Swords and shields at the ready in the action meets tower defense 4 player demon slasher from Ares Games, Hell Warders! Choose from 3 unique heroes, dependent on your preferred fighting style, and prepare your base with a multitude of battlements and units to keep the scourge at bay. When starting a new game your team will have unlimited time to prepare for the incoming attack by peppering the map with defensive aids from archers and mages, to canon wielding ogres and blood thirsty crow hordes (my personal favorite). Now time for the wave, charge into the fray with your heroes and using their unique abilities defeat the enemies on mass in a typical hack and slash fashion, watching out for the elite demons as they do pack a punch. Between waves, there is the opportunity to replace or stack up fallen defenses, as each wave brings more monsters from all over the map.

Early stages of Gameplay

As an early access title, the controls can be a bit slippery in part, be prepared for a number of deaths from falling off of the map, and snagging your pretty red cape on the scenery. However, this is only minor and once absorbed into the atmosphere of the level is not be as noticeable. Characters are responsive and the animations are smooth and epic adding to the action perfectly, plus everyone needs to see Samson’s jump cycle, it will put a smile on your face, or as the developers put it, “When a man wants to fly, you let him fly”. This game uses standard WASD keys for control, with a few other attacks available using other keys, and placing your battle units is done using the mouse, but be careful as it can be a bit sensitive when placing. We may have deleted one or two in our haste. There is to be a leveling system in the future, allowing more customizing options and progression, which according to the team behind the game, “is to allow players to make customizations that suit their playstyle, for example upgrading the knight to an even more tanky protector or the alchemist to a dual-wielding gunslinger.” I wouldn’t mind a piece of that! There will also be random loot distributed at the end of each round for players to feast on.

Standing out from the Crowd

Mixing these genres is indeed interesting, and demands a more strategic approach alongside mowing down the opposition in a stream of sword swings and gunfire. There are many different types of gamers out there, and by adding these tropes together does give more opportunities for friends with differing strengths to enjoy. If you happen to be more of an action buff, barreling into demon spawn as the burly knight Ash will satisfy you immensely with his huge sweep and earth pounding attacks. However, your friend may be more of a planner, thriving in decorating the map with suitable defenses, and picking off the encroaching monsters with gunfire and explosives from the stylish Dead Eye. There is a job for everyone!

Visually appealing

Whilst the design for Ash the knight is very striking, I am drawn specifically to Samson as his look is certainly unique compared to other games of this style. Of course, there is also the suave appearance of Dead Eye, and I am excited to see further characters added to the roster, perhaps a lady to keep the guys in check. The individual designs for the additional defense units are also very distinct as well, by including a giant dragon type creature with a club to be a melee assist, for example, we all fought over who got him. Something I did pick up on quickly is the sound though, the details in Ash’s armor as he moves is very precise and gives more weight to the character. Looking at him you know he weighs a ton! There is also a wonderfully epic soundtrack while waiting for a match to start, and I have confirmed with the developers that they are working on the narrative to accompany the action. We have already had a few snippets for each of the characters, but I am intrigued to see where this will take the game.

Fun with friends

At its core, this is a multiplayer game and we certainly had a blast playing through the first two maps together. Currently, the game is not overly challenging, but maybe we are just that good of a team! I would be interested to see how the difficulty will ramp up, as there is definitely some strong foundations in place for this game, and it is absolutely worth supporting. Feeling the need to slice and dice some demons where they stand, or take the out from afar while piling up an onslaught of your own? This game caters to many needs and I recommend giving it a go. And keep an eye out for Buddy, the little yellow loading guy, he has a fabulous booty and I hope to see more of it.

So summon your very own team of badasses and crush an army of evil beasts, it’s Hell Warders time!

If you would like to support the developers in their work on this game, please go to their Indiegogo page.

Jeremy Hetcher

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