‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a decent enough motto to live by. Crackshell would most likely agree, having found a respectable degree of success with Gauntlet-esque co-op arcade dungeon crawler Hammerwatch, and more Smash TV-ish licensed spinoff Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour.
While their little trip through techno-magical Egypt with Serious Sam was an amusing enough romp, they’re back doing what they know and love, with a bit of a modern procedurally generated twist. Heroes of Hammerwatch bills itself as a rogue-like spin on the original, and it’s out today.
The original Hammerwatch was an enjoyable little thing, even though its original iteration needed a few patches and some tuning until it was really ready for prime-time, especially online. Surprisingly, Crackshell are confident enough in Heroes of Hammerwatch and their ability to translate their previously hand-made dungeon designs into procedural form that they’ve bypassed any kind of early access or public beta launch, and just gone live.
It’s a confident move, and it’ll be interesting to hear how it pans out. Heroes of Hammerwatch offers seven different classes, a town that you can expand and improve over the course of multiple runs (a little bit of Rogue Legacy there, maybe?), although more boldly, your characters may lose out on some goodies when dying, but the game promises XP-based character progression between runs, making your little pixel adventurer a teensy bit tougher each time round.
Also, in true action-RPG format, the game loops endlessly, so even after the final boss falls, you can continue your rampage through successively difficult random iterations until it finally gets tired of you. Always a good feature in action games, and one I’d love to see become more ubiquitous. As with previous iterations, you can play Heroes of Hammerwatch solo or cooperatively with up to three buddies, either local or online.
Correction: Despite their previous games offering the feature, it turns out that Heroes of Hammerwatch only offers online co-op, not local play. Sorry for any confusion.