Developer: Warpzone Studios
Release Date: November 16, 2021
There is little I find more frustrating than a game that is almost good. Mind you, I’m not talking about games that, while completely playable, lack a certain something that makes them great. No, rather, I’m talking about games where you can clearly see that the concept is good, that the bones of the thing are quite all right, but somewhere along the way, something was skipped or overlooked, and what you end up with is actually a pretty big mess.
Hammerting – at least for me – should be a good game. I love the loop of dig, explore, gather resources, craft, research, and then go right back to digging. I can’t explain why that loop is something I find satisfying, but usually when I bounce off one of these games, it is because the game just cannot seem to get out of its own way.
It feels like the developers really wanted to take this loop – which at its core is pretty damn simple – and complicate it until it resembled denser “colony builder” games. I can’t tell you if I kept failing because I’m impatient, because the game is buggy, because the game is poorly balanced, or just because the overly dense tutorial just leaves out some pretty critical steps for success. My first trio of hard working dwarves died of thirst because I didn’t realize I had to both find and produce water. Ok, that one is on me. My second trio? Also thirst. Not because I didn’t know, but because I could not find any water, and the trading post also didn’t sell any.
In fact, you won’t receive a quest to produce either food or water until you build a farm. Now, if you’re the type to follow the quest path while learning the ropes of a game, you might have the same problem, since although you can unlock farm tech fairly early, you’re never actually told to build a cave farm. Even once you can build it, it doesn’t actually seem to produce food (although weirdly enough, you can produce water even if there’s no body of water anywhere on the map) – rather, you just use it to store mushrooms you’ve harvested. Or do you? It’s not clear, but it didn’t seem to be making any new food, and once I ran out of wild mushrooms, I was well on the path to starvation again.
It’s rare that I’ve played a game where it wants to dump so much information on you, and yet, makes so little logical sense. Usually, when I start out in a more complex colony management style game, although I fail a lot, I learn from every single failure, and the next time, it goes better. Hammerting felt more like trying to learn a skill from a manual that had never been fact checked.
And it’s possible that’s exactly what happened. Hammerting was available in an Early Access state for just over a year before hitting full release in November 2021. During the Early Access period, updates came fairly regularly, but there have only been a handful of updates since then, and the general consensus is that the game is still quite unfinished, and will probably never be given the attention it needs to be more than just barely playable. Which is a shame, because in its current state, it’s nothing but a whole lot of wasted potential.
SteamDB estimates that Hammerting has sold between 42,100 and 115,900 copies on Steam. Reviews are currently sitting at Mixed, with recent reviews trending heavily negative due to the perception that the game is abandoned. It is ranked 6809 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.