The idea behind this game is simple: Crazy Hamster forgot to store supplies for the coming winter, so now it’s up to you to guide the rushed rodent through each level and collect all of the fruit. Make it safely to the end of the level with these supplies and you’re home free. While there may not be much here in terms of plot, this straightforward game can be unbelievably addicting.
Crazy Hamster is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, but rather than controlling the hamster himself, you instead place objects along his path in order to guide him safely past deadly obstacles. Much like games in the Lemmings series, the hamster automatically runs forward and has absolutely no regard for his own safety. Fires, bottomless pits and many other obstacles stand in his way, and you must guide him around these traps. While you can increase or decrease the hamster’s speed, there is no way to actually stop him. You should also keep in mind that each level has a time limit, so while traveling at slow speeds may make it easier to guide Crazy Hamster, you do run the risk of running down the clock.
Along the bottom of the touch screen you will see your arsenal of life-saving devices ranging from fire extinguishers, to trampolines and even ice-skates. Each of these items has a special purpose and can be used to overcome different obstacles. Items are placed along the hamster’s path simply by tapping their icon on the bottom of the screen, then tapping again where it needsto be used. The hamster will automatically use the items as he runs into them, so all you have to worry about it making sure that they are there for him.
While some levels can get a bit hectic, the game never becomes too overwhelmingly difficult. Instead of being able to place items wherever you’d like on the map, you can only place them in their own designated areas. Rather than wasting your inventory, the game simply denies your action rather than allowing you to place an item in the wrong spot. Because of this, Crazy Hamster is more of a game about observation and reflex than it is about strategy. The sooner you notice a trap on the path, the better chance you have of avoiding imminent doom. Some levels may take a few attempts of trial and error, but completing your task always comes down to placing the right item where it belongs with precision and speed.
Aesthetically speaking, Crazy Hamster is less crazy than expected, but much more adorable. The graphics and soundtrack both reflect the light-hearted mood of the game and make it all the more engaging. Even the sounds that the hamster makes when he gets killed are cute, making it clear that this game has absolutely no intention to offend.
The one negative thing that can be said about Crazy Hamster is that the load times can be pretty awful. There is a loading screen between each level, and some of the longer levels can take up to 30 seconds to load. While there are other games out there with bad load times, this one can get a bit ridiculous.
Ignore the sluggish load times and you’ve got a pretty solid game in Crazy Hamster. While it may not be the most complex or difficult game out there, it’s definitely worth playing through at least once. If you’re a fan of games that test your reflexes and force you to think on your feet, then Crazy Hamster will fit nicely in your DSiWare collection. It’s fun, addictive, and at only 200 Nintendo Points, worth every crazy penny.