DS

North America

Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts (DS)

by Mike Gamin - November 8, 2006, 4:50 pm PST
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6

A good concept comes up short in terms of execution.

When you see a game on the shelf based on a popular license, it's hard to know what to expect. At the very least, fans of the license should enjoy it. Hammy Goes Nuts doesn't really work on that front. The main character of the game, Hammy, should be an easy target. He is the overly hyper squirrel from the movie who says incredibly random and entertaining things, yet in the game he has a bland personality that is almost indistinguishable from the other characters. The poor use of the license is almost made up for by a clever game mechanic, but the developer doesn't take it far enough.

The game is made up of a series of missions that play out like a puzzle game. The main goal of each is to create a trap for the human. This is done by collecting objects and putting them together. The secondary goal is to find as much loot as possible. Your team of four characters is dispersed over the map, and you can switch between them. There are a series of things you have to do to accomplish your goal. You may find glue in a backpack and carry it over to a broken shovel. After gluing the shovel back together, you can dig up a hidden key. The key can then be used to unlock the house and get inside. This puzzle solving could be a lot of fun, but there are two main problems with it. Firstly, it has been dumbed down, most likely for the younger target market. Everything you have to do, in order, is announced to you through a very specific check list and flashing icons on the map. Regardless of how young the player is, the developers took almost all of the thinking out of the game. If you do what you are told, you will finish fairly quickly. Besides that, the actual tasks are repeated over and over again across multiple levels. When playing through the game you will probably distract fifty different mice with cheese so that you can jump off of their backs. I didn't know that using a mouse as a springboard was the only way to get up to a higher ledge.

All of the control for the game is done using the stylus. If you tap on a spot on the screen, the character will run there. If you hold the stylus down on the screen, the character will continue to chase the stylus. In order to interact with objects, you simply tap on them. While effective at some times, when objects are close together it can take forever to actually tap on the proper thing. The aim just feels a little off. The character will run to a spot instead of picking something up, or he may drop an item instead of carrying it to a spot. This imprecision doesn't really affect most of the game, but when trying for a speed run or trying to avoid deadly lasers, it can be frustrating.

Visually, the game looks pretty good. Characters look a lot like their movie counterparts and the top down view has 3D qualities that work well. Cut-scenes are carried out using a video compression technology that allows for relatively pretty 3D video. It would look great if it worked right. There are many times where the video on the top screen is out of sync with the video on the bottom screen. There are also obvious stutters when new speech balloons are being loaded on one screen. Overall, it felt somewhat amateur.

Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts is far from a well executed game, but it gets bonus points for an interesting base concept. If the developers threw the license away and didn’t worry about it being too hard, an incredibly fun game would have been possible. Given everything said, young fans of the movie may still love it, but experienced gamers shouldn't expect to enjoy it.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 5 6 6 8 6
Graphics
8

Gameplay looks great and the FMV cut scenes look nice if you can get past some technical issues.

Sound
5

Boring, repetitive, and generally forgettable.

Control
6

Imprecision causes problems in some parts of the game and is generally frustrating. Everything is done with just the stylus. This may be one of those games where classic buttons would make more sense.

Gameplay
6

The base idea is a good one, but the execution stinks. It’s repetitive, boring, and too easy.

Lastability
8

Completing the loot collection and doing speed runs gives players more to do after they complete all of the missions.

Final
6

This particular game doesn't work very well, but it would be nice to see another game with a similar base concept in the future.

Summary

Pros
  • The puzzle solving mission concept has a lot of potential
Cons
  • Controls are not very precise
  • Many tasks are repeated over and over again
  • The characters have no personality
  • Way too easy
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Adventure
Developer Activision
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts (DS)
Release Oct 10, 2006
PublisherActivision
RatingEveryone
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