I’ve stated before that I love a genre mashup. So he were have Hell Warders. A game that mixes Tower Defense and RPG Action. Two genres I like a lot, so how does it stack up?
Well, it isn’t an easy answer that is for sure. You see Hell Warders feels like a throwback to the mid-tier game you’d find during the PS2 era. It is easy to be highly critical, but that would also be doing the game a disservice.
So to start there is a lack of polish here. Menus are functional, but the game suffers with small text syndrome on Switch. There are many options for upgrading heroes before playing, which lack contextual explanations and are confusing initially.
The graphics in game feel very much mid-tier and the gameplay itself is also very much feeling like that too. It should be a negative, but none of it is. Because there is a satisfaction to playing that I can’t quite explain.
The premise is simple enough, you need to defend against waves of enemies, using a mixture of units in strategic locations. Standard Tower Defense fare. Also attacking enemies in direct combat with weapons and powers (based on character chosen). Which covers the action RPG side.
It will take short while to understand how this all blends together, as I found the tutorial to be a bit awkward on the whole and was still fumbling around a bit. That could just be me though.
Levels themselves are well balanced, with waves getting increasingly more difficult. Yet each wave is short enough you don’t feel like it is a chore, or that you are fighting against time. It works pretty well.
The level structure is as expected in a Tower Defense. You are given time at the start to place units, then the first wave starts. Each enemy killed earns you health or currency which can be used between waves to place more units, or upgrade existing ones.
Levels are varied as you progress and do a decent job of keeping your interest. The gothic theme would feel at home in a Diablo world and works well.
Setting up your defenses before bounding around a level to slay oncoming enemies is incredibly satisfying. Whilst the combat is very basic it strikes a good balance between allowing you to feel in control and relying on your strategic setup.
There is some awkwardness at times, positioning to get the upgrade menu to pop up is finicky and it can be easy to get caught on a barrier when trying to jump over. It can get a little annoying, but never to the point you want to give up.
Hell Warders can be played both solo and in co-op. This may go against the grain somewhat, but I much preferred playing this solo. It is fine in co-op, but it felt better on my own. I don’t think there is any particular reason for this and is just personal opinion.
The co-op structure is very simple to set up, with you able to host or join either a public or private room. It all works as expected and just does the job of allowing you to play with someone.
Hell Warders has many minor faults but it is a competent title that will scratch an itch if you like a Tower Defense. Maybe less so for Action RPG fans. As a genre mashup though it is a solid effort.
It has a ‘one more go’ feel to it, but the length of each levels means it can be easily played during breaks of longer games, or at lunch at work. Again a good balancing job is done here.
I describe the game as mid-tier in a loving way. I was a huge fan of mid-tier titles and was saddened when they died out over the past few years. So this is a throwback and like the best mid-tier titles. Look beyond the lack of polish and you are given a decent treat that will keep you entertained.