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Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts!

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts!'s graphics comes in two flavors. The in-game stuff is okay. Characters are small and recognizable mostly by their color (Vern is a green blob, Stella is black, RJ and Hammy are brown, but Hammy has a big tail). But it seems to be good enough. The objects in the levels come off pretty good. The stationary parts of the scenery look better than the stuff you can pick up and interact with, almost making those movable objects pop and stand out, which is good I guess, so you can know which things you can click on and pickup or destroy.

The other types of graphics are the between level, story-advancing stuff. These have a much higher resolution and go through the same series of movements over and over again, as text scrolls across word bubbles. This repeated pattern really gives the feeling of an animated GIF, and as long as you don't stare at it too long, it works.

Sound is a bit bland. As you might have guessed from the word bubble comment, there are no voiceovers in Hammy Goes Nuts!, which means the game's audible aspects are down to sound effects and music. The effects come in your standard crashes and bangs and you tip over trashcans or flip switches; nothing too impressive, but not bad either. The music is a little better. The background tunes have a happy-go-lucky feel to them and do add to the game's overall mood.


For a spin-off of a movie tie-in, Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts! isn't that bad. While watching TV, Hammy's cable suddenly goes out because of a falling tree. A nearby beaver, Boris, quickly convinces Hammy and his friends (RJ, Stella and Vern) that the Verm Tech guy, Dwayne, is to blame.

The five creatures then plan a way to get back at The Verminator - put him on TV. Basically, the whole point of the game is to run around suburbanites' lawns and houses and set up gags for Dwayne. Then with the use of prepositioned cameras, you can watch Dwayne fall for your various traps. This new interactive-TV will be all the rage, according to Boris anyway.

Each level of Hammy Goes Nuts! consists of a series of objectives that will let you get into the house, get past traps and security and set up the gag. As an example, in the first level, you have to turn off a hydrant to get to some clippers, to cut down tall grass, to find a broken shovel. Then you fix the shovel, unearth a key and walk into the house. Once inside, you must collect the sleeping guitarist's speakers and arrange them just right so that while watching DTV (or Dwayne-TV), you can start up the sound system at just the right time to scare The Verminator off.

In each level, the owner of the house is fast asleep, and as you scurry around their home, you will find sheep. The more sheep you collect, the longer they will stay asleep and thus the less chance you have of being caught with your hand in the cookie jar (But I like the cookie!). Though there are four characters to play as, you can control only one at a time, and there really didn't seem to be a point to throwing in the others. After hiring one of your buddies in a level (going up to them and paying them the desired number of snacks), you can switch between them with the touch screen and your camera will fly to the location on the map where they are laying in wait. I guess this is good if they happen to be near one of the items that you need to pick up and you are on the other side of the level, but I never really used the other characters all that much.


Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts! isn't hard at all. The game can easily be completed in a couple of hours (unless you want to go back and try to get every snack. There is a slight increase in difficulty, but it's typically done by increasing the number of objectives you have to complete before finishing the level and/or making the sheep harder to find so you have to rush a little more towards the end of the level.

I would say, the dozen or so levels are designed pretty well to be spread across a few of car trips to and from school, so this game's format and difficulty seems to lend itself well to short bursts (10 or 15 minutes) of gameplay instead of one long Hammy-fest.

Game Mechanics:

Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts!'s controls are very simple and seem to make good use of the system's touchscreen. The levels appear in an isometric view and whichever character you are controlling has a yellow circle around their feet. To move him or her around, you tap where you want them to go. When you come across an object you can pick up or destroy (for snacks or other goodies), simply tap the object and your critter will go at it.

That's all there is to it ... really. Tap the screen to move, tap the screen to interact. Very simple design and it works pretty well. The top screen shows the homeowner who is asleep, how many sheep are in their dreams, how long you have been in the level and a basic map of the area with your other furry friends marked on it.

Like I said above, for a movie tie-in spin off, Hammy could have been a lot worse. This is a good game to pick up to keep your kids entertained as their favorite hyperactive ADD squirrel scurries about collecting random stuff.

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

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