If there’s one thing we’ve learned from video games, it’s that heroes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From the straight laced Hylian hero Link to the wise cracking Umbra Witch Bayonetta, devs have given us some of the most memorable characters in any medium thanks to their unique design and endearing personalities. Now, Muse Games has introduced a new hero of a somewhat short stature, complete with big ears, a cute button nose and nerves of steel. He also happens to be a hamster.
Pimm is the star of Hamsterdam: Paws of Justice, a rhythm action game with no music but a boatload of rodent-based Kung fu action. Set in the fictional town of Hamsterdam, Pimm finds himself defending the town against a group of chinchilla delinquents known as the Vermin Gang, led by the sinister mob boss Marlo. The plot doesn’t really elaborate on this initial premise, which is a shame because the characters and setting are refreshingly unique, and could have formed the backdrop of an interesting and potentially hilarious story.
The core gameplay in Hamsterdam is split into three distinct parts. The majority of the game's levels will see you pitted against a group of enemies usually consisting of two or three smaller 'grunts' backed up by a couple of beefier vermin. Defeating them requires a balance of offense and defence, allowing you to directly attack an enemy right in front of you, whilst countering any potential attacks from the surrounding mob. Attacks are simply an exercise in pressing the 'Y' button in a rhythmic pattern, with each consecutive hit dealing more damage and building your combo. Counter attacks are then dished out by simply moving the control stick in the direction of the enemy when they briefly glow white.
After a series of successful strikes, a KO meter will gradually fill up, which will ultimately allow you to dish out a lethal blow to an enemy of your choice, wiping them out in one go. Additionally, certain prompts mix the gameplay up a bit, so you may be grabbed by an enemy at some point, requiring you to repeatedly tap 'Y' to break free and counter, or you might need to press certain directional prompts to avoid a series of strikes from one of the heavier enemies.
The second part of the gameplay revolves around intermittent bonus levels focused on collecting seeds, which happen to be the game's currency. These play out like auto-runners typically found on mobile devices, requiring you to duck and jump to avoid obstacles and collect as many seeds as possible. They're not quite as engaging as the main levels, but they're a good change of pace if you're getting bored of the increasingly monotonous rhythm parts.
The third gameplay pillar is a bit of an oddity. It revolves around the game's boss fights, but they're not really 'fights', as such, but rather an exercise in avoiding incoming bombs and giant fists. It's seems a bit strange to us that a hamster specialising in martial arts isn't able to utilise this ability against the game's more formidable enemies, but there we go. After a bit of dodging left and right, the boss will eventually lob a fellow hamster in your direction, which you'll need to grab and throw back, dazing the boss and subsequently allowing you to dish out a few punches and kicks.
The gameplay, as a whole, is fairly dull and repetitive. Hamsterdam is a game built for mobile devices, and unfortunately it shows. There's very little depth, and whilst the levels' optional objectives - such as "complete with a 40+ combo" - may offer some replay incentive, you likely won't bother going back at all. It's a shame, because visually it looks lovely, with disarmingly cute characters and attractive backdrops, and there's potential for a good storyline here, but it mostly feels squandered.
If there's any incentive to play for the long haul, the game will periodically dish out new items in the in-game store. These are merely cosmetic and don't serve to benefit the gameplay in any way, but it's admittedly quite fun kitting Pimm out in stuff like 3D glasses, boxing gloves and new threads, somehow making him look even cuter than before.
Technically, the game runs reasonably well for the most part, with the framerate remaining fairly steady throughout. There are lengthy load times that will no doubt hinder your enjoyment of the game, and we actually ran into a few occasions where the game froze completely, forcing us to quit out to the home screen and load the game up again.
Hamsterdam is a mobile title through-and-through. It's got all of the tropes normally associated with mobile games, such as limited gameplay mechanics and a heavy focus on purchasing cosmetic items, with none of the depth you should come to expect from your average Switch title. There's a lot of potential in the game's premise and presentation that could well be capitalised on for any future games, but here it feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity. Add to this the lengthy load times and technical issues, and this is game you'd be best off avoiding.
Two 4/10 games in a row. Wow.
With a name like that and a tracksuit like that, I was really hoping that this was going to work the recreational drugs angle.
"Hamsterdam is a mobile title through-and-through"
Too bad. Design-wise, the game looks great. Shame that it has no real meat to it.
I like how Nintendo life reviews the games no one has heard of.
That sounded sarcastic. It's not. It's how we find hidden gems and filter out the poo
:< And I was one of the backers, too... Oh well.
Thought this looked cool. : /
What a shame
I thought it could be fun
@Abes3 I can't count how many times back in the Wiiware and DS days how many times NintendoLife was the only site that had reviewed a game I was interested in. Helped me find a lot better of gems and avoid a lot of stinkers. And some of their old 1-2 out of 10 reviews of Wiiware games are comedic gems. I get that they can't review all downloadable games because there are too many, but I appreciate that they try to do some average budget games because it helps to have some info when you google a title.
I got to play this before it came out on the switch and that score is wrong...It get 8/10 from us and i know the owners who made it..No disrespect but Ollie Reynolds doesn't know what he's talking about
@John_Deacon His review is wrong..It is a good game
@Kalmaro Im talking with the indie company of doing a demo and let the gamers decide and not from some reviewer
@MayroMake I got it for free as i review games and don't judge it till you play it is all i can say
@deafswin37 Demos are ALWAYS appreciated!
@Dayton311 @Kalmaro @Abes3 @MayroMake @WhiteTrashGuy @John_Deacon @Dodger
Hi, I'm a developer from the Hamsterdam team, thanks so much for the review!
I wanted to clear a couple things up that you brought up just for sake of clarity and transparency.
In the free Steam Demo the game is limited, the cosmetics in the demo do not effect gameplay, and for a time we had a bug where Music was not properly playing.
This is not the case for the full game, in the full game we put a fun focus on cosmetics (which are obtained for free using the seeds you earn in game by completing levels, to be clear we have no micro transactions or ads in any of our versions of Hamsterdam)
In the full version cosmetics are used to greatly alter your gameplay, via fun outfits you can change Pimms and the Enemies stats in ways to make the game more interesting, challenging, or just easier if you're trying to speed run.
Again we value the review a ton and it means alot to have our game reviewed by a site we respect so much!
We do suspect that you may have confused a few aspect of the demo build with our full game however such as the cosmetics and music, if this isn't the case please let us know because that is a bug we have not heard of in the main game!
One last time thanks so much!
For anyone who isn't ready to make a purchase we encourage you to check our the free Demo on steam!
waste of money
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