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Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped!

Score: 72%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: D3
Developer: Altron
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (2D)/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped! is the first game that features the crazy Japanese band that has found it's way into a Cartoon Network series. In this adventure, Ami and Yumi's manager, Kaz, has been taken by their number one fan and now the two characters must follow her around the world to get him back.

Anyone familiar with the cartoon series will know that the animation style is by no means trying to be photo realistic. The extremely stylized environments from the series are very evident in this game, but even though it is a fairly good rendition of the show, the look tends to come off a bit childish and quickly thrown together. Of course this is a kid's game, so childish might not be that bad. In the end, the graphics are a mixed bag. If you can get used to the unusual look and feel of the game -- then it isn't much of a problem, but if you can't then, you will have a hard time physically trying to get through the levels without cringing a few times.

So the game is based on a show that's based on a rock band. It's a good thing the background music isn't half bad. Based on the instruction manual's credits page, at least most of the songs were done by Puffy AmiYumi, and whether all of the background music was I am not sure. Either way, there is a heavy rock tone to all of the music. When you enter a level, it tends to start off low and mellow, but as you encounter fan boys, robots or pick up points, the music picks up and gets a little harder. All in all, the game's music is the best thing it has going for it.

Kaznapped's sound effects are a bit drab. It isn't long before you realize you will be hearing the same sound when you perform your Power Chord Attack or when you hit enemies. If it wasn't for the fair music, I would have played most of this game with the volume all the way down.


Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped! starts off just after the Puffy AmiYumi band has finished a mega world tour. But when their biggest fan, Harmony, comes in and wants the musical duo to take her on another world tour, they refuse. Harmony then says something to the effect of going on a world tour of her own, steals all of the band's instruments, their manager and then runs off.

So now you have to control Ami and Yumi through a series of classic platformer-like levels scattered across the world looking for your instruments and (apparently) amplifiers.

There are just a few parts of this game that left me wondering. Unfortunately, these were major story parts and left huge holes in the overall setup of the game. For instance, Ami and Yumi use their microphone and guitar (respectively) as weapons. Yet when Harmony steals "all" of their instruments, your characters still have these items. Granted, you can't go through most of the game without your major weapons, but instead of having the tutorial before the story starts, it could have been the two looking for their weapon/instruments so that you get all of the non-attack information like jumping and stuff out of the way, then you find the instruments, then you learn how to use them. Instead, there is a blatant plot hole right from the very start.

The other thing that bothered me is that as you run through a level, you may be able to find one of the lost instruments. Seeing as part of the focus of the game is to find the instruments, you would think that either you can't leave the level without the instrument, or finding the instrument ends the level. But this is not the case. Instead the lost instrument is just worth bonus points and you finish the level when you find and touch an amp box. I'm sorry, maybe I just missed the part where they said Harmony took all of their amps as well and that they are more important than the instruments. If the instruments are actually important, and you can't advance in the game without collecting them all, then I was actually able to do so (which I don't think I did), and this requirement wasn't conveyed very well in the game.

But anyway... an interesting aspect about how most of the levels are arranged. They are typically fairly large and can allow you to move up and down onto many levels. You can work your way up buildings or Mayan pyramids or keep moving in a straight left-to-right direction. You don't have to try to explore the entire map, but if you do, you can nab more points. Really you can just run from one end to the other doing as little as possible only looking for the amplifier -- once you found it you could touch it and complete the level without having to perform any other tasks. This is an interesting free-roaming aspect for the game, and I guess comes in handy if you just want to plow through the levels without wanting to stop and smell the roses.

So, you're traveling from country to country looking for your instruments and lost manager. Along the way, you can switch between Ami and Yumi to use each of their abilities. For instance, Ami can perform a triple jump and then hover for a short distance by using her mic like a helicopter, while Yumi can use her guitar to smash or move obstacles. In each level, you will find both fan boys and evil robots. You don't want to hurt fan boys (in fact, you will actually lose points for hitting them), instead you need to perform your Power Chord Attack to wow and daze them so you can get by. Robots, on the other hand, are there for the beating.

There is also the occasional Tour Bus Mini-game level that seems to be thrown in there to break up the monotony. Here you will fly your tour bus (don't think about it too much) across the screen as you go from one world location to another. Along the way, you will have to shoot flying robots that are trying to attack you and at the end of the flight, there is some larger enemy that throws fireballs or something at you. These missions are short, fleeting and only slightly break up the hum-drum platformer feel.


Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped! is by no means hard. Even young gamers should have no problem avoiding the fan boys and knocking out (or flat out avoiding) the evil robots. Finding the amp to end the level is never really a challenge and the only real tough part in the game might be trying to collect all of the instruments. But there doesn't seem to be much point to this.

If you do manage to purchase this game, then it shouldn't take too long to get through. There aren't any major roadblocks as you travel across the seven or eight worlds and complete the short levels found in each one. Kaznapped is not a game for people looking for a real challenge; instead it is for someone who just wants to sit down and put their brain on hold for a few minutes.

Game Mechanics:

In Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Kaznapped!, you seem to run into more fan boys than robots. So, the move you perform most is the Power Chord Attack. So you would expect this to be a simple press of the button right? Nope, instead you have to hold down the Down button on the D-Pad and press the R button. This took a lot of getting used to because, like I said, that seems to be the attack that I used the most. Sure I had to use a physical attack when I came to one of the robots, but there were far fewer robots than there were fan boys, making me use the button combination very, very frequently.

Jumping is done with the A button, while your "normal" attack is with the B. You change characters with the L button and activate the Jam Session (which dazes all fan boys and kills all robots on the screen) with both the L and R buttons. This super move takes some work to power up and I only really used it when I found myself in a bit of a jam and surrounded by more enemies than I'd care to deal with one at a time.

Other character-specific moves like making Ami hover or Yumi guitar slide across the screen are done with button combinations like holding the Up button or R button after jumping.

Basically, this game is only really worth it if you are a big Puffy AmiYumi fan. If you only slightly tolerate the series, then you should probably steer clear of this title.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Sony PlayStation 2 Peter Jackson\'s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie Microsoft Xbox 360 Tony Hawk\'s American Wasteland

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated