Henry the Hamster Handler

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Key Info

System: Switch
Developer: Pocket Money Games
Publisher: Pocket Money Games
Release Date: 18 May 2018
Price: $3.69 / £2.49


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Reviewed by Gary Gray

Sometimes a smaller, cheaper game is exactly what you need amongst the titanic open world adventure games of today. Henry the Hampster Handler falls directly into the impulse buy category, being cheaper than a large take-away coffee.

The game doesn’t really have a story, nor does it really need one. The aim of the game is to simply get the hamsters from point A to point B. This is done by hitting a button to move the blocks that the auto-walking hamsters are travelling across.

While simple enough to understand, the concept is made even easier by a squeaky voice yelling out the command when it should be pressed. You also get a visual cue, much like other rhythm based games. It seems like overkill at first, but actually becomes really handy when you're bombarded with small fury squeakers in later levels.

Squeaky clean design

The first thing that stands out presentation-wise is the hamsters themselves. The cute 2D hamsters are simple in design (as is everything else) but they really do pop. Unfortunately they're the only things that do. The backgrounds and foreground platforms are distinct enough to make out, but are rather dull to the eye and become tiresome extremely fast.

Level design is actually pretty good though, with some later levels having teleporters resulting in the hamsters invading the screen from every direction. The input pads have all sorts of different effects on the little rodents too, from electrifying the critters to puffing them up with air so that the fur balls float over a gap. It's hilariously cute, and adds plenty of charm that I’m quite fond of.

The music that plays while your fur balls are on the escape path is actually really catchy, and I enjoyed the charming little pieces even if they are repetitive at times. Other than that there’s some light sound effects and the constant squeaky voices of the hamsters shouting button commands. This does start to get on your nerves after a while, but thankfully there's an option to turn sound effects off all together.

While there’s no extra modes to choose from, there are a healthy amount of levels. Each one has you trying to slip up as little as possible, so you can’t just keep hammering at the next button command ahead of time. You're also punished heavily for losing a furry friend in the fray - if they get electrocuted for example - balancing out the difficulty well across the game. 

Verdict

Henry the Hampster Handler is a charming reaction based game with cute characters and gameplay. While not the most robust in terms of content, there is still fun to be had. It does get old fast though, and some irritating sound effects and bland backgrounds also leave a bit to be desired. Still, if your looking for a quick, cheap pick-up-and-play time waster then this is worth your consideration. 

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Pros & Cons

+ Charming characters
+ Good music
+ Lots of levels

- Bland backgrounds
- Only one mode
- Annoying sound effects

Gary GrayHComment