most being really basic and a few which are absurdly loud and out of place.

As previously mentioned, the gameplay is a combination of RPG and town management, but the latter is almost irrelevant compared to the first. At the start of the game, the player is asked to set up a house for new townsmen and a few structures. Sadly, once past that point, the mechanics are never really used again; the player can still build new things in the town to make it sustainable, but the game itself doesn’t explain or push it.

Even if the town does actually involve a mood mechanic it doesn’t seem to change much; a low mood produces the same amount as usual. The conditions to raise it back aren’t explained either, leaving the player to check the list of possible buildings and figure what to do. While it is arguable this is for the better, since it spares the handholding, it does leave the player without a reason to check these mechanics.

Moving on, the RPG part of the game is not particularly good either, despite being the main focus of the quests. There is little to no variation in said quests, they are either fetch quests or slay quests; some require building or crafting, but those are the exception and are required to progress. The system through which quests are handed out is “quirky” to say the least; after one ends there is some downtime before a new one appears, but at times this new one might be a random quest instead of a progression one. Sometimes this can happen over and over for stretches of time, leaving the player with repetitive missions that lead nowhere.

While waiting between quests, or for the sake of it, players can also go collect resources. The problem here is that anything other than those scooped when walked over is tedious to collect. Trees and rocks take several hits to collect, with trees being even worse due to the animation they play once fallen, this animation also has ragdoll physics which sometimes catapult the logs far away.

There is also a level up and skill point system, though it is not developed at all. XP is only obtained through quest completion and the points obtained become useless after a few upgrades. Said upgrades aren’t particularly good either, most of the effects are barely noticeable.

As previously mentioned, the quests can be about slaying monsters, which leads us to the combat portion of the game. Combat in HammerHelm is really barebones and clunky. There are several types of weapons, though they are virtually the same. Only the “power attack” varies between them, which doesn’t do much. Said power attack is an especial move that can have several effects, but it sometimes doesn’t work and even when it works it leaves the player unable to move for a moment.

Other mechanics that can be utilized in combat are dodging and parrying, both consuming stamina. Dodging can only be done to the sides or backward in a completely set route, while parrying requires to be facing the enemy. Even if these tools are not employed, the enemy AI is slow enough that players can just walk away from hits.

Conclusion

Overall, while there is nothing wrong per-se with the game, but it is clear it’s still very early access. While it’s not bad, it is not the most recommendable pick at its price, at least not at the moment. This is clearly a case of “wait before buying”, luckily enough the developer seems active and invested with the community, fixing bugs and updating things.

Personal Opinion

Before thinking about it I’d have said HammerHelm was a bad game, but after playing a few more hours I can say it’s just barebones. While playing it I wasn’t cursing it or complaining about how broken it was, like has happened with other games before; I was just numb. I kept zoning out walking from one side to the other without paying much attention due to how repetitive it all was. So when asked if I had a good or bad time, my answer would just be “it was ok”. With some luck this game will get a lot of updates and become something actually good but at the moment it’s just passable. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, to be honest, as there is not much to do besides that, zoning out and going from one point to the other. Then again, if that’s what someone enjoys it may be their kind of game.”

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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HammerHelm - Preview, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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