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Review: Flying Hamster HD

Sections: 2D, Developers, Exclusives, Game-Companies, Genres, Handhelds, Indie, Originals, Reviews, Shooter, Vita

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Title: Flying Hamster HD
Price: $3.99
System(s): Vita
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Game Atelier (Game Atelier)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Fantasy Violence, Crude Humor and Use of Alcohol

There’s a relatively minor game shortage on the Vita. Nothing to worry about, of course, but those of us with Sony’s handheld often experience periods where there’s not much to play. Fortunately, when those big blockbusters are hard to find, there are smaller, bite-sized games to keep people satisfied. Flying Hamster HD is one of those games. It isn’t a huge, sprawling experience, but a game that’s just entertaining enough to keep you busy for a week or so while you wait for something huge to come along.

Flying Hamster HD

A noble hamster takes flight to save a friend

Poor Newton has quite a conundrum. His adorable hamster friend was walking along a beach with him, when the two stumbled upon a huge, golden, sunflower seed. It was majestic, really. The problem is, other animals wanted it too. So one second they’re rejoicing, the next his friend is abducted by animals like an owl, penguin, rat and others.

Fortunately, Newtown is resourceful. He slaps on his goggles and a propeller, then takes to the skies. He fires seeds at his enemies, though he can also suck up special, temporary weapons like spikes, exploding eggs, streams of beer and more to fight his opponents. If he does well, he’ll get the seed, save the girl and beat every opponent that dares get in his way.

Flying Hamster HD

The HD stands for hardly different, but still different enough

“But Jenni,” I hear you asking in the background. “I see there’s a $2.99 version of Flying Hamster minis on the PlayStation Store that will work with my PS3, PSP or Vita! Why would I want or need a Vita-only, $3.99 copy of Flying Hamster HD?” Good question, anonymous internet person! The answer is, the HD version is slightly better.

The most noticeable differences can be notices after a few minutes of play. Flying Hamster HD is in high definition and looks much prettier and smoother than its minis counterpart. It also offers tighter controls, which is a must in a shoot’em up game. Players can choose exactly how they which to play, as there are four control schemes. I say the only viable ones are the methods that use the analog stick and face buttons or the rear touch pad, since both keep the screen from being obscured and are quite accurate, but people looking for a challenge can try using the motion controls or touchpad control option.

Another couple bonuses involve actual gameplay. The hard mode of the original Flying Hamster is present in Flying Hamster HD, but there’s more to it than that. An extra boss has been added, so players can have a bit of an extra challenge even if they’ve played before. Also, trophy integration involves more than just earning a virtual award for meeting certain challenges. Collecting more trophies means having more credits available to continue during a Flying Hamster HD run, which really helps those who aren’t as good. Five immediate continues are nice, but it’s even better once you get past the seven continues point. There are two online leaderboards as well.

Finally, Flying Hamster HD has a free demo. Whether you’re torn between Flying Hamster and Flying Hamster HD, or just the game in general, having a demo available is a huge help. You can get an idea of what the game is like, and use that information to decide if a $2.99, $3.99 or any version of the game is right for you.

Flying Hamster HD

Flying Hamster HD is solid, cute’em up

When it comes to shoot’em up style, side scrolling games, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Maybe someone wants to jump into that world, but isn’t ready for a Sine Mora kind of experience on their Vita. That’s where Flying Hamster HD comes into play. It does eventually get difficult, especially once someone has reached the half-way point third level, but it isn’t overwhelming. Plus, it accomodates players by offering more credits, that is continues, once certain points have been reached. That, combined with the adorable presentation and affordable price, makes it a very valid option for anyone who needs a quick time-sink game.

Site [The Game Atelier]

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