(WiiWare)

Happy Hammerin' (WiiWare)

Game Review

Happy Hammerin' Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Now you can whack moles... in space!

Gamebridge seems to love bringing quirky, Japan-exclusive WiiWare games over to the west. Overturn, a fun mech fighting game, was their first, and although for some reason it's not out in Europe yet, we reviewed the North American version and thought it was surprisingly good.

Happy Hammerin' is their second WiiWare localisation effort. Based on the simple concept of the whack-a-mole game often found in arcades, you must smack moles over the head as they pop up in a variety of locations (with your Wii remote's pointer functioning as the hammer), rather than the standard three rows of holes you're probably used to.

The Adventure mode consists of four themed locales: jungle, space, Japan and horror. Each theme is put to good use; for instance, in the Jungle stage you'll have to hit moles dressed as tribal warriors as they pop out from bushes and swing by on vines. Likewise, the Horror stage features mole ghosts, mole vampires and other variations. Points are awarded based on how fast you strike and your streak.

You can take on the challenge in three difficulties. The higher it is, the more time you'll have and the more moles will pop up, meaning it'll be much harder to play something close to a perfect game. At the end of a stage, your total score will be tallied and possibly award you a medal. The game also offers online leaderboards so you can upload your score and see how you stack up against the world's best mole-whackers. Adventure mode can also be played with two players.

Marathon is a bit more like the original concept everybody's familiar with. You start with a small number of holes, which moles will randomly pop out of. But as you hit more and more, you'll "level up," adding additional holes and speeding them up slightly. Every time this happens, you will also need to hit more moles before reaching the next level. We're not sure if it ever actually ends, but if it does, good luck getting that far — after five misses, you'll be awarded with a game over. We managed to whack over 350 moles and still didn't have an ending in sight! Just like the Adventure mode, after finishing, you can upload your score to the online leaderboards.

Party Battle is basically a competitive version of Marathon. Up to 4 players (of which up to three can be AI-controlled) can compete in two game types: Numbers has you simply trying to whack the most moles within a certain time limit or to reach a certain amount first, and Colours throws in moles of different, yes, colours. Here, you can "hold" four moles at a time, so your objective is quite simply to hit four moles of the same colour in a row. Each player has a life bar and getting good matches will lower your opponents' life. Last man standing wins!

There's a good deal of replay value here too — aside from the leaderboards and medals, there's a fairly big assortment of achievements to unlock.

The graphics and sound are pretty simple, but they do their job well — the moles come in all sorts and sizes, making for good variety. The stages are also nice and colourful. The music is decent but still very fitting. The tune that plays in the Japan stage sounds exactly like something you'd hear in a Goemon game, which is far from a bad thing!

Conclusion

Overall, Happy Hammerin' is a nice take on the classic whack-a-mole game. Rather than simply releasing a barebones recreation of the most well-known incarnation of the game, developer Agenda chose to liven things up a bit by providing different stages, new moles, multiplayer and even achievements. For 500 Wii Points, that's a pretty good deal. Even if you were never fast enough to win a prize in the arcades, it might be worth downloading — now you can hone your skills without spending quarters and get revenge on those little burrowing devils.

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User Comments (18)

Objection

#1

Objection said:

The name of this game makes me wince...too easy to make jokes. You know the kind.

KnucklesSonic8

#2

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Great review. Glad it turned out to be good for only 500 Points. Hope Gamebridge brings over more titles from JPN! :)

Yasume

#3

Yasume said:

Hmm, I might be getting this now. Still not convinced, though. I will await more reviews.

Decent start for the Happy Series.

thewiirocks

#4

thewiirocks said:

@Objection_Blaster - You should have seen the bumper sticker inspired by the board game (and now console game) "Settlers of Catan":

I got wood for sheep

I mean, who wouldn't trade their excess sheep for some helpful building materials? ;)

Oh BTW, Phoenix Wright WiiWare: Monday Jan 11. You heard it here first. :P

LEGEND_MARIOID

#5

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Glad it wasn't a disaster, may download this little number.

Please bring insta-download Overturn over here sharpish. It was on our fracking summer 2009 list ffs.

Ben878

#7

Ben878 said:

It's really fun and just reminds me of pedobear. :3 Epic game and well worth 500points

RowdyRodimus

#9

RowdyRodimus said:

Happy Hammerin' sounds like a solo game to me unless your really comfortable around your friends...

@thewiirocks You a board game fan, too? If so, isn't sad that so many people won't try board game (which I feel are much better party games than anything a video game can do) until it comes to a downloadable version?

We need a WiiWare version of Dominion or at least the Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride that XBL has.

DrakeStaff

#13

Drake said:

I don't think it's too much of a surprise that this turned out good - It's the same developer behind 42 All-Time Classics/Clubhouse Games.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#14

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I can confirm that this game is a very good wiiware game as the reviewer indicates. As its 500 points and does what is says on the tin very well, its very close to an 8/10 for me. The satisfying rumble when you hit a mole makes it increadibly intuitive to play. Get it for a pick up and play laugh. One of the very besy 500 pointers on wiiware,

SKTTR

#15

SKTTR said:

I got this because it's by Agenda. They know how to make a good game out of underwhelming concepts. ;)
It's pretty solid and polished.
They could have put Mario in it and call it "Mario vs Monty Mole", it has that kind of Nintendo-quality. Neat.

I see Drake got some good highscores on the online leaderboards.
My name's Hoagie there and I somehow managed to be #1 in all 12 stages of the adventure mode :P

Now I'm trying marathon mode to get on rank #1 there too and to get all achievements done. Currently I'm #4 in marathon.

For highscore hunters well worth 500pts.
Hope some people are willing to try and beat my scores in adventure mode while I'm in marathon mode.

Well, the game is just 4 weeks old. By the end of next month I guess more good players will pop up on the leaderboards and give me a hard time.

Nice little game, really.

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