Hamsterdam is a quiet and peaceful city full of friendly locals. Pimm, the young hamster lives humbly with his former master hamster-fu Papy. However, the sinister chinchilla mafia boss Marlo brings his henchmen to town and they’ve taken Grandpa hostage! Now it’s up to Pimm to save Grandpa and make things right before Marlo gets all of Hamsterdam under his control!
Hamsterdam is a brand new arcade brawler from Muse Games, the mind behind the wonderfully creative Guns of Icarus Online and Creatures. Their games always have a certain unique flair, and Hamsterdam is no different with its bright and colorful characters.
As soon as you launch the game, Hamsterdam hits you with its’ 80s buddy-inspired soundtrack, full of funky beats. The music is perfect for beating the Vermin Gang, and the icing on the cake is Pimm’s original outfit which is a simple blue track jacket. After a brief introduction, you are thrown into the first fight.
If you took Rocksteady Studios’ complex combat system Batman: arkham series and made a game solely based on it you would end up with Hamsterdam, because everything is focused on precise attacks and timing based on rhythm. You can mash the buttons if you want, but fighting with timed attacks is much more effective!
When a battle begins, Pimm will be on the right side of the screen. A push of a button will cause him to launch an attack on the nearest enemy, and as he retreats, he will glow to indicate the right time for another attack. Chaining attacks together will cause Pimm to perform a perfect attack, which will deal increased damage.
However, the Vermin Gang isn’t going to just sit there and take it! Enemies will launch their own attacks, which are communicated by a white glow. To counter the attacks, players must move in the direction of the enemy and Pimm will disable them, preventing their attack.
As Pimm beats thugs, his KO counter will charge. When fully charged, Pimm can unleash an extremely powerful KO attack capable of instantly knocking out enemies. Pimm will also encounter protected enemies and he will have to use charged attacks to penetrate their defenses. Some enemies will also perform “rush” attacks on Pimm, which are basically quick mini-events.
Seems like a lot to follow? It’s – but it’s also exactly why Hamsterdam the fight is so satisfying and rewarding. Once you master Pimm’s arsenal of moves, you’ll be able to string together attacks and combos smoothly. When you reach this area – where you effortlessly combine as if it were second nature – the fight goes like a dream and you will feel like a real hamster-fu master!
Each level has three stars up for grabs, much like a standard mobile game format. Completing a level will reward you with seeds which you can spend on new clothes and accessories for Pimm, some even granting him new abilities and perks. New mechanics are introduced through these clothes, giving you even more skills to beat those naughty vermin!
At the end of each zone, Pimm must come face to face with one of Marlo’s best henchmen. The action takes a bit of lag here, as the boss fights in Hamsterdam are more focused on dodging and reflexes. While boss fights are a nice change of pace to shake up the action, they tend to drag on a bit. Bosses are divided into “phases”, much like a THE Legend of Zelda chief.
That is, you have to wait for your opening to strike, and then when the boss is knocked out you unleash a flurry of attacks. Bosses speed up when injured, and the closer they are to total defeat, the faster they move. Patterns tend to change very little, if at all, so what ends up happening is rote memorization of the same attacks, but faster. It is exhausting after a while rather than difficult.
Hamsterdam also seems to have some sort of loading problem. When you start the game for the first time, a loading screen will appear before going to the title screen. When you press start, the game should load again. There is loading between each level, and while the load times aren’t too bad, it’s so common that it slows down the pace of the game a bit. We played the Nintendo Switch version, so we don’t know not if it’s the same experience on other platforms.
Other than that Hamsterdam remains an action-packed arcade brawler well worth the price of admission. Hamsterdam is now available on the App Store, Google Play Store, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.
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