Review: Hamster Ball
Developer: Creat Studios
Publisher: Tik Games
Release Date: March 25th, 2010
Players: 1-7 (Local)
What I liked
- Fun fast paced levels
- Ridiculous visuals
- Sumo mode with up to 7 players
What I disliked
- Wonky camera
- Music gets old
- Reused Set Pieces
I had low expectations for this title, but color me surprised. Hamster Ball boasts over 50 levels of what I can only describe as fun. People throw around the description that it’s like Monkey Ball and Marble Madness’s lovechild. To be quite honest, this is pretty close to the truth. Hamster Ball, offers up 3 different game modes: Hustle, Stunt, and Trial. I started off with Hustle. You control one of three protagonist hamsters with a chase camera behind it. Each has their own unique ability, one jumps, one has a speed boost, and one can break down certain walls. This makes for some strategy for when you’re planning on how to tackle a level as fast as you can. After a couple of levels to give you the feel of it, I was thrust into one of the most ridiculous gaming experiences I’ve had as of late.
Unlike Monkey Ball, you control your hamster, not the world around it. I never liked Monkey Ball’s style of control, and this is exactly how I always wanted it to be. You’re gonna fly off edges numerous times, but you’re racing the clock, so you have infinite lives. This diminishes the difficulty, but if you’re looking for a top notch score/time on the game’s online scoreboards, you’re not gonna wanna waste time dying anyway. The game’s trial and stunt modes are alike, but trial you’re racing the clock. These use a far away camera, and that mixes up the play style.
I made my roommate sit down and test out the multiplayer mode with me… and we ended up playing it for an hour. The race mode is just like hustle, except head to head. I noticed a slight frame rate chug, but nothing too too bad. The other multiplayer setting is the sumo mode. This reminds me of bumper balls on Mario Party. There are unlockable boards to play on that add different twists on this for up to 7 players. It’s simplistic, but it’s fun.
As I mentioned, I love the graphics. They’re bright and ridiculous. Many stages just shove neon in your face and you know what, I love it. During some of the craziness though, you’re gonna run into a few screw-up’s with the camera. I’ll forgive it, but it’s a bit of a shame that during some of the stages you have to worry about it. One thing that I did dislike however, was that during some of the later levels, you’re gonna notice a lot of set pieces being reused. While one could argue that they’re just there for more challenge, I got tired of two of the same pieces showing up (the 3d spinning tunnel and the buzz saw). The music is funny and well done, but after a few minutes, you’re gonna have your fill of it. Thankfully, this game has custom soundtrack support. There is something about playing this game with something stupid like the night at the Roxbury theme song blaring in the background that just makes this experience so much fun. Throw a random mash of mp3s on your playlist and be prepared to enjoy yourself.
Really wanted to give this game a 5, but its music, camera, and reused areas deter from it. Still, I highly recommend it.