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GBA

North America

Ham-Ham Heartbreak

by Ty Shughart - April 24, 2003, 1:27 am PDT

5

This game officially has the best villain ever.

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak is the second portable Hamtaro game in the U.S. You play as Hamtaro (and Bijou!) and solve puzzles in order to re-unite Ham-Hams that have been terrorized by Spat the Hamster.

The basic gameplay is the same as the original - use Ham-Chat words on the right Ham-Hams or in their proper places in order to solve puzzles and progress through the game. There are a few differences in this game, though. There are more mini-games along the way, mostly in Fun World. There are Ham-Chat words/actions that require both Hamtaro and Bijou to work together. Also, the goal isn't just to find all the Ham-Hams, but to reunite them (and create hook-ups for other generic hamster characters) while Spat is trying to ruin things for everyone.

Spat is the best video game villain ever. He has long and very evil monologues while his rad theme song plays - he's seriously the hamster version of Kefka. Here are a few of his greatest moments:

  • Says "BLEH!" and slams a hamster right in the face

  • Tricks a hamster onto a raft and pushes them out to sea, laughing at them

  • Flips out and stabs a hamster with a pitchfork

  • Hamtaro throws trash on him - comedy gold!

The player also meets up with the whole Ham-Ham gang throughout the game, including some of the newer Ham-Hams. They are true to their cartoon personalities, including Howdy and Dexter's hilarious bickering.

The graphics look quite a bit like the Hamtaro on the GBC. It still uses a lot of the same animation, but there are some new ones, including ones that make use of scaling and rotation. It uses a few more colors, but what looked hot on the GBC isn't really very impressive on the GBA.

A lot of the songs are extremely catchy. At the beach, there's a totally gnarly beach bum tune, and at Boo Manor, there's a creepy tune (with a funky beat). Also, there's a puzzle to solve by finding Moonlight Sonata and playing it on a piano - that could very well be a reference to you-know-what. Awesome!

Back to the actual gameplay, well, uh, trying to use the right Ham-Chat words on everything until something works probably won't float everybody's boat. It's not as bad this time, though, especially since Snoozer will give you hints (sometimes even useful ones). After finishing the game, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to do. Maybe you can try to find any missing Ham-Chat words or something similarly thrilling.

So who exactly would enjoy Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak? A young kid who likes the show and likes playing a game where you can't lose or die, or maybe somebody who could really, really appreciate Spat the Hamster. Running around trying to solve puzzles with trial and error just isn't fun, but it is an improvement over the last game.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 8 6 4 4 5
Graphics
7

It borrows too heavily from the GBC game, but it's still cute and colorful. It also has lots of animations, some with scaling and rotation.

Sound
8

This has some very catchy songs. It doesn't have any voice samples or anything beyond plain ol' MIDI-sounding things, though.

Control
6

There's nothing beyond moving Hamtaro around and making menu selections. It gets the job done.

Gameplay
4

At the core, the game is about solving puzzles simply by finding the right hamsters to talk to. Things seem a little more logical than they did in the original GBC game, and there are also more mini-games along the way. Still, trial and error is less than fun. Observing Spat's hilarious shenanigans IS fun, though.

Lastability
4

Maybe you could try to find any odd Ham-Chat words you're missing after you finish it, or maybe you could go throw yourself in a well.

Final
5

Trying to solve puzzles with constant guesswork is almost as fun as multiple skull fractures, but Spat and a few mini-games almost make up for it. Almost.

Summary

Pros
  • Features all of the characters from the show
  • It's a real improvement over the GBC game, but...
  • More minigames
Cons
  • It's easy to get stuck without knowing what to do.
  • ... it still borrows too heavily from the original
  • Trying to find what works by trial and error is fun like cancer
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Adventure
Developer Nintendo
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Ham-Ham Heartbreak
Release Apr 08, 2003
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Ham-Ham Heartbreak
Release TBA
PublisherNintendo
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