Hands of Necromancy is so good it could have been Hexen III

A flaming skeleton attacks while I wield a sword in Hands Of Necromancy.

screenshot: HON Team / Kotaku

In the mood for a retro-style FPS, I’ve been trawling through the new releases on Steam and poking through a few without actually clicking. Until I fWell Hands of Necromancyand then played it every weekend. That is a witchhow FPS, with huge, sprawling maps, quite a lot of Weapons, a range of enemy types, and some fresh ideas that are original to the genre.

Set in three chapters, as befits all these games, the game’s 21 cards are spread across three hubs between them. Each hub has a collection of portals that are unlocked by completing tasks in one or the other, running back and forth between them all while finding keys, new abilities, and so on. It gives him a little taste of Metroid amid the fast-paced, frantic combat and exploration.

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What I really love about here is this Hands of Necromancy doesn’t feel obligated heretic and witches, but inspired by them, to then be its own thing. So, as you’d hope, there’s a mix of ranged and melee combat, with a sword and a fireball in your starting roster, which then always expands as you progress. You’ll find a Whirlwind spell that lets you unleash mini tornadoes that will knock enemies back and really take their lives if pinned against a wall. There’s an icy ice staff, a scythe of pretty impressive power, and even a gun if you get in far enough.

Enemies are an amazing mix of creepy-crawlies, floating magic-wielding wizards, flying bats (that are not incredibly annoying!) and stomping golems. In Chapter 2, the same gang is joined by all sorts of even deadlier beasts until the fights can be an insane barrage of paint and blood.

A series of enemies that attack all at once in Hands Of Necromancy.

screenshot: HON Team / Kotaku

It’s all 2.5D but with very nice lighting, all built in GZDoom. The pixel art on the creature designs is fantastic, and while the game leans too much towards a gloomy setting, the locations feel detailed and interesting to explore. And more importantly, the level design is top-notch, focusing on large locations to explore, packed with subterranean chambers, labyrinthine crypts, and enigmatic cities.

Your character, an evil wizard himself, isn’t a hero out here looking to expand his range of skills and isn’t fighting for survival, but because you just want to fight. This obviously doesn’t affect the experience much until you’re reminded of it when you pick up a powerful weapon and let out a vicious cackle.

Oh, and as you progress you’ll gain the ability to transform into different enemy types, including the small snake, the heavy-hitting golem, and a horned fiendish beast. This can be used for solving puzzles and finding secrets, but also simply for fighting in other ways. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an FPS that gives the character the ability to transform into enemies and it’s such a great idea.

A crescent moon rises over a town in Hands Of Necromancy as my golem fist strikes.

screenshot: HON Team / Kotaku

The game estimates a playtime of 7 hours, which is completely insane. I spent almost as much time on just the first chapter, exploring every nook and cranny, trying to find secrets, and having a blast. I think you could flash it through a lot quicker but that seems such a waste.

This is massive stuff, a game that could well have been released alongside Raven Software’s fantasies in the mid 90’sy protect and stopped. (Though people would have been confused by the lighting tech.) Admittedly, you can get witches for a dollar fifty at the momentbut there’s a good chance you already have. Hands of Necromancy is a welcome addition for this fold and developer HON Team has become a name Consequences.

This article originally appeared on Buried Treasure. As people’s budgets are running low, the project is struggling to highlight totally unknown indies for support, so please consider helping out the Patreon here.