All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Hammy Goes Nuts!

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports (Golf)/ Family/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

You know that everything is wrong in the world when licensed games start to actually be good. Lately, I've played more good games than bad and I'm starting to wonder when my karmic retribution is coming. Based on the animated film Over the Hedge, Hammy Goes Nuts! is one of several titles to be released under the license on multiple platforms. The Game Boy Advance version certainly pulls as much out of the system graphically as you could want. There are nice transitions between different levels where you can see all the different characters and the suburban environments where they play. As you play the game, character models are less detailed because there is a lot happening in each level and the perspective is top-down.

The levels are full of color and motion. Outside in the yards, you find the usual suburban clutter and inside, there is no telling what you will come across. Babies strapped into bouncy swings, sleeping dogs, cluttered piles of blocks and box fans... All these are obstacles or targets for the characters in Hammy Goes Nuts! as they explore the world. The music and sound effects match the visuals and like almost any GBA game, you'll find that the music is passable but nothing that will have you leaping to put on your Super Bass headphones.


Golf. Yes, it was also a surprise to me. Instead of taking the tedious and typical route of turning a kids' movie into a side-scrolling catalogue of cliches, we have a cool mini-golf game with Over the Hedge characters. The spirit of the movie is preserved because the critters are playing rogue mini-golf. Bouncing balls through a busy house or under a running lawnmower. This is the kind of mini-golf that you or I would be grounded for. But since golfers in Hammy Goes Nuts! are backyard critters, they can get away with whatever they please.

The story doesn't follow the movie, but contains plenty of references to the movie and all the characters you loved in Over the Hedge. The Story Mode introduces Hammy's role as lead caddy for the backyard crew. This means that for each course, he'll run around and suss out obstacles or corners and help you line up the best shot. At first, I thought this was going to be dull, but then I started discovering obstacles that Hammy can move and the objectives shifted from just getting the ball in the hole to collecting items with the ball or hitting targets. Since it is golf, you do have to do all your hitting under par. You're scored for each round and can rack up points by shooting well. Challenge and Arcade Mode are both unlocked by playing through the story. Arcade Mode lets you purchase courses and characters for play. When a new option has been unlocked, you use points (nuts) earned from each round that you trade for new features. The Challenge Mode collects more difficult courses that are only playable after you complete the story. Multiplayer is a "pass it on" mode that you can play on one GBA with up to four people. Shoot a hole and give it up to your friend and may the best guy or girl win...


Hammy Goes Nuts! is not difficult in the traditional golf-game sense. Hitting the ball is usually the most difficult aspect of golf, in addition to lining up and spacing out your shots. Hammy Goes Nuts! only requires a timed button-press to launch the ball and there are no bumps or wind to mess up your shot. Actually, there is "artificial wind" in the form of fans that push your ball off course. And there are some mini-golf obstacles that you'll have to work with or work around. Many of the obstacles are strategic and can be used to direct the ball exactly where it needs to go. Pipes, angled blocks, and bumpers will help you sink that "Super Par" or they can make your progress very slow. Young gamers will be attracted to the license, but Hammy Goes Nuts! requires you to visualize the physics of the ball bouncing from place to place through the level, before you take your shot. It would be frustrating for very young gamers and would probably be perfect for the 6-10 set. Below that age some help from a parent or older sibling will be required and above that age there may not be enough challenge.

Game Mechanics:

Simple system, simple game. Hammy Goes Nuts! uses all the buttons on the GBA, but manages not to have a complicated control scheme. Lining up shots is simple, and swinging and hitting the ball happens in one press of a button. There's a meter that goes from red to green. When it fills up, you'll have a full-power shot, so the color is just to make things easier. Running Hammy around the course, moving blocks and lining up targets or bumpers, is handled through a simple bird's-eye control scheme. Press a button to move some objects, press-and-hold to move other objects. It's all very smooth and handled with intuitive controls that don't take any time to learn and master.

Hammy Goes Nuts! is a great example of licensed games getting better and not running along traditional lines. The mini-golf theme is perfect for the Over the Hedge characters and their silly irreverence comes across nicely. Sure, the game doesn't really represent events in the movie or follow the story. My problem with licensed games is that they rarely add anything to the license. If I wanted to see the movie again, I would just add it to my Netflix queue... Hammy Goes Nuts! actually does bring something new to the movie and makes for a fun game experience.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Windows Forgotten Realms: Neverwinter Nights 2 Sony PlayStation 2 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated