Friday, June 12, 2015

Hammerfight - 3/20 hours

The upside to playing Hammerfight is that I imagine blogging about it is going to be pretty easy. There's not much about the game to inspire the sort of pensive ramblings that are my usual stock-in-trade. It's got your basic video game plot that is really just an excuse to string levels together, and the bulk of the gameplay is just one fight after another. You fly this crazy contraption with ludicrously oversized weapons and smash the hell out of other pilots and the occasional monster. Simple.

The downside to playing Hammerfight is that none of the games I've thus far played for the blog have made me quite so physically uncomfortable. You control your machine by moving the mouse. Your weapons swings freely, and in order to strike with it, you have to move in large circles in order to build up momentum.  This requires you to make large movements that a)I don't really have room for, especially on the levels where you have to scroll the screen; b)Are imprecise and difficult to time; and c)Are surprisingly tiring. Fortunately, I discovered (completely by accident - the documentation for this game is terrible) that you can use a controller. The analogue stick is much more comfortable to spin than the mouse, though I worry about wearing it out from overuse.

Still, Hammerfight is an interesting little game. I admire the boldness of its design. It's fun to experience a different use for the mouse, and even if it doesn't mesh with my particular preferences and circumstances, the control scheme is innovative and amusing enough that I'm glad I got a chance to play around with it. My main complaint with the analogue stick version of the game is that the movement of your ship doesn't always feel completely under your control. I get that managing the chaos that comes from inconvenient inertia is part of the challenge, but more than once I wound up with victories that felt more like chance than a genuine accomplishment. Hopefully that will change with time.

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