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Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts! Package Art
Amaze Entertainment

Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts!

Wasn't there already an Over the Hedge game for DS? Yes, there was, and the Dojo reviewed it, even. So why another game so soon with no theatrical sequel in sight? Oh right, the DVD hit a few weeks back. Guess the folks at Activision wanted one more ounce out of the Over the Hedge license, and Hammy Goes Nuts! is forced upon the world, into the hands of kids who love the character on the box, but who don't know any better.


The action is viewed from a top-down perspective with polygonal characters and objects scattered over a flat, pre-rendered background. Characters animate well -- perhaps too well -- and represent their respective film critters nicely. The backgrounds look decent, but are often inconsistent from level to level. As these characters are all squirrel-sized, the proportions should have them at around the size of a football or so, but they are often much smaller and sometimes vastly larger than that compared to the rest of the objects and places on the screen; however, this shouldn't be a problem at all for the target audience, who will also probably love the great-looking cutscenes.


Hammy doesn't give much of a reason to keep the sound on. The characters expectedly lack their big-screen celebrity voices with squeaks and adorable growls in their place. Left are the sound effects of footsteps and tems, which are cartoonish, but instantly forgettable. The music that plays over every level adheres to the sneaky theme of the game, but the sound of someone stepping on a living accordion grates the nerves after a few minutes. Again, the target audience might not mind, but parents will suffer when they hear these sounds from the back of the car while driving.


Developed by Amaze, the same folks who did another DS Activision movie tie-in, X-Men: The Last Stand, Hammy Goes Nuts plays similarly using the birds-eye view and stylus controls. But instead of repetitive enemy-fighting action featuring amazing mutants with special powers, Hammy features repetitive collecting action featuring animals that are often found digging through garbage. It's almost a point-and-click affair of clicking one point on the screen, then the other, and then going back to the first point. Often a character has to pick up an object and carry it to another point on the map, and then use it by tapping the problem area. Unfortunately, the touch detection seems a bit off, as your character will sometimes drop their item or just move to an area close to where the item should be used. This is most frustrating in an otherwise easy and mundane experience.

At the start of each level, players are given a list of tasks like "Dress Up like a Pirate" or "Climb the Ledges." These are different ways of telling the player to guide their character to a point on the screen and tap something. The goal is to eventually set a gag trap for the exterminator while collecting as much loot and escaping before the owner wakes up. The reward for beating each level is a five second clip of the exterminator being clobbered somehow in relation to the trap. The loot that is collected in each level is tracked by the game without a discernible reward for collecting it all. It's just busywork, and that's what the game boils down to: menial tasks carried out by cute-looking critters. Every once in a while minimal intelligence is required, but these shouldn't pose a problem for anyone who can hit the power button.




Games like these are hard to view objectively for what they are: kids games. Do children actually like doing the same thing over and over again? They do seem to enjoy watching the same episode of SpongeBob Squarepants over and over again. We should probably give youngsters some credit, and buy them a much better DS game. Parents looking to get kids some entertaining games should look towards New Super Mario Bros., Nintendogs, WarioWare Touched!, Elite Beat Agents or even Tetris DS. Hammy is merely average, but is made worse in the light of other games that its key demographic will enjoy. Their favorite talking animals this month may be in the latest Over the Hedge game, but games like Kirby: Canvas Curse or Yoshi's Island DS will keep them busy, especially when they realize that the gameplay in Hammy Goes Nuts! isn't any more fun than cleaning their room.

final score 4.5/10

Staff Avatar Tristan Cooper
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"Get out the umbrellas..."

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