Review by vihena

"Surprisingly fun for all ages!"

I was actually not going to buy this game at first, because of its childish nature, but after playing it for a while, my opinion has changed completely.

Hamtaro is a surprisingly good game! Casual gamers will enjoy its ease of play, children will also enjoy it. It's super cute and very entertaining. The puzzle elements are interesting, and in most cases, require a little bit of thinking and remembering things.

It's not really an RPG, but you do spend a lot of time running around clicking on things. So it's more of an adventure game - much like the old Sierra games.

You can interact with objects and other hamsters using keywords that you learn throughout your adventure. These keywords are usually actions that can be applied to certain things (such as lifting your partner to reach an item). The keywords are learned from other hamsters when you accomplish certain tasks.

The game saves every screen so you don't have to worry about turning it off in the middle of something, and needing to backtrack too much. It's a fairly linear game so there's no wrong answers, and you cannot game-over. It's a children's game.

The only downside I see is the constant need to use the keyword "Hamha" to greet other hamsters. The little animation that plays out is cute, but gets a little annoying over time, especially when you want to move on quickly. For a gamer that doesn't mind that, then it's okay.

The puzzles are mostly keyword based. A puzzle cannot be solved unless you have learned a particular word. However, very often, you'll be sitting there, just wondering where you're supposed to learn that keyword, and how you're supposed to learn that keyword. You end up wandering around, chatting with random hamsters, and applying your learned keywords here and there until something happens. Sometimes, the puzzle solutions can be a little cryptic and really hard to decipher for some children.

In addition to the main game, there are other activities that you can do, such as Ham-Jam, which involves making dances from the keywords you learn, and the music scores you pick up throughout the game, and dress-up, which allows you to dress the two main characters in various costumes that you purchase throughout the game, and take photographs to use on the start screen.

-What Children Learn From This Game-
This game has no real violence. Just comic mischief, which is fine and quite entertaining. There isn't much of a story - just your basic hero tries to save everyone against the villian with the help of a female love interest. The game emphasizes on the values of friendship, and love as well as co-operation.

The graphics are extremely cute, and very well animated. There are over 87 different animations related to keywords, and is quite rewarding to watch. The backgrounds are large, simple, and very cute as well. They totally got the style of the anime down pat with this game.

The game is fairly short - about 10-15 hours at most if you know what you're doing. It's one of those games that you should definitely own for yourself, or for your child. For reference, I'm a seasoned 27-year old veteran gamer who enjoys playing horror games such as Silent Hill, fighting games like Soul Calibur, and RPGs like Final Fantasy, and I recommend this game with 2 thumbs up.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/03/04

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