Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite!

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I should have finished this game a long time ago. I put it down about three weeks ago and only loaded it up again tonight to finish it off. I spent less than ten seconds on it before I beat it. I had to leave a room and then was spoken to by Boss which triggered the end credits. Oh.. I guess I still beat a game and on my birthday no less!

I was such a Hamtaro fan when I was a child. I would rush home from school to watch the episode on Cartoon Network. After that I would quickly log on MSN to talk to my best friend about the latest episode. We knew all of the Ham-Chat and would draw pictures of the Ham-Hams for each other! One year I even received a DVD of the anime and I still have it to this day!

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I originally played Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! years ago. I never finished it though. I am incredibly bad for playing games and then never coming back to them for no apparent reason. Recently I picked it up again. The game is incredibly charming and exactly what you would want in a Hamtaro game. All of the main cast appear, the theme song is used, Ham-Chat is a vital part of the game and it’s just incredibly cute.

The premise is that Boss needs help (for what I don’t even know) and wants everyone to return to the Clubhouse. You are tasked with finding each Ham-Ham and returning them. A lot of the Ham-Hams require you to have gone to different locations and learnt various Ham-Chat and triggered events to enable you to take them with you. The only trouble I had was that I forgot to obtain the item ‘THIS’ and then couldn’t trade it for ‘THAT’. After I fixed that up it was smooth sailing.

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No game is complete without a mini-game and Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! is no exception. The mini-game included is Tack-Q Bowling. You need to win the top prize to get one of the Ham-Hams to return to the Clubhouse. The game has you standing at one of three spots and using ‘tack-q’ to pop balloons. Red and blue balloons go by on the top of the screen and popping the blue gives you a higher score. I had a lot of trouble with this and I wanted to quit. I like mini-games but I dislike when they are forced upon you. The controls were so frustrating as Hamtaro lagged before moving forward to tackle the balloons. This meant that you had to watch and remember the patterns that the balloons would appear in and use the move before the blue balloon arrived. Once the timing is down pat.. It’s fairly easy albeit annoying.

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In summary I enjoyed playing Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! Though I believe this was solely due to my nostalgia and love of Hamtaro in general. I was willing to put up with the outdated mechanics, sounds and graphics as well as simple gameplay and back-and-forth fetch quests. If you don’t like Hamtaro you definitely aren’t missing out on anything. Unless you REALLY need to pass the time in a locked dark room with just a Gameboy and this cart.. You’ll survive without playing it!

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