Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite!
Who said that games lack innovation? Nintendo have proved time and time again that games with simple concepts, when handled with a bit of imagination, can really make for great gameplay. Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! is a wonderfully simple game that is shockingly addictive and doesn't let up until you've finished it. It's a game designed primarily for younger children and will definitely appeal to anyone who is a fan of the series.
The main aim of the game is, as the title would suggest, to unite the Ham-Hams. The story goes that Boss, apparently the head Ham-Ham, has just finished his latest Clubhouse project and wants to unite all of the Ham-Hams so that he can divulge the nature of his work to all of them at the same time. Boss doesn't want to do this himself however and when he spots Hamtaro he asks that he goes and looks for the Ham-Hams. Boss tells Hamtaro about the secret language of the Ham-Hams and teaches him some of the secret language to get him started. Of course you control Hamtaro, so it's time to unite all those Ham-Hams.
The real twist with Hamtaro is that you have to use the special, secret language in order for you to obtain the co-operation of the Ham-Hams. Because you only start off with a limited vocabulary you have to do favours for other Ham-Hams who will in turn give you extra words. Each word has a special action associated with it. Hamha is the word for hello whilst Digdig means dig. You just say the word to perform the action. As you can see from the aforementioned examples some words are clear in their meaning but some are not. It doesn't matter though as the game features a notebook that records what each word means. The notebook can even be organised alphabetically or into the order in which you learned the words. When you've convinced a Ham-Ham to return they'll automatically go back to the clubhouse. There are 6 locations to explore and around a dozen Ham-Hams to retrieve.
The game is full of puzzles and small side quests that will keep you busy. In fact for a game aimed at young children it's surprisingly addictive to anyone who enjoys gaming. You can collect items such as sunflower seeds (which is the currency) and rocks etc. You can even purchase costumes for Hamtaro to make him look extra nice. You can also take a picture of Hamtaro in his costume and keep it on the photo stand and look at it whenever you get the urge. You can even create Ham-Jams, which are basically a little dance. These can be traded with other Hamtaro players.
Hamtaro looks absolutely stunning for a Game Boy Colour game. In fact you'd be very happy to play this alongside your GBA games because it compares very favourably. The look and feel of the game is stunningly close to the TV series and young fans of the TV show will love the way the developers have captured the spirit of the TV show in the game. The GBC may be all but dead, but the graphics in Hamtaro prove what a great console it really is.
Hamtaro is completely deaf gamer friendly. Of course you know with it being a GBC game that there is going to be no speech but there are no key sounds that would prevent a deaf gamer from enjoying the game. The language is kept fairly simple so most young gamers of a competent reading ability will be able to fully enjoy Hamtaro.
What can I say? This may be one of the last GBC games we will see but what a cracker it is. The only downside is that once you've completed it there is little incentive to replay the game. It's a gem of game for younger gamers though and especially so if they are a fan of the Hamtaro series on TV.
Game Rating: 8.6/10