Hammerting is currently available on Early Access through Steam. As such, we won’t be doing a scored review until the game sees full release, which is estimated to be within six months. The following article is a preview based on content available in the Early Access build.
There’s dwarves in them there hills. Well, under them, technically. Apparently there’s a big war going on, and you’ve been tasked with building an underground dwarven colony to support the troops. Starting with a handful of skilled miners – and an abundance of giant mushrooms – you’ll turn these gloomy caves into a thriving operation, crafting quality equipment to send to the conflict above.
Hammerting is certainly an attractive prospect. The art is gorgeous, the concept a fantastic expansion on similar games that have come before it. The developers have launched the game in early access so that they can refine the game based on community feedback, and judging from the Steam reviews/active Discord those aren’t just empty words.
This early version of the game is a little rough around the edges, and there isn’t a lot of meat on its very promising bones. The learning curve is harsh, as there’s no proper tutorial in place and you’ll be left to pick your way through the interface and figure things out for yourself. This might not be as much of a problem for genre die-hards, but it does make the game less accessible for newcomers drawn in by Hammerting‘s polished art style.
You’ll start simple, building quarries and lanterns, gaining experience and researching new technologies. A proper tutorial would work absolute wonders – a guided scenario outlining the basics, walking you through how the different systems intertwine. There is the Book of Tings, an in-game database of information that provides an outline on mechanics and their uses, but it’s a bit overwhelming, and can leave performing even very basic tasks feeling hit and miss. There’s a lot of fumbling around in the dark before any sort of production chain begins in earnest.
Seeing your underground empire expand is immensely satisfying once you get to grips with what Hammerting wants you to do. Supplying the war effort is an interesting spin on the usual mine-build-repeat cycle, providing a little more focus and motivation to progress. There’s a host of improvements in the roadmap before release, including both underworld and overworld enhancements, so the game won’t remain in this bare-bones state for too long.
Hammerting early access overall thoughts:
Should you buy into Hammerting‘s early access period? Based on what’s available now, I wouldn’t honestly recommend it. There’s a shitload of potential beneath Mara’s unexplored mountains, and yet no matter how deep you dig right now, you won’t reach it. Fans of the genre may be happy pulling the trigger right away, but there’s just not enough here yet to justify the price tag. Sure, there’s plenty of game here already, but it’s not as well-refined as it needs to be just yet.
Much of the game’s promise is locked away behind a fiddly UI and a decidedly aimless beginning – the game should be gently guiding you towards self-sufficiency, that point where you’ve got the basics and can dip in and out of the extra resources as necessary. Right now, that’s left up to the player, and the introduction/UI are both in need of some streamlining to make Hammerting appealing to more players. However, unless something goes horribly wrong, this is going to be a quality game when it’s done – so it’s up to you how much of the early access process you want to see.