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When visualizing Disney properties, hyper violent aliens usually are excluded from the mix. Based on the spin-off television series rather than the feature film, Lilo & Stitch 2: Hamsterviel Havoc incorporates a good mix of platforming, puzzles, and driving.
Though not stretching the GBA hardware to its limits, the visuals in this game are clear and do not inhibit gameplay except in rare occasions. More than that, some of the work on character animations and backgrounds is pleasant to look at. There are several different locations, including beach, factory, volcano and spaceship, and they all have a distinct graphical flavor.
Animations and designs for Lilo, Stitch, and the other experiments are of high quality. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the enemies in the game. There are only four non-boss types of enemies, and they are all based on the same character model; with as many different locales as included in the game it is disappointing that there isn’t more variety in opposition. Powerups and other collectibles are easily distinguishable.
There are a few Mode-7 racing levels; these are not quite as good as the rest of the levels, but it isn’t an eyesore either. You won’t confuse it for Mario Kart, but the attempt to include a different type of level in the midst of the others is commendable.
The biggest graphical gripe I have is that there is slowdown, in the racing levels and in the later Stitch levels when multiple enemies and projectiles are on screen at one time. I don’t think that this is a minor flaw as other games push far harder on the system without this result.
Island tunes and light harmonies are the dominant background themes, and while they are not memorable they do not irritate either. More tunes would have been welcomed, as the number of audio tracks is in the single digits despite more than 29 levels.
Sound effects are average, as far as splatty explosion noises go; most of them sound like they came from a generic audio package. Occasionally the audio will miss a beat on sound effects; for example, it does not always make the little toot if you take damage.
The game can be partitioned into three parts: the Stitch levels, the Lilo levels, and the driving levels. Stitch, being the consummate destructive weapon, has stages that are action oriented. Controls will be familiar to anyone who has played a game in this genre. Armed with the blasters, you traipse through and shoot everything in your sight. Every now and again you’ll take damage unjustly, but there is a ridiculous amount of health and powerups scattered about the level to more than compensate. Stitch doesn’t have any puzzles to solve, so its fairly straightforward linear progression. It is unlikely that you will get lost or confused, which is a plus; but the stages could stand to be larger and more challenging.
Lilo has no weapons, so you must solve puzzles to reach the exit in her levels; these levels are well constructed, and fairly inventive. It feels like a simplistic Lost Vikings. However, you won’t rack your brain until close to the end. I believe that for the younger audience this is aimed at, they would be of satisfying difficulty, but more experienced gamers will yawn through all but the toughest ones. There was one or two instances in which a glitch in crate-pushing mechanics was overly frustrating.
As you progress in the game you fight different experiments as bosses; the ones Lilo fights join Stitch and vice versa. The process of selecting and using each experiment is slightly frustrating; for the action levels you can never switch to the experiment you need most fast enough.
Lastly, the driving levels, in which Stitch hops in a buggy and sprints to the goal line, control pretty well. The courses are all pretty bland, but it’s a good change up. The guards are still after you and drop bombs, so you have some interference other than the clock alone.
The story revolves around returning the rogue experiments to their “one true place” which had no meaning to me at all but might be significant to the followers of the show.
It’s a decent little package, but I found the game to be far too short. You can try and beat your high scores and replay any level you’ve already conquered, but the puzzle levels lose their sheen after figuring them out.
While I could recommend this to a child, the game is an okay platformer that left me ambivalent. For all of the things it does, it is too short and easy. It could be far worse, and it is certainly better than expected. The game is simply of mediocre quality; I would not advise putting Lilo & Stitch 2: Hamsterviel Havoc at the top of your holiday wish list.
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