Hammerfall is a gorgeous work-in-progress 2D game out of Russia. This particular release was posted to the GameDev.ru forums by “GKosh” for feedback and is marked as version 0.2. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s a remarkable production and wholly playable as is. The physics are well-tuned, the art is fantastic, and there’s even a storyline with charmingly clumsy English translation to tie it all together.
Swing Stuff Around
The video does a good job of demonstrating the mechanic. Hammerfall’s gameplay is all about swinging around connected bodies. Your mouse directly controls the position of your ship; move it up and your ship flies up. Your weapon–usually a mace or sword–is attached to your ship via a hinge joint. It swings around on its own, but you soon learn to control it deliberately.
What’s great about Hammerfall is how well-balanced the physics feel. Swinging the mace around feels heavy, but not so heavy that it starts to lead you around instead. It’s very difficult to make physics feel responsive, but Hammerfall manages a decent job of it. The learning process is occasionally frustrating, but before too long pulling off an intentional attack is second nature.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Despite the low version number of this release, Hammerfall is far more than a prototype. But even if it were a prototype, it’d still be fun. The one-on-one arena fighting is fun in its own right. But there’s so much more to the game. The variety in the levels is fantastic. The first few levels alone range from one-on-one fights to defending a blimp against hordes of bees.
Too often you see physics games that never quite break out of prototype stage. They may have a neat play mechanic, but the developer hasn’t fully realized how that mechanic will interact with a variety of level types. Hammerfall completely succeeds at utilizing its control mechanic across a number of contexts and goals.
Well Worth the Download
I’m really excited about what a 1.0 Hammerfall release could look like. If development continues at the same level of quality they’ve already achieved this could easily become a canonical physics game. The level of production is fantastic, but there’s also a distinct sense of indie spirit, as if the game were developed simply for the love of it rather than to meet some specific market segment.
Download Hammerfall (10.1 MB)
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